Posted: February 18, 2008
Anne Whiston Spirn, an internationally recognized scholar working at the intersection of landscape architecture and environmental planning, will deliver a lecture in Dwight Hall, Room 101, on Monday, March 3, from 4:15 to 5:30 pm. Her talk, titled "Restoring Mill Creek: Landscape Literacy, Environmental Justice, and City Planning and Design," is part of the Environmental Leadership Series at Mount Holyoke, a new program of the Center for the Environment that seeks to bring professionals to campus whose work and goals place them in the role of environmental leaders striving to create a more environmentally sustainable and just society.
Spirn is credited with playing a seminal role in applying theories and principles of ecological landscape design to urban areas. Her pathbreaking scholarly research and writing apply ecological principles to urban settings. Since 1987, she has directed the West Philadelphia Landscape Project (WPLP) in an inner-city community near the University of Pennsylvania. The WPLP links landscape design, community development, and urban stormwater management through a program integrating research, teaching, and community service. Its goals include development of strategic landscape plans to enhance environmental quality, implementation of landscape improvements to stimulate economic development, and mutual strengthening of public school curricula and undergraduate and professional education. The project was cited as a "Model of Best Practice" at a White House summit in March 1999 for 40 leading "Scholars and Artists in Public Life."
Spirn's lecture will explore the connections between history, ecology, landscape design, and urban planning, building on her 15 years of multidisciplinary research at the West Philadelphia Landscape Project.
History professor Robert Schwartz describes Spirn's work as "an exemplar of the multidisciplinary approach to the study of urban environmental problems and their remediation. It is full of insights and inspires a good measure of hope as well."
Spirn's talk is cosponsored by the Center for the Environment and the history department. It is free, open to the public, and wheelchair accessible.