Olmsted 200 invites you to join the next installment in our popular Conversations with Olmsted webinar series. In this series, we examine different aspects of Olmsted’s far-reaching influence on America’s physical landscape and social fabric. 

The 9th Conversations with Olmsted webinar will take place on September 20 at a new time— 11 am ET— and have a global focus. This installment is presented by the National Association for Olmsted Parks, the managing partner of Olmsted 200.

In the late 19th century, the world turned from a rural to an urban society. Today we find ourselves on an “urban planet” with most of the population living in cities worldwide. Against this backdrop,  we’ll explore how Olmsted’s work and legacy can inform global park-making and urban planning. To do so, we will hear from some of the most thoughtful thinkers and practitioners around the globe who, like Olmsted,  are exploring how landscape architecture can undergird the development of livable cities while addressing pressing issues of social justice and climate change.

Jayne Miller, the chair of World Urban Parks and CEO of Jayne Miller Consulting, will join us as moderator. Panelists include Romy Hecht, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile; Alison Barnes, Chief Executive New Forest National Park Authority in England; and Kongjian Yu, the founder of Peking University College of Architecture and Landscape Architecture and founder and principal of Turenscape in Beijing. 

Jayne Miller, Moderator
Miller is chair of World Urban Parks and CEO of Jayne Miller Consulting.  She has served as superintendent of the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) and president and CEO of the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy (PPC).  During her tenure, Minneapolis was voted the number one park system in the U.S. six consecutive times by The Trust for Public Land. While leading the PPC and MPRB, the organizations were recognized for their work on social equity.  The Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy was the recipient of the National Recreation and Park Association’s 2020 Innovation in Social Equity Award for the Restoring Pittsburgh Parks Initiative and the Pennsylvania Recreation and Park Society’s 2020 Award of Excellence for the Restoring Pittsburgh Parks Initiative. The MPRB received the Minnesota Recreation and Park Association’s 2017 Award of Excellence for the 20-Year Neighborhood Park Plan.

Romy Hecht, Panelist
Hecht is a Professor at the School of Architecture, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (PUC), where she offers courses and research seminars on design theories of nineteenth- and twentieth-century landscapes. She holds a Ph.D. in History and Theory of Architecture from Princeton University and an M. Arch. and a professional degree in architecture from the PUC. She has been a Visiting Professor in the Department of Landscape Architecture at the Harvard Graduate School of Design (2012) and a fellow at Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, Washington, D.C. (2015, 2017–2018). This year, Orjikh published a book, compiled and edited by Romy, entitled, Paisajes para el pueblo (Landscapes for the people),  the first translation into Spanish of four essays by Olmsted, selected for their ability to expose historical challenges of landscape architecture as a profession and field of study, a situation particularly applicable in Chile today.

Alison Barnes, Panelist
Barnes has served as the CEO of New Forest National Park Authority near Southampton, England since 2010. She is a founding trustee and advisor to the National Park City Foundation and an elected Fellow of both the Landscape Institute and RSA. She served as a member of the Forestry & Woodland Advisory Committee of Forestry England for nearly ten years and as a Government official leading on policy for local delivery of the England Biodiversity Strategy and supporting the passage of the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006. As director for Natural England’s London operations, she promoted London’s green space and its benefit to the social and economic fabric of the nation’s capital. She was also a commissioner of the London Sustainable Development Commission for five years, advising the Mayor on national environments and connection to nature in urban planning. In that role, she initiated a project called “Sowing the Seeds,” designed to reconnect young people to green spaces. A graduate of Oxford University, Alison has advocated for a natural capital approach as Convenor of the Green Halo Partnership to “ensure that the natural environment is seen as an integral part of how we work and live.”

Kongjian Yu, Panelist 
Yu is a landscape architect and urbanist, writer and educator, and winner of the International Federation of Landscape Architects’ Sir Geoffrey Jellicoe Award in 2020. He received his Doctor of Design Degree from Harvard’s Graduate School of Design in 1995. He was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2016. Yu has helped establish the profession of landscape architecture in China while focusing on urban development, land and water management, flood control and ecological restoration. He is a founder of the Peking University College of Architecture and Landscape Architecture and founder and principal designer of Turenscape which has been called one of The 10 Most Innovative Architecture Companies of 2021 for “balancing China’s hyperspeed urbanization with green ‘sponge cities.’”