Featured Diverse Educators

 Kofi Boone 
Kristina Hill (far right) with Shore Up Marin City interns

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.”

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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.

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 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.

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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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