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Carducci Spotlight: Emma Lesser / A Culture of Change: The Inherent Power of Restorative Justice to Transform Public Schoolyards

Emma recently completed an MLA thesis entitled: “A Culture of Change: The Inherent Power of Restorative Justice to Transform Public Schoolyards” that explores how landscape architects can co-create safe and healing spaces in Oakland's public schoolyards. Her thesis topic stems from a deeply personal conviction that childhood learning environments play a crucial and protective part in a child’s experience of trauma. She first sets the scene with a review of the psychology and physiology of ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences), and how they are currently addressed by schools, focusing on restorative justice (RJ). She then investigates the current state of America's public-school spaces, their effects on students, and the politics and logic behind their designs. She presents landscape precedents that were designed with social emotional learning in mind, and their theoretical bases. Few of these precedents include schoolyards, particularly public ones, as they have only recently become the focus of landscape architects. Over the past several decades, the green schoolyard movement has grown to address heat and pollution, stormwater, community access, ecological learning, and even experimental or 'risky' play. Emma proposes restorative justice as a worthy rationale for schoolyard transformation. In doing so, she intends to not only push landscape architects towards working in support of social programs, but to also promote a more emotionally compelling rationale for schoolyard changes—and one that takes advantage of existing school social infrastructure. She concludes that RJ programming can indicate a school “culture of change” that would both more readily allow for and be supported by built environmental changes. 

"Restorative landscapes might serve as "compatible" feeling spaces: where one's environment is compatible with one's emotional state. In these contexts I demonstrate how my RJ landscape principles and elements can work together. In "the grove," loneliness can be met with connection under the warm colors and diffused light of a fabric-lined structure. Evergreen trees provide further shade, seasonal interest and greater enclosure of the space."

Feature / On the Boards / People

CARDUCCI SPOTLIGHT: PIAN ZHANG

We are really sad to say goodbye to our intern Pian Zhang, but before she flies back to the east coast we would like to feature one of her amazing projects from her first year at RISD. We wish you the best and hope you visit again soon!

 

GREENWOOD LANDING

“Phillipsdale Landing has witnessed industrial developments along Seekonk River over centuries since 1860, which has been drastically shaped to a post-industrial waterfront wasteland. Though being totally dismantled, what these factories left are contaminated soil and topography shaped by industrial activities, leaving the land barren through decades while slowly getting into succession with the reoccupation of pioneer plants. Despite being a wild urban void, it is located at a crucial ecological node for both anadromous fishes and migratory birds. The question for us is how to make the voids vibrant again by bringing out its potential.

We conceive a possible shift from extractive human-centric productivity to sustainable natural resources production, which aims for interrelating ecological restoration, economic anchoring, and activity programing. Through healing the ground, making profits from green, and bringing back life, This site-in-transition is supposed to adapt to future new systems, which will reunite fauna, flora and people and lead to a vibrant future.”

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Carducci Spotlight: Emily Adler

This is Emily Adler. She has been interning with Carducci Associates since May 2021. We hope she enjoyed her time with us working on interesting designs and 3D Models, attending project site visits and developing construction documents. We wish her the best for her final year at Pennsylvania State University.

Here’s our first Carducci Spotlight in series with many more to come. With that said, meet Emily!

Emily, what are some of your hobbies?

Hiking, art, knitting, traveling, cooking, and sports.

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Carmel Valley, California.

What’s your earliest landscape memory? Or, what early landscape memory is most important to you?

My earliest and most important landscape memory would be hiking Half Dome when I was 8 years old. This impacted me because prior to the hike my family spent months training and traveling to hiking areas in central California. So, I spent a lot of time in the outdoors and I have always really enjoyed being in nature.

Do you have a favorite landscape?

My favorite natural landscape is the Big Sur coastline because of its raw, natural beauty. Also, my favorite built landscape is Copenhagen because of its innovative and creative urban planning. The biking infrastructure, vibrant parks, and children’s playgrounds make it easy for people to enjoy the city.

What’s your favorite plant to work with and why?

Sedum because of its environmental resiliency and ecological benefits. It has many variations and is great for green roofs and storm water management.

If you could design a landscape and budget (and value engineering) weren’t an issue, what would it be?

I would design a temporary art installation that is pertinent to the area and excites the community. It would be something similar to Society’s Cage or Christo and Jeanne Claude’s work.

What are you drawing inspiration from right now?

Currently, I am drawing inspiration from exploring San Francisco. I have never lived in a city before so it has been exciting to discover new areas and be in a city with so many spirited outdoor spaces.

What potential for sustainability most excites you on one of your current projects?

I am not working on any projects currently… but projects that focus on ecological restoration and coastal resiliency excite me!

What made you want to become a landscape architect/landscape designer?

I have always been passionate about art and nature. I believe landscape architecture gives me the opportunity to be a steward of the land and engage the community.

Feature / People