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Diana Fernandez Bibeau, ASLA: From Student Champion to Civic Leader

Courtesy of Sasaki

The news about landscape architect Diana Fernandez Bibeau’s appointment as Boston’s first-ever Deputy Chief of Urban Design catapults the discipline of landscape architecture and urban design to a new role within municipal governance. Fernandez Bibeau will join the Boston Planning & Development Agency (BPDA). In the city’s official announcement, Boston Mayor Michelle Wu stated that “Fernandez will elevate the importance of urban design, and champion the transformative power of sustainable and walkable communities for all ages and abilities.”

Fernandez Bibeau’s appointment also highlights her long-standing relationship with ASLA. While a landscape architecture student, she received four ASLA student awards including the 2013 ASLA Student Award of Excellence in Communications, for a multi-disciplinary project, involving teams from Temple University and the University of Pennsylvania, that celebrated and built advocacy for an abandoned railroad right-of-way in Philadelphia. In 2020, Fernandez Bibeau was awarded the inaugural ASLA Emerging Professional Medal, in recognition of her many accomplishments, from her work at Temple University, where she received her BS in Landscape Architecture, her first professional work with Sikora Wells Appel in Philadelphia, to her exemplary work at Sasaki in Boston where, at the time, was working on a project to revitalize the Wilmington Waterfront Promenade for the Port of Los Angeles.

Fernandez Bibeau has worked for over seven years with Sasaki. According to the firm, Fernandez Bibeau’s tenure “spanned a broad range of projects from planning to built work. Fernandez Bibeau is a proven thinker, collaborator, and leader, who teams effortlessly with architects, planners, urban designers, ecologists, and civil engineers on the design of equitable and sustainable places.”

Fernandez Bibeau’s record of “firsts” and inaugural civic appointment follows Wu’s historic election in 2021 when she became the first woman, first person of color, and first Asian American elected to serve as the Mayor of Boston. Fernandez Bibeau immigrated from the Dominican Republic with her family and was raised in New York City. As women of color, Wu and Fernandez Bibeau can now make their mark on one of America’s historical cities.

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