Date of Award

Spring 6-1-2024

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA)


Landscape Architecture

First Advisor

Larissa Belcic

Second Advisor

Ann Kearsley

Third Advisor

Jennifer Bissonnette


Amidst our climate uncertain reality, the question arises as to how we address the seemingly endless spiral of ecological degradation and loss we witness each and everyday? Through a cultural reframing of our relationship with invasive species, A New Grounding asks how collective ritual may serve as a vehicle to understand, heal through, and eventually embrace the trials and tribulations of ecosystem change.

Invasive species have become a major driver of the evolution of our landscapes. Research has shown their disturbance is often rooted in an underlying human environmental disturbance, however, for many these highly adaptive plants have become a source of immense heartache and division. For those who’ve grown up to know and care for a certain landscape, witnessing its erasure by a new more resilient species can be an immensely tragic experience. For others like myself, the language around the invasive has contributed immensely to grief experienced by marginalized communities most impacted by systems racism, colonization, homophobia and xenophobia.

Can we grieve ecological loss, while also embracing the gifts of the new? A New Grounding see’s these dichotomous perspectives as part of the same puzzle. With Phragmites australis as its point of departure, my design proposes a series of collective rituals which occur at the point of confrontation between the vigorous stands of Phragmites australis and the drowning salt marsh or Spartina patens . During each of these rituals, a collective space making practice between these two zones is engaged, each incrementally transitioning the community through the stages of grief post climate catastrophe. From mourning and despair, to acceptance and courage, to joy and celebration, this thesis sees the ritual process of healing through climate loss as the root of a new joy, and resilience amidst the void of our climate uncertain reality.



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