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Olmsted 200 Tackles Green Gentrification

Image by NAOP promoting Conversations with Olmstead

According to The Trust for Public Land, one in three Americans does not have a public park within a 10-minute walk from home. This dismal statistic helps put into perspective just how important it is for communities to invest in parks and park improvement projects and champion Olmsted’s vision of parks for all people.

But as cities realize and harness the transformative power of park-building, there are challenges. One is green gentrification, the often-debated phenomenon caused by environmental planning that excludes or displaces politically-disenfranchised residents.

Frederick Law Olmsted and the Olmsted firms frequently emphasized the correlation between public green space and increased property values. In the 19th century, this was a selling point, but today, this same argument is sometimes used to condemn the rejuvenation of parks around the country.

Join us as we closely examine this phenomenon in Conversations with Olmsted: Green Gentrification. Does park-making and park-upgrading cause displacement? And, if so, how can we address this? Is it possible to renew public green spaces while ensuring neighbors can afford to remain in their homes? As communities now start to employ infrastructure dollars, how can the money be used to reunite neighborhoods, promote equity and economic growth, and revitalize important urban centers? It promises to be a riveting panel discussion!

Tackling this timely topic are four experts on the front lines:

Professor Theodore “Ted” Landsmark comes to us from Northeastern University. Landsmark has been a civic planner, civil rights and equity advocate, higher education administrator, arts and culture researcher, and community-engaged social activist in Boston and nationally. As Director of the Dukakis Center, Professor Landsmark oversees interdisciplinary research on urban policy matters, including housing, gentrification, economic development, civic engagement, school design, comprehensive services, transportation, resilience, and public service.

Robert Hammond serves as President and Chief Strategy Officer for Therme Group US. Before coming to Therme, he served for over two decades as Co-Founder and Executive Director of the High Line, where he led the transformation of an abandoned elevated railway line in Manhattan into an iconic urban park. Under his leadership, the High Line grew to become one of the most beloved public spaces
in the United States, attracting eight million annual visitors. He also created the High Line Network to foster community and share best practices among leaders of other infrastructure renewal projects. 

Jessica Henson is a Partner at OLIN. She leads planning and design projects that seek to create socially and environmentally resilient infrastructure including the Los Angeles County LA River Master Plan and the Rio Hondo Confluence Area Project. Other significant projects include Chicago’s Vista and Willis Towers, a new residential precinct at the University of Washington in Seattle, the new U.S. Embassies in London and Brasilia, the O’Hare Global Terminal, the SELA Cultural Center, and the Glendale Garden Bridge. Henson’s work explores the relationships among hydrological, cultural, and social contexts.

Clyde Higgs serves as Chief Executive Officer and President of Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. In this role, he leads the executive team in providing oversight of the economic development, design & construction, real estate development, housing, procurement, and human resources activities. He also focuses on establishing and expanding strong working relationships with private and public partners across the region, state, and nation. Clyde brings over 20 years of experience in economic development, real estate, intellectual property, technology, strategic planning, design, real estate development, grant and donor funding, and government relations.

Register here:

This event is the twelfth webinar in the popular Conversations with Olmsted series. Hosted by the Olmsted Network— formerly the National Association for Olmsted Parks— for Olmsted 200, these programs examine different aspects of Olmsted’s far-reaching influence on America’s physical landscape and social fabric.
Olmsted 200 runs through April 26, 2023. To learn more about the celebration, visit and follow us on social media.

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