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Upcoming Free Webinar: Conversations with Olmsted

Map from the 1862 edition of Journeys and Explorations in the Cotton Kingdom by Frederick Law Olmsted. Courtesy of the PJ Mode Collection of Persuasive Cartography at Cornell University.

Conversations with Olmsted — 1.0 PDH (LA CES/HSW)

Tuesday, May 18, 2021
3:00 p.m. ET / 12:00 p.m. PT


Social justice, equity, and reform are not new topics for landscape architecture—rather, they are at its origin. Frederick Law Olmsted’s prominent role in shaping public opinion on social reform in the period leading up to and during the Civil War still impacts practice today. Join us for a conversation that re-centers the way we tell the story of Olmsted’s work and origins of landscape architecture.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Explore conditions of 19th century cities including intense rural-to-urban migration, industrialization, and immigration, and how these conditions impacted the discipline of landscape architecture.
  2. Discover how, through his writing, Olmsted confronted the institution of slavery and the cotton economy.
  3. Explore how Olmsted’s values of and advocacy for social reform translate to today’s urban and cultural challenges.
  4. Identify how, from its inception, landscape architecture aimed to address societal and environmental conditions through design, and how racial equity and environmental justice issues continue to shape what we do as designers today.


  • Sara Zewde, Founding Principal, Studio Zewde; Assistant Professor, Harvard University Graduate School of Design
  • John Stauffer, Professor of English and of African and African American Studies, Harvard University
  • Charles Waldheim, Hon. ASLA, John E. Irving Professor of Landscape Architecture and Director of the Office for Urbanization, Harvard University Graduate School of Design


Conversations with Olmsted is the first in a series of Olmsted 200 programming. This installment is co-hosted by two founding partners, the American Society of Landscape Architects and the National Recreation and Park Association.

Olmsted 200 is a national celebration spearheaded by a coalition of national organizations marking Frederick Law Olmsted's bicentennial birthday on April 26, 2022. Help us preserve and share Olmsted's legacy by visiting, subscribing to the Olmsted Insider newsletter, and following Olmsted 200 on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

To explore all upcoming ASLA webinars and past presentations, please visit You may also access nearly 200 on-demand webinars available for professional development via, including the Free PDH of the Month webinar, for ASLA members only. Through May 31, we are featuring: Ideas Lab: Four Unique Riverfront Visions for Reinventing the Nation’s Third Coast — 1.0 PDH (LA CES/HSW) as this month's Free PDH.

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