Date of Award

Spring 5-30-2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA)


Landscape Architecture

First Advisor

Elizabeth Dean Hermann

Second Advisor

Nick De Pace


The main question posed by this thesis is: How can landscape architects give individuals and communities creative agency over their own landscapes?

This question is framed by three key concepts. First, there is the fact that throughout US history, land management and design decisions have been used to marginalize communities of color. The second concept framing this thesis is that communities of color continue to be negatively affected by decisions about their land. For example, new toxic waste sites are disproportionately placed in communities of color (Mohai and Saha 2015). The third concept framing this thesis is that landscape architects do not often address the creative desires of individuals who are not private clients. Because of this, many people do not have creative control over their environments.

This thesis proposes ways in which neighborhood residents can use landscape design to both address environmental problems and assert authorship over their neighborhood landscape. Each resident is given one tree, which can be used as a tool for voting, bartering, or independent design. I have created a card game and graphic novel to help residents generate ideas and make decisions about how to use their trees.



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