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An Axis of Memory: Notes on Engaging Memory and History in a Design Process


Key Words: Collective Memory, Landscape Design, Urban Planning History, Design Process, Black History.


As the professions of Landscape Architecture, and Urban Design continue to re-envision cities and structures of analysis in response to the limitations of modernity, how substantially can we engage a site's cultural memory (and often uncomfortable socio-political milieu) within these new visions? In other words, in what ways is design limited or well positioned to meaningfully encompass the contributions and fragile existences of marginalized populations when broader notions of urban progress may see them displaced? These questions have been a prominent feature of my interest in pursuing the field of landscape architecture and planning.


In 2014 I completed my graduate thesis at the University of California, Berkeley for the Masters in City Planning and the Masters in Landscape Architecture. The intention of this concurrent thesis was to (1) investigate a topic that sits between urban planning and landscape architecture, and to (2) establish a foundational inquiry to later draw upon in professional practice; and eventually in a wider research practice. That essential question was to look at how one considers design within the context of a neighborhood with significant history and meaning to a demographic of people that are (for many reasons) leaving the area.


Thesis Committee:

Louise Mozingo  |  Professor and Department Chair, LAEP 

Walter Hood  |  Professor, LAEP

Elizabeth MacDonald  |  Professor, DCRP + LAEP



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