Endowed Scholarship for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Landscape Architecture Update

Each year, the Department of Landscape Architecture graduates innovative practitioners and leaders who are ready to contribute to the change we seek. Our students study landscape architecture because they believe we can equitably and justly transform and shape our communities for the better. 

Earlier this year, we made the exciting announcement that Site Workshop, Gustafson Guthrie Nichol (GGN), Berger Partnership, Walker Macy, and AHBL partnered together on a campaign to create an endowed scholarship to support students who identify as Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC). Great news! To date, we have raised more than 75% of the funds needed to  establish the Endowed Scholarship for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Landscape Architecture.

Today, the Department is thrilled to build on this fund’s initial success and share with you our exciting news: Site Workshop has put forward an extraordinary matching opportunity to help us raise the remaining funds needed to create this important endowment. Every donation made to the Endowed Scholarship for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Landscape Architecture up to $25,000 will be matched generously by Site Workshop. Please consider leveraging this matching opportunity by giving now.

Students sitting in a circle with their instructor

Site Workshop along with our original firm partners are helping us to make our commitment to equity and student support permanent. Even better, as this endowment grows, we will be able to expand the number of students from diverse backgrounds we are able to financially support each year. 

“We believe that through endowed scholarships funded by the local design community, deep connections will be made between students, designers and the communities we share across the state. Your contributions, no matter how small, are a powerful reminder of our shared values and commitment to developing new leaders in the practice of landscape architecture,” said Site Workshop.

And here is even more good news: Landscape Architects have the power to change the future. We don’t just create positive change in our communities; we also transform lives by creating opportunity, empowering people, and building more just and sustainable communities. As we work to change the culture and face of the landscape architecture profession we hope you will consider making a philanthropic contribution so that who we are reflects those we serve. 

Join us and leverage Site Workshop’s matching funds by donating now to the Endowed Scholarship for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Landscape Architecture.

Posted in EDI

Landscape Architecture announces  MIG Scholarship Fund For The Design Of Equitable and Inclusive Environments

The University of Washington’s College of Built Environments is thrilled to partner with MIG Inc. in creating the MIG Scholarship Fund For The Design Of Equitable and Inclusive Environments. This scholarship will be granted to the CBE Department of Landscape Architecture students with a demonstrated interest and commitment to the design of equitable and inclusive environments.

Guided by CBE and the Department of Landscape Architecture’s commitment to equity and representation throughout their student and professional communities, this scholarship will enable students to focus their time and efforts on their research, immersive learning projects, and building the foundations necessary to lead the profession into the future.  The MIG scholarship is an enrichment of the educational experience of our students with a collaborative and community-focused partner organization.

The award winning redesign of Hing Hay Park (above), located in Seattle’s International District, is the result of a strong collaboration between the community, MIG, UW faculty, and other partners.

MIG Inc. is a community of designers, planners, engineers, scientists, and storytellers engaging, involving, and acting with people to find solutions to the built environments’ most wicked problems. This partnership is an important advancement in Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion work in the field of Landscape Architecture by way of creating this scholarship. The MIG Scholarship Fund For The Design Of Equitable and Inclusive Environments will enable our students to focus their time and efforts on their research, immersive learning projects, and prepare the next generation of landscape architects and built environment professionals.

We at MIG are very excited to partner with UW’s MLA program to encourage an equitable and inclusive approach to the design of the built environment

-Daniel Iacofano, Chief Executive Officer, President

Posted in EDI

Ellis Civic Fellowship

The Ellis Civic Fellowship identifies two students from each incoming class who are committed to serving the community and investing in their own leadership development during their time at the UW!

If selected as an Ellis Fellow, you will receive a scholarship (totaling $12,000 over four years), personalized advising, supported connections with community engaged projects, and opportunities to develop as a civic leader.

The Fellowship is open to students interested in any major of study, as long as you agree to make Public Service, Community Engagement, and Civic Leadership Development key aspects of your time at the UW. Ellis Fellows explore a variety of local non-profit organizations and work with campus and community mentors to develop themselves as civic leaders. This hands-on learning helps you gain experience to prepare you for life beyond college!

Learn more about the fellowship requirements and what makes a good candidate by visiting our website. Email questions about the fellowship or our application process to engage@uw.edu. And be sure to complete the online application by noon on Monday, October 25.

Firms partner with UW, WSU to establish BIPOC landscape architecture scholarship

The University of Washington’s College of Built Environments and Washington State University’s School of Design and Construction are working together with Site Workshop, Gustafson Guthrie Nichol (GGN), and Berger Partnership to create an endowed scholarship in their respective landscape architecture programs to support students who identify as Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC).

Site Workshop, a landscape architecture firm based in Seattle, began the process to establish the BIPOC LA Scholarship with WSU and UW in 2020.

“For years we have discussed the need for diversity in the landscape architecture industry—and especially in the Pacific Northwest—but 2020 brought into sharp focus just how urgently this needs to change, and the design community has the ability, even responsibility to make an immediate impact,” said Mark Brands, managing principal of Site Workshop.

The primary purpose for the Endowed Scholarship for Diversity in Landscape Architecture is to recruit and retain BIPOC students to the field of landscape architecture in the Pacific Northwest.

“We believe that through endowed scholarships funded by the local design community, deep connections will be made between students, designers and the communities we share across the state. Additionally, we are committed to broadening our role in developing new leaders in the field of landscape architecture,” said Clayton Beaudoin, principal of Site Workshop.

GGN and Berger Partnership have joined Site Workshop in furthering the financial investment of the scholarship.

Faculty and staff in WSU’s Landscape Architecture program and UW’s Landscape Architecture Department have been honored to be part of the creation of this important and impactful scholarship.

“Washington State University’s Landscape Architecture program is grateful for Site Workshop’s leadership and steadfast efforts to make the Endowed Scholarship for Diversity a reality for underrepresented students across Washington State,” said Jolie Kaytes, Program Head of Landscape Architecture and professor in the School of Design and Construction at Washington State University. “We are also abundantly thankful for the generous gifts of the Berger Partnership and GGN, whose contributions bolster the immediate and long term potency of this fund. In many ways, the scholarship reinforces the ideals of landscape architecture — to generate solutions to complicated issues in ways that are respectful, creative, beautiful, and that ultimately do good. Said another way, the scholarship is akin to planting a seedling in a devastated landscape; it acknowledges loss, expresses hope, and embodies a commitment to potential. The Endowed Scholarship for Diversity additionally complements WSU’s initiatives to address societal inequities and the School of Design and Construction’s faculty search for an assistant professor in Social Justice and the Built Environment.”

“We are immensely grateful for our strong partnership with Site Workshop and our professional community in advancing our shared goals for creating an educational environment that is equitable, diverse, and inclusive,” said University of Washington Landscape Architecture Chair and Associate Professor Ken Yocom. “Ultimately, the Endowed Scholarship for Diversity in Landscape Architecture will not only support and empower our students but better the practice of landscape architecture.”

The goal of Site Workshop, GGN, and Berger Partnership is to fully endow both scholarships by the end of the 2020-2021 school year, with scholarship distributions beginning in the 2021-2022 school year.  They invite their fellow landscape architects in Washington to join in contributing to a meaningful step towards increasing diversity within the profession.

For more information, or to make a contribution to this important fund, please contact Dana Sprouse, Director of Development, Washington State University at dana.colwell@wsu.edu or 253-987-5052 and Alexandra Haslam, Assistant Dean for Advancement and External Relations, University of Washington at: alexeck3@uw.edu or 206-685-0175 and Clayton Beaudoin, Principal, Site Workshop at claytonb@siteworkshop.net.

Posted in EDI

Anti-Displacement Research Studio | Spring 2020


Course Instructor

Lynne Manzo

Course Date

Spring 2020

Course Type

Graduate Studio
Livable City Year

Skyway-West Hill and North Highline are racially and ethnically diverse, low-income communities in urban unincorporated King County whose residents are under increasing risk of displacement due to dramatic growth and rising housing costs in the region. To help address these concerns, King County partnered with the University of Washington Livable City Year (LCY) program so that students could conduct research and provide recommendations for anti-displacement strategies that might keep residents in place and encourage equitable development. Livable City Year, in turn, partnered with Professor Lynne C. Manzo of the Department of Landscape Architecture and students in her Advanced Research Studio to conduct policy research in Spring 2020. This report reflects the work of the thirteen students (the LCY research team) who participated in the course over a span of eleven weeks. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, this course was offered online rather than the standard face-to-face.

Read the full report

Racial Equity Within Built Environment Design Practice

In my final year of the MLA program, I’ve been given the opportunity to participate in the Applied Research Consortium (ARC), a new program within the college that links graduate students, faculty members, and firms to research a topic that aligns student interest, faculty expertise, and firm needs. I am leading a year-long research project focused on racial equity within built environment design practice. More specifically, I am looking at how perceptions of firm culture within private practice affect employee retention. With the help of a few advisors including assistant professor of Landscape Architecture, Catherine De Almeida, I have done a literature review, generated research questions, and scoped out the remaining work. I would like to share some lessons I have learned.

    1. The Built Environment is Racist and so is Design Practice— The built environment is a physical manifestation of our nation’s cultural and political history, and that history is racist. Some well-known examples of racism in the built environment include exclusionary redlining policies and the targeted siting of urban renewal projects, toxic industrial sites and waste sites disproportionately located within communities of color, oppressive architecture of low-income housing projects, and inequitable urban economic development policies.
      If our history is racist, and our built environment is racist, then the institutions responsible for designing the built environment must be racist too. This is not a revelatory idea. Racial inequity within built environment design professions is relatively well documented and a regular topic of study, especially in contemporary research. This is partly evidenced by the disproportionately high number of white students in design school and white employees in design practice. The pursuit of anti-racist design practice benefits from an acknowledgement and understanding of existing institutional racism. It is important to align our current reality before we can collectively do better.
  1. Framing Positionality— The identity of the researcher in a project about racial equity is certainly part of the equation. There are inherent power dynamics involved in qualitative research methods like interviews or surveys and the identity of researchers and participants has an impact on the findings and the process. It can be challenging to acknowledge the positionality of the researcher without centering their identity.
    I am a cis-gendered, queer, white, man. Appropriately framing my own positionality has come up several times throughout the research process. Some tools I have acquired for navigating issues of positionality include being vulnerable and authentic, acknowledging my mistakes and any potential harm done, remaining open to feedback, practicing deep listening, and working towards a process of reciprocity.
  1. Layered Barriers to Equity— There are many barriers to a more diverse, inclusive, and equitable design practice. These barriers exist along a spectrum of life experience from early primary education through to retirement. Some examples include the low visibility of design professions in primary and secondary education, the prohibitive cost of post-secondary education, the infamously white culture of academia, skewed hiring practices based on homogenous social networks, unclear promotional criteria, and a further decreased diversity in leadership. This list is non-exhaustive.
    Many of these barriers are surface level and cyclical. They create positive feedback loops and perpetuate an ugly cycle. Then there are barriers to inclusive workplaces that are more insidious than a lack of promotional opportunity, for example. A less visible barrier to equity is workplace culture. Every workplace has a unique culture and individuals experience that culture in unique ways. However, one indicator of positive workplace culture is perception alignment. If everyone in an office names and describes the culture in a similar way, that demonstrates a transparent and inclusive culture. A negative workplace culture can be harmful and traumatizing to employees, decrease retention rates, tarnish a reputation, and ultimately be bad for business. Learning how to remove workplace culture from a list of barriers to equity is central to this research.
  1. Avoid Reification— When conducting social science research with human subjects at a large scale, it is easy to begin treating people like data points. Reducing complex individuals with experiences and emotions to a non-human object is reification and is antithetical to research about equity and justice. A prime example of this is the ‘pipeline,’ a metaphor commonly used to explain how people move through a system. Whether the system is the criminal justice system or career advancement within design practice, the use of the pipeline metaphor reduces individuals to unthinking drops of liquid, incapable of agency. Stripping a human of their humanity, even for the sake of metaphor, is dangerously linked to white supremacy, and is important to acknowledge and avoid.
  1. Positive Change— Our country’s recent reckoning with anti-Black police violence following the murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd lit a proverbial fire under the seats of many white design leaders. Some momentum has been building in the last decade as the design professions slowly began to shift towards more equitable practice.
    While some actions spurred on by 2020’s uprisings are dangerously performative; many are earnest. Below is a non-exhaustive list of authors, organizations and networks doing important and positive equity work within the field of design practice.

The next steps of the research are to share a survey collecting experiential information pertaining to workplace culture. I will also be conducting interviews to gather more anecdotal data. Once all the data is collected and analyzed I will create recommendations for how firms can assess and shift their workplaces cultures. I am grateful to be involved in this research and the larger movement to make design practice more inclusive, equitable, and just.

  • ACE Mentor Program – A national, free, afterschool program aimed at engaging high school students (69% minority students and 1/3 female students) in the fields of architecture, construction, and engineering.
  • Michael Ford + Hip Hop Architecture – “The Hip Hop Architecture Camp® positions Hip Hop culture as a catalyst to introduce underrepresented youth to architecture, urban planning, and design.”
  • Dori Tunstall – “Dori Tunstall is the dean of the Faculty of Design at Ontario College of Art and Design University (OCAD University) in Toronto, and the first Black and Black female dean of a faculty of design anywhere in the world.” Dean Tunstall is working to decolonize design education.
  • Dark Matter University – A design collective and network with a mission to create new forms of knowledge and knowledge production, new forms of institutions, new forms of practice, new forms of community and culture, and new forms of design.
  • Bryan Lee Jr. – Founder and principal at Colloqate, and author of the essay, America’s Cities Were Designed to Oppress, Bryan Lee Jr. provides important commentary on race in the built environment.
  • De Nichols + Design as Protest – The DAP Collective, co-organized by De Nichols, Bryan Lee Jr., Taylor Holloway, and Mike Ford, aims to hold the design professions accountable to past harms done to Black communities and a future of anti-racist practice. De Nichols is “an arts-based organizer, social impact designer, serial entrepreneur, and keynote lecturer.” Listen to De on The Nexus, a podcast from the GSD community on intersection between race and design.
  • AIA SF Equity by Design Surveys (EQxD) – “Equity by Design was founded to address and minimize barriers in order to maximize our collective potential for success. We have made great strides to collect and disseminate data, while also creating platforms to advance equity, diversity, and inclusion in professions that shape the built environment.”
  • Destiny Thomas – Dr. Thomas is an Anthropologist Planner from Oakland, CA, and founder of Thrivance Group. She writes about urbanism and placemaking and its complicity in racism.
  • Kofi Boone – His article, Black Landscapes Matter, from UC Berkeley’s Ground Up Journal is a well circulated and culturally significant piece that is accompanied by eight propositions for designers. This is required reading for those who want to learn about anti-racist landscape design practice.


-Jake Minden, MLA Candidate 2021, Landscape Architecture