Climate Resiliency

Education Session - Panel Format

FRI-C02 - Urban Park Systems as Ecological Infrastructure: International Case Studies

Friday, October 19
1:30 PM - 3:00 PM
Location: 114


Cities around the world are rethinking open spaces as park systems to attract talent through improved quality of life, health, and recreation, but the ecological infrastructural services they provide are often overlooked. This session brings diverse perspectives from the United States, Canada, and Chile on planning urban park systems for resilience.

Learning Objectives:

Sonja Vangjeli, Assoc. ASLA

Planning & Design Project Manager
Waterfront Toronto

Sonja Vangjeli is a landscape architect and researcher at Waterfront Toronto, and lecturer at the Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design at the University of Toronto. She is interested in the productive potential of regional park systems as vital infrastructure, and works toward urban design strategies that balance development priorities with site identity, heritage conservation, and landscape performance. Sonja is alumna of Harvard University Graduate School of Design (MLA 2016), and University of Waterloo (MArch 2013, HBAS 2011). She has worked as landscape designer with Sasaki and West 8, and as researcher with the Zofnass Program for Sustainable Infrastructure.


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Maria Catalina Picon

Architect / Landscape Architect
Cerros Isla Foundation

Catalina is an architect (PUC,2009), landscape architect (Harvard, MLA2016), and co-founder and director of Cerros Isla NGO—a foundation that seeks to improve the quality of life of urban dwellers by recovering and restoring degraded natural areas within cities. Her interests in landscape ecology, natural heritage, and social equity have driven her to engage in multiple research projects. She has been working on a project that proposes a new ecological planning approach for developing countries, such as Chile. In parallel, she has worked independently and as a collaborator in prestigious architecture and landscape practices in Chile, and teaches at Universidad Católica(PUC).


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Laura G. Marett, ASLA

Senior Associate

Laura is a landscape architect practicing in Sasaki’s urban and campus studios. She has a particular interest in the design of urban public spaces through an engaged public process and the issues of social and environmental justice in the landscape. Her work at Sasaki includes landscape design and planning for cities and campuses, with an emphasis on resiliency. Laura maintains a close connection to the academic community, and has taught in recent years at Northeastern University, the Harvard Graduate School of Design, and the Rhode Island School of Design.


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Anita Berrizbeitia, ASLA

Professor and Chair of the Department of Landscape Architecture
Harvard University Graduate School of Design

Anita Berrizbeitia, ASLA, is Professor of Landscape Architecture and Chair of the Department of Landscape Architecture at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. Her research focuses on design theories of modern and contemporary landscape architecture, the productive aspects of landscapes, and Latin American cities and landscapes. She is the editor of Urban Landscapes (Routledge), Reconstructing Urban Landscapes: Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates (Yale), Roberto Burle Marx in Caracas: Parque del Este (University of Pennsylvania Press), and of numerous articles and essays.


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FRI-C02 - Urban Park Systems as Ecological Infrastructure: International Case Studies

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