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Friends of Fairsted Fall 2020 Webinar: The Olmsted Brothers in California

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Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr. and the Olmsted Brothers firm created prescient plans for LA's growth in the 20s. What didn't they foresee?

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The Olmsted Brothers’ Planning in California: A Prescient Approach to Ecological Design

A talk by Christine E, O’Hara, Professor of Landscape Architecture, California Polytech, San Luis Obispo

The population migration and subsequent development pressures in California in the post WWI decades provided the Olmsted Brothers firm with opportunities to plan at a more expansive and complex scale than in their previous work. Working in topographically and climatically challenging landscapes, Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr. sought to develop a comprehensive approach in their multiple design commissions for residential communities, as well as urban and state park systems that would enhance the natural scenic and cultural features while planning wisely for sound infrastructure. The resultant master planning for the greater Los Angeles region was both ecologically prescient and problematic. Viewing the firm’s visionary designs, some built, some only planned, which impacted this vast megalopolis, this talk will consider the Olmsted work in terms of contemporary ecological issues. As respondent, Fadi Masoud, Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture and Urbanism at the University of Toronto will explore these projects in view of current demographic and climate changes.

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