Elizabeth J Kennedy, FASLA, RLA, is the 2022 recipient of the Landscape Architecture Foundation Medal, honoring a career of distinguished work in landscape sustainability. The medal award follows her 2021 elevation to the ASLA Council of Fellows and recognizes her efforts to intersect cultural heritage and ecology in socially just ways.
Deemed "an exceptional leader, visionary, entrepreneur, advocate for social change, designer, teacher, and mentor to young professional women and BIPOC designers," she founded Elizabeth Kennedy Landscape Architect,PLLC (EKLA)in 1994 to investigate and address this need. Black-owned and woman-run, EKLA is the longest-surviving such firm in the country. Its longevity is due to Elizabeth's tenacity and belief in the importance of service to clients, the communities they serve, the emerging professionals she trains, and the profession itself through the process of design.
The work she directs quietly challenges mainstream assumptions about the aspirations and needs of underrepresented voices in the face of systems and biases that have long dispossessed the less powerful of spaces and rendered the people who use them invisible. In countering this invisibility, her projects exemplify landscape architecture's potential to engage a broader critical understanding of place and identity.
These innovative and much-honored landscape architects discuss their signature projects, unique working methods, and design philosophies-while sharing transformative stories of people and places. For these designers, a respect for history informs and inspires the creative process.