Featured Diverse Educators

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion landing Photo Marc Miller

Marc Miller teaches landscape architecture at the Pennsylvania State University. As an educator and researcher, he focuses on representations of places and spaces in the future and looking towards landscapes in popular culture. Combined with a commitment to more culturally inclusive landscape histories and practices, he is focused on the idea that landscape architectural ideation and imagery must shift to look towards problem-solving for the future instead of repeating design processes from the past to remain relevant to future populations. 

In addition to thinking about issues of diversity and design in the future, Marc is the President-Elect for the Black Landscape Architects Network (BlackLAN). Established in 2010, BlackLAN is an organization established to support and connect Black Landscape Architects globally. The organization functions based on three pillars; communication, service, and education. 

Marc is also the inaugural Vice President of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Retention for the Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture (CELA). He is trying to establish a foundation for inclusive design thinking internationally through communication, service, and education. 

As an active member of the ASLA, Marc currently serves on the Committee for Education. In that role, he works with a range of educators, faculty, and affiliated persons on topics related to the profession's future. He is part of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion subcommittee. 

These roles have allowed Marc to meet with other organizations concerned with a more representative and accessible profession to a broader group of people. This includes participating in a reading group organized by Dumbarton Oaks to expand how landscape history is read. He is engaged in a group of leaders in landscape architecture organized by the Landscape Architecture Foundation, also to make the profession more representative. 

Marc holds degrees in Art History, Fine Arts from Binghamton University, an Architecture degree from UVa, and a degree in Landscape Architecture from Cornell, all of which have come to bear on how he looks at design, people, and the future.

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion landing Photo Arnaldo Cardona

Arnaldo Cardona, ASLA, IAPPR

Arnaldo was a licensed landscape architect and college-level landscape architecture instructor on his beloved island of Puerto Rico. His first step in the design field was finishing a Bachelors of Environmental Design at the School of Architecture at the University of Puerto Rico. While still a student he developed his own landscaping design business, the success of which led him to New York City to join the bachelors’ Urban Landscape Architecture Program at City College of New York. While pursuing his Bachelor’s degree at CCNY he also finished a Masters in Art and Art Education Program at Teachers College, Columbia University. This opportunity was very enlightening because it gave him the opportunity to gain skills in the area of curriculum design and to do research the field of Architecture from an art discipline perspective. For his thesis he developed an integrated curriculum for art educators using Architecture as a central theme.

After finishing his degrees in Landscape Architecture and Art Education, Arnaldo returned to Puerto Rico to conduct courses of Studio in Landscape Architecture and Landscape Design at the University of Puerto Rico. He was also served as an adjunct professor teaching art courses at the Interamerican University. Arnaldo later became Supervisor of Landscape Restoration and Conservationist at the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture, the agency that manages the landmark and historic buildings on the island. 

Although teaching at college level was very gratifying, Arnaldo decided to return to New York to study all levels of education and was awarded the Bilingual Special Education Program scholarship from the New York Department of Education and finished a Masters’ degree in Education. His thesis was a K-12 curriculum in Architecture integrating Landscape Architecture as a way to increase literacy skills.

Arnaldo’s degrees enabled him to get teaching licenses in Fine Art, Bilingual Education, Special Education and ESL. While working as a teacher in New York, Arnaldo continued his landscape design work during his vacations with a Design Build business.

As a landscape designer Arnaldo has always been concerned with issues about architectural barriers but as a special education teacher he helped his students gain the academic skills they needed to be decertified from special education programs. In New York, Arnaldo developed an Urban Landscape Architecture Program for students who were unable to pass their state tests. Through a grant from the Bilingual Education Program, students whose native language was not English were able to gain skills in math, science and literacy using the urban landscape as a theme for instruction. When state monitors visited the program to evaluate it, they described it as the best program they had ever seen in the history of that district. After this program, Arnaldo developed an after school program about the urban landscape at middle-school level. 

Because of his experience designing curriculums in Architecture and Landscape Architecture, Arnaldo was invited by a former professor at Teachers College, Columbia University to share with principals the implementation of these programs and how they helped students gain academic skills through hands-on experience and project-based education.

Arnaldo then became a staff developer and middle-school coordinator in the Bronx. He coordinated partnership programs between six middle schools and arts organizations in New York City. He also coordinated curriculum writing programs for teachers at an architecture-themed school. This experience enabled him to write grants and network with different arts organizations including the American Institute of Architects, Learning by Design Program, and the Salvadori Center, later working for the latter two. At the Salvadori Center he became an Architect-Educator and worked with schools in New York City, developing daytime and afterschool programs using the built environment as a theme.

Arnaldo developed a Landscape Architectural program at a K-5 school in New York City, in which students learned about concepts in Landscape Architecture by designing and building their own garden. The garden was used as an outdoor classroom by math, science and literacy teachers.

Concluding his experimental educational experiences at the K-12 level, Arnaldo returned to teaching at college level, with courses in Assessment in Special Education at Jersey City University and Math and Art in Childhood Settings at Lehman College. After this he became a full-time facilitator at Boricua College in the Bronx.

Arnaldo also had the opportunity to work at the Jersey City Parks Department where he prepared planting plans and inspected sites as part of Jersey City’s beautification and park restoration project.

With his repertoire of experiences in curriculum design in the areas of Art, Architecture and Landscape Architecture, Arnaldo is now focused on publishing his lessons and learning experiences with the goal of recognizing landscape architecture as an art discipline and as an ideal theme for curriculum design. His book on K-12 Education in Landscape Architecture will use critical thinking and STEM concepts to increase visibility of our profession among K-12 educators and to promote further pedagogical research in the field of landscape architecture.

An ASLA member since 2005, Arnaldo is currently serving on the ASLA Committee in Education and is chairing the subcommittee on K-12 Eduction to support the vision of the ASLA Career Discovery program. As a recent resident of Virginia, he also envisions assisting the Virginia chapter of ASLA to develop a K-12 educational program in Landscape Architecture.

Arnaldo has also been a member of the Institute of Landscape Architects of Puerto Rico since 1999. He envisions helping the Institute of Landscape Architects in Puerto Rico to develop a K-12 education program. Concerned about the lack of representation of Latinos in our profession, he would love to see more networking among them as part of ASLA.

After his book is published, Arnaldo plans to resume work on his art, having abandoned it to pursue his passion for pedagogy.

Maria Bellalta, ASLA

Maria Bellalta, ASLA

María Bellalta is dean and faculty, School of Landscape Architecture, Boston Architectural College (BAC), Chair, Committee on Education, ASLA. She has academic collaborations in Latin America with Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana (UPB) in Medellín, and Centro Metropolitano de Arquitectura Sustentable (C+) in México City. She has been a visiting critic at Harvard University, Graduate School of Design, and the School of Architecture, Design and Urban Studies at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile.

María has held positions as design director with Martha Schwartz Partners, and designer with Sasaki Associates, Inc., and Copley Wolff Design Group, in addition to her own design office, LTX Urban Landscapes Studio. She brings over twenty years of practical design experience working on visionary projects regionally and internationally, including a new Central Park for Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and the winning entry for a new sustainable city in Seoul, Korea, the Yongsan International Business District, IBD Dream-hub International, conducted in collaboration with Martha Schwartz Partners and Studio Daniel Libeskind. She collaborated on the design of Jacob Javitz Plaza, NYC, which received an ASLA Honor Award and the P.N. Winslow Landscape Design Award; the Minneapolis Federal Courthouse, earning a Citation for Design Excellence from the General Services Administration; and the Miami Sound wall, projects that have enlivened the city and enhanced public engagement. At Sasaki Associates, María worked on large institutional and corporate projects, including campus master plans and international business headquarters. At Sasaki she also served as director for the Sasaki Public Art Program, where she curated public art exhibitions and encouraged collaborations between local artists and landscape architects. During her tenure with Copley Wolff Design Group she gained in depth knowledge of the City of Boston, its parks and playgrounds, and the urban design challenges surrounding the dismantling of the Central Artery/Tunnel Project and the vitalization of the Rose Kennedy Greenway, an urban design and landscape architecture project costing $22 billion at completion. The Greenway project traverses Boston from south to north, crossing three separate districts, including Chinatown as a compact and marginalized tip of the city; the Wharf, as an affluent business area; and the North End, as an Italian, and formerly Jewish neighborhood, with local customs and tourism allure.

Maria became intrigued by the public process long ago, partly due to professional experiences working internationally as well as with communities throughout Boston’s diverse neighborhoods, not to mention the effect of her origins and early years in Chile. She holds community engagement at the core of her design and pedagogical pursuits. At the BAC, her research work is focused on urban development and cultural communities. She teaches design theory and interdisciplinary studios on social urbanism focused on the emergence of Medellín, Colombia and developing cities in Latin America. Located in the deep Aburrá Valley as part of the central Andes Mountains, Medellín is the capital of Antioquia and the second-largest city in Colombia. The city has a population of over 4 million inhabitants today, representing an urban center impacted by rapid urbanization amid one of the world’s richest biospheres and ecological wonders. The city depicts syndromes germane to many developing areas of the Global South, where a disparate equation between natural resources and spatial, social, and economic conditions exists, disenfranchising the local communities. Maria travels with her students to Colombia each year, immersing them in a cross-cultural/contextual journey, to posit over issues of inclusivity and spatial equity. In Medellin, 30% of the population live in poverty on the fringes of the city in informal settlements, often unemployed, with scant access to the area’s public amenities. The critique of how architectural, urban design and landscape architecture projects are being laid across the city to mitigate the community’s hardships reveal how these tactics too often favor international and elite business agendas. These studies are dictating the urgency for transforming spatial design and landscape architecture practices through much greater agency. Maria’s quest is to bridge this gap through planning strategies that can help guide the design industry toward a deeper understanding of how communities are intimately connected to their landscapes, as the natural forces for strengthening urban development in the future. Her upcoming book entitled Social Urbanism: Reframing Spatial Design – Discourses from Latin America, Applied Research and Design Publishing, which will be in print this fall 2020, provides an in-depth view of urban development practices in Latin America over the past five centuries, unearthing the land and cultural exploitation that has marked the landscape over time, offering an alternative view that invites communities to take part in the re-building and future development of their cities.

Maria’s lectures over the past few years include topics on the rebirth of the Latin American City; urban development in Latin America and the dangers of city branding; Social Urbanism, culture, and the politics that frame landscape architecture; traversing lines – on spatial borders and social equity; and perspectives on the remaking of urban landscapes in Latin America, among others. María received her MLA from Harvard University, Graduate School of Design, with prior studies in environmental psychology from the University of Notre Dame. She chairs the Committee on Education, American Society of Landscape Architects.

Kristina Hill  

Kristina Hill, Affil. ASLA

Hill is an associate professor at the University of California at Berkeley where her focus is on adaptation to coastal flooding. She came to landscape architecture from a background in geology, studied drawing at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, and enrolled at the Free University in Berlin in the 1980s. Hill spent almost a decade at Harvard University, doing her Masters and PhD in landscape architecture, then taught at Iowa State, MIT, University of Washington, University of Virginia, and now UC Berkeley. She wrote and co-edited Ecology and Design: Frameworks for Learning, and is working on a book about coastal adaptation using landforms and innovative urban design strategies to help frontline communities adapt.

She observed that landscape architecture was not a particularly welcoming profession for people who are gay, lesbian, or transgender when she entered the field. It can still be lonely – she is almost always the only out lesbian in her academic department. Similarly, she has often been the only person in those settings who comes from an urban, working-class family background. “Like many people, I really didn’t want to bring my most vulnerable personal experiences into my professional work. But we can also use our identities to help wake people up – by helping them see the value of diverse teams.” Hill explained that she spent decades working on urban biodiversity because it was painful to think about the personal side of discrimination.

She started working more directly on social justice issues in the last 15 years, once she felt ready to talk with her colleagues about how the issues affect her directly and the feelings that can come up. “It has always been easier for me to talk about science than it is to talk about the cruelty of social inequalities. It took longer to figure out what to do with my sadness and anger about the way identity and life experience can be used to hold people back in the professional world under the pretense of judging merit. The experience of public space, our definitions of beauty and ugliness – these things are fundamentally social, shaped by how others react to us and the meanings we associate with places, stories, even materials. I think our profession too often embraces the useful myth that there is such a thing as ‘good design’ for all.”

Instead, she argues that different designs are needed to allow different groups of people to feel welcome and honored in public space. “Professionals need to allow less-powerful people to tell us what they want and learn from that. Otherwise, design functions as a tool of psychological and often physical displacement, even if elite critics call it beautiful,” Hill says. She offers the examples of New York City’s Central Park and High Line, saying she hopes that her students see the ugliness in the way landscape architecture was used as a tool of displacement. “Maybe it’s true that handsome is as handsome does,” she wrote, adding that “we will have so much adaptation work to do in the next decades. I hope we do it with empathy.”

Learn more

Hill helped lead the All Bay Collective team in the San Francisco Bay Area “Resilient by Design” Challenge, along with CMG Landscape Architects, AECOM, and Skeo Solutions. Learn more about their adaptation proposals for East Oakland, California. full paper

Her latest paper is on the risks coastal cities face from rising groundwater, driven by sea level rise. Read an overview and the full paper.


Gabriel Díaz Montemayor, ASLA

Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture at the Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, starting August 2019. Previously, he taught the School of Architecture at The University of Texas at Austin, and at The Design School of Arizona State University in Tempe. He also taught courses at the College of Architecture Design and Construction of Auburn University. Gabriel was an architecture design studio and thesis professor at ISAD in Chihuahua, Mexico, and was a visiting professor at the New School of Architecture of the Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico at San Juan. Gabriel has guest taught at Monterrey Tech Chihuahua and Hermosillo, UDEM and UANL in Monterrey, ESARQ in Guadalajara, Universidad San Francisco de Quito, and the Marista University of Merida.

Gabriel is a founding partner of LABOR (Landscape, Architecture, Border) Studio based in Chihuahua City since 2002. The work produced by the office is characterized by a broad range of scales in private and public commissions, mostly, in the state of Chihuahua, México. Among the outstanding works are the Urban Design Guidelines for the Urban Edges of Chihuahua and the Tabalaopa Master Plan, both winners of Professional Awards granted by the Arizona Chapter of the ASLA, and the Vistas Cerro Grande Corridor, in Chihuahua City, winner of an honorable mention at the Third Latin American Landscape Architecture Biennial.

Gabriel is a member of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) since 2008 and was a member of the Board of Directors of the Congress of New Urbanism Central Texas Chapter from 2014 to 2018.

Gabriel studied architecture at the Superior Institute for Architecture and Design of Chihuahua (ISAD), winning the first prize of his class for his thesis project. Gabriel holds the professional architect title from the Autonomous University of the State of Chihuahua (UACH). Gabriel got his Master in Landscape Architecture from Auburn University, Alabama, in 2007.

Gabriel has guest lectured at the Marista Univesity of Mérida, the Autonomous University of Sinaloa in Culiacán, Monterrey Tech in Hermosillo, Woodbury University in San Diego/Tijuana, the AIA New Mexico Chapter in Albuquerque, the Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design at the University of Arkansas, Universidad Piloto of Bogota, the Colombian Society of Architects in Bogota, ISTHMUS School in Panama, and the GSD Landscape Architecture Program at Harvard University, among others. His work has been published in Arquine Magazine, Domus México, Aula Journal, Progressive Planning, and Landscape Architecture Magazine.

Learn more



 Kofi Boone 
 Kofi Boone, ASLA / Leslie Bartlebaugh

Kofi Boone, ASLA

Boone is Professor of Landscape Architecture at North Carolina State University in the College of Design. Kofi is a Detroit native and a graduate of the University of Michigan (BSNR 1992, MLA 1995). His work is in landscape architecture and environmental justice with a focus on democratic design and cultural landscapes. He is a University Faculty Scholar and a member of the Academy of Outstanding Teachers. His teaching and professional work have earned student and professional ASLA awards.

Kofi is Vice President of Education and a Board Director of The Landscape Architecture Foundation, a founding member of the ASLA Environmental JusticeProfessional Practice Network (PPN), and serves on the Editorial Advisory Committee for Landscape Architecture Magazine. He is active in multidisciplinary activities ranging from the National Endowment for the Arts Designing Equity Forum to the AIA Design Justice Summit and other related efforts.

Kofi has disseminated his work broadly, including in Landscape Architecture Magazine, Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning, PUBLIC: A Journal of Imagining America, and most recently in the award-winning book: Design as Democracy: Techniques for Collective Creativity.

Learn more
As Cities Grow, Remember the Communities That Were Destroyed, The Dirt, ASLA 

Black Landscapes Matter, GroundUp Journal

Kofi Boone: Collisions of Race and Place, Duke University

Race and Cultural Landscapes: A Conversation with Kofi Boone, The Cultural Landscape Foundation (TCLF)



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