Interview with Conners Ladner
What do you think is the greatest challenge landscape architects face today?
Relevance and value. We have the skillset and creativity to solve significant topical issues such as a changing climate, collapsing infrastructure, nature deficit disorder and health and wellness in communities. To continue growth in this profession, we need to lead by educating clients, students, and other consultants about why our profession is vital.
What is a great memory of one of your projects?
I have so many great memories from the Houston Arboretum & Nature Center project - from the incredibly collaborative design team to the amazing client. We created many memories with this project, the serpentine boardwalk is my favorite. Like a snake, the boardwalk bends, and curves through the edge of a stormwater pond and wetland – bringing visitors over the water and then back into the land. The boardwalk has been a common fixture on social media. These moments in our projects are vital for creating long-lasting stewardship. They create new memories for visitors and an appreciation for our open spaces.
What do you think is the next issue on the horizon for landscape architects?
We must increase diversity in our field. We need more representation from the communities that we often engage and support. It takes a collective mind to solve contemporary issues and we need the voice of all. We can act on an educational level by engaging middle school students through design office visits, mentoring through shadow programs of high school students, and by creating scholarships for minority college students. Our field can lead. We do it through early education.
What is your favorite iconic space and why?
Washington D.C. The National Mall. A landscape architects dream! Open space, crowds of people interacting, museums, artist sculptural interventions, history, cherry blossoms, Halprin, Lincoln, FDR, scooters. It has everything!