Within the ﬁeld of landscape architecture, verticality is predominantly deﬁned as a design tool. The variety of applications for vertical elements within design, and the spatial role they can play is well documented. However, there is a rapidly growing community that understands vertical spaces as inhabitable places: rock climbers. More and more people equipped with this unique perspective of the vertical are venturing out to monoliths of rock across the country, seeking new heights in various state and national parks. This perception of vertical spaces as places brings a new deﬁnition of the vertical to landscape architecture. To begin to understand this deﬁnition, this thesis explores the meanings, values, and experiences of rock climbers by utilizing Yosemite National Park as a case study along with ﬁrsthand knowledge of the sport. Placing landscape architecture in conversation with rock climbing presents a number of takeaways for the profession including a shift in the perception of vertical space and the way it is designed, a tool for developing knowledge related to the vertical, and a deeper understanding of the embodied experience of rock climbers. With this recognition, landscape architects can better design for and with rock climbers to protect and manage climbing areas as well as create new opportunities for vertical experiences.
Climate projections for 2050 expect Puget Sound regional temperatures will likely increase by 2.9-5.4 degrees Fahrenheit, temperatures more suitable for a mosaic of fire-resilient landscapes such as prairies, grasslands and oak savannas. Through fire, Indigenous people of this region have stewarded these landscapes since time immemorial. But because of settler colonialism and its legacy, these ecocultural landscapes are increasingly disappearing. This thesis argues that landscape designers must decolonize our methods by asking two questions in order to actively engage in prairie revitalization and Tribal co-generation surrounding prairie revitalization. First, how can a decolonizing design framework support the subsequent fire management of prairies in both wildland and urban areas? Second, how can a decolonizing design framework disrupt then deepen landscape architecture to support fire-dependent prairie habitat revitalization within the Pacific West? I propose the Decolonizing Design Framework (DDF) which includes five practices that can potentially integrate within existing landscape design methods (site analysis, conceptual design, participatory design, design-build and landscape management). The five practices are: (1) to honor Tribal sovereignty, 2) to respect the personhoods of biotic and abiotic life that exist on any given site, 3) to co-generate with a Tribe on shared climate adaptation goals, 4) to center long-term care of the land, and 5) to value multispecies epistemologies. I then implement and analyze the DDF in two case studies, the Camas Monitoring Project on the University of Washington – Seattle campus and the UW-Karuk Klamath Project, and present the findings through an autoethnographic method.