Date of Award

Spring 5-30-2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA)


Landscape Architecture

First Advisor

Johanna Barthmaier-Payne

Second Advisor

Michael Blier

Third Advisor

Tara Kessler


Where should we put our trash?

Our current system keeps potentially valuable material designated as trash hidden away at the margins and edges of our built environment, and shuttles garbage vast distances into landfills, where it persists indefinitely.

Over the past year I’ve invested time into learning about our country’s history of disposal in the landscape. Historically, changes in volume, types of waste, and cultural attitudes have prompted changes to typologies of disposal in our built environment.

Currently, due to changes in Chinese recycling policy in 2018, China no longer accepts America’s highly contaminated recycled material. Americans are also caught in the midst of a massive adjustment in our consumption and disposal habits due to the ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic.

I argue that we are currently at the precipice of another change, and it is our imperative as landscape architects to aid in the design of spaces of disposal which are socially and ecologically responsive community resources, and can recycle underutilized land as well as material.

This can be achieved by bringing spaces of disposal out of the hidden margins of our landscape, and overlap them with spaces of acquisition to better facilitate reuse, as well as reveal the inextricable and palpable connection between consumption and trash.



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