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Landscape Forms Sponsors Roundtable on Women in Landscape Architecture

July 18, 2023
Kalamazoo, MI

​Moira Gilligan
Landscape Forms

​Karen Booking

Landscape Forms, North America’s leading designer and manufacturer of high-design site furniture, structure, LED lighting, and accessories, brought together 14 female leaders and three female students in landscape architecture on June 27 and 28 to discuss critical issues and future prospects for women in the profession. Women in Landscape Architecture: Amplifying Our Voices was held at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, hosted by Landscape Forms CEO, Margie Simmons, and moderated by Allyson Mendenhall, FASLA, PLA, Director of Strategic Initiatives, Sasaki. 

Roundtable participants included women who lead design practices, divisions of large firms, and non-profit organizations, as well as serve in prominent roles in the public sector and academia. The discussion focused on structural and cultural issues facing women in landscape architecture with the goal of identifying ways in which they can be supported and empowered to utilize their knowledge, skills and passions; gain recognition for their contributions; have a full voice in defining the goals and ethos of the profession; and promote equitable and rewarding opportunities for the women landscape architects of the future. 

Margie Simmons welcomed the group. “Thank you all for taking the time to participate in this Roundtable. As many of you know, Landscape Forms has a long-term organizational commitment to the landscape architecture profession. Our founder, John Chipman, was a landscape architect; our former President and current Chairman, Bill Main, is a landscape architect and past president of the Landscape Architecture Foundation; landscape architects are well represented on our Board of Directors; and many of our product solutions are designed by landscape architects. This is a deeply personal issue for me, and I have wanted to host an event like this ever since I became CEO of Landscape Forms.  Many women have had an impact on my career, and I want to pay it forward. 

According to the VELA Project, while women earn 55% of the degrees in landscape architecture, just 27% of licensed landscape architects are women and only 12% rise to leadership positions in the profession. Through the career ladder, there is a large, observable loss of women in practice and leadership. “That is why we are here today – to talk about that and what we can do individually and collectively to solve the issue,” Margie declared. “I believe in the power of many. When we gather and work together, we can have a real impact for all women in the profession.” 

Moderator Allyson Mendenhall offered her observations on the discussion. “Landscape architects shape the world in which we live and many of them are women. We represent an incredible amount of potential and positive impact on our cities, community spaces, ecosystems and society. That is why this issue of women in landscape architecture is so important. I was thrilled by the diversity of perspectives and the level of engagement at the Roundtable, including that of the students. The discussion revealed the motivation and the innovation of women working to craft professional paths that are influential and fulfilling. We saw how women are creating meaningful opportunities for themselves and others. This event engendered a call to action to assert our value and to seek out and raise awareness of the many roles and sectors of the economy, beyond narrow choices, where women landscape architects can inspire change by crafting individual careers that integrate well with their lives. 

The Roundtable had an ambitious agenda and goals. Participants reached deep into their own learning and experiences and engaged in spirited, purposeful exchange to address critical issues and concrete directions forward for women in the profession. A whitepaper documenting the discussion will be published by Landscape Forms and made available online.


Participants in the Roundtable included:

Aan Coleman, ASLA, LEED, AP, President & Founder, Coleman & Associates

Barbara Deutsch, FASLA, CEO, Landscape Architecture Foundation (LAF)

Diana Fernandez Bibeau, Deputy Chief of Urban Design, City of Boston

Gina Ford, Principal & Co-Founder, Agency Landscape + Planning

Ying-yu Hung, PLA, FASLA, Managing Principal, SWA

Diane Jones Allen, D.Eng., PLA, FASLA, Director/Professor of Landscape Architecture, University of Texas at Arlington, and Principal Landscape Architect, DesignJones LLC

Elizabeth J Kennedy, FASLA, RLA, Principal, Elizabeth Kennedy Landscape Architect, PLLC

Karen Janosky, ASLA, Director of the Master in Landscape Architecture Program, Harvard University Graduate School of Design

Diane Lipovsky, Partner & Co-Founder, Superbloom

Adrienne McCray, RLA, ASLA, Principal, Lee and Associates, Inc.

Stacy Passmore, Partner & Co-Founder, Superbloom

Maura Rockcastle ASLA, PLA, Principal & Co-Founder, TEN x TEN Landscape Architecture

Sarah M. Whiting, Dean and Josep Lluís Sert Professor of Architecture, Harvard University Graduate School of Design

Naomi Canino, Student & LAF Ignite Awardee, Rhode Island School of Design

Jakobi Johnson, Student & LAF Scholar, Michigan State University

Cheryl Zeng, Student & LAF Scholar, Cornell University

About Landscape Forms
Landscape Forms is the industry leader in integrated collections of high-design site furniture, structures, accessories, and advanced LED lighting. Since its founding in 1969 Landscape Forms has earned a reputation for excellent design, high quality products and exceptional service. The company is headquartered in Kalamazoo, Michigan, and our family of brands includes Loll Designs in Duluth, Minnesota; Summit Furniture in Monterey, California; and Kornegay Design located in Phoenix, Arizona.  It has sales representatives throughout North America, South America, the United Kingdom, Australia, the United Arab Emirates and Asia. Landscape Forms collaborates with renowned industrial designers and consultancies, landscape architects, and architects to design and develop integrated collections of products that address emerging needs and help create a sense of place. Additionally, the company has formed global marketing partnerships with select companies that share its commitment to design. Landscape Forms has an installed base of products around the world. Clients include municipalities, transit centers, corporate, college and health care campuses; and familiar brand leaders such as Harvard University, Linked In, New York Central Park Conservancy, Bryant Park, Google, Coca Cola, Oculus, U.S. Tennis Association (USTA), Nike, National Museum of African American History (Washington, D.C.), Barclays Center, Adidas, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Microsoft, and Uber. We’ve been named one of the Best Workplaces in Manufacturing & Production for 2020, 2021 and 2022 by Fortune magazine, Michigan Manufacturer of the Year for 2020 by the Michigan Manufacturers Association, and by 269 Magazine as one of Southwest Michigan’s Wonderful Workplaces.