It was 2020— Frederick Law Olmsted’s 200th birthday was a mere two years away! As the Boston Society of Landscape Architects’ representative at the Emerald Necklace Conservancy, I wanted to come up with a way to make Olmsted’s amazing designs more readable and relatable to the general public. It struck me that, even for someone adept at reading maps, sepia-toned maps, faded over time, could be a challenge to decipher.
Using photoshop, I started with F.L. Olmsted’s 1894 plan for what is now referred to as the ‘Emerald Necklace.’ Water features, roads, paths, sidewalks and vegetation were color-coded, resulting in making the plan more legible and essentially bringing Olmsted’s design ‘back to life.’ The rendering of the Emerald Necklace Plan took a number of weeks to complete.
The experience of communing with Frederick Law Olmsted across the centuries proved to be extremely gratifying and comforting. I felt inspired to render other Olmsted designs in color, namely his designs for Jackson Park, Chicago; Seneca Park, Rochester; and the Olmsted Brothers’ plan for Druid Hills. As someone who grew up in Atlanta, I was intimately familiar with the Druid Hills linear park system. The process of colorizing the plan for Druid Hills brought back many fond memories of that beautiful part of the world.
Elena Saporta, ASLA, RLA, LEED AP
Elena Saporta Landscape Architecture
Archival prints of these images can be viewed and purchased here: https://wardmapsgifts.com/collections/elena-saporta