2021 Master of Landscape Architecture Capstone Presentations

April 29, 2021

On May 6 and 7, 2021, the Department of Landscape Architecture will host capstone presentations for the Master of Landscape Architecture Class of 2021. Members of the public are invited to watch the presentations. View the presentation schedule and learn about the capstones that will be presented below.

All presentations will be viewable at this Zoom link at the date and time listed next to the student's name and presentation title. All times are central. A big thank you to all of our reviewers!

Thursday, May 6 | 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM

Reviewers: Kerry Huang and Heidi Hohmann

10:00 AM | Kyle Franta—Ceding Control, Inviting Care; Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota

In what is now Minneapolis/St. Paul, wild rice—Zizania palustris, manoomin, psin—once thrived within the Mississippi River. This natural grain provided a culturally significant and stable food source for Dakota and Anishinabe people. It existed as a key species that provided food and habitat to a diverse range of animals and cleaned water while stabilizing sediment. But this grass no longer exists along this stretch of the Mississippi River. With western colonization came commodification of the land. The river was channelized, dammed, hardened, and dredged, and exploitation overcame care. This project looks to wild rice as the pinpoint of change. An indicator of time and place, of climate change, culture, and ecology. This natural grain can be understood to get to know a place, to understand different cultures and perspectives—both human and more than human—and to understand possible futures. Can wild rice be welcomed back to the urban Mississippi River?

11:00 AM | Isaac Hase-Raney—Putting the Lawn to Rest: Rethinking Perpetual Care Practices for Historic Urban Cemeteries; Crystal Lake Cemetery, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Cemeteries in American cities are reaching capacity and as a result are facing the slow-moving dilemma of long-term care once regular income has ceased. Many cemeteries have perpetual care funds for this reason, but a key feature of perpetual care is the assumption that cemeteries will remain lawn-garden landscapes in perpetuity. With changes in perpetual care financial resilience, in climate, in popular preferences for sacred landscapes, and in stakeholder groups, what are more sustainable alternatives for the long-term upkeep of these vast spaces?

Thursday, May 6 | 1:00 – 3:00 PM

Reviewers: Mary Lydecker and Martin Holland

1:00 PM | Sonali Devarajan—Nomadic Ecologies: Exploring relationships to soil with diaspora gardeners in Detroit; Detroit, Michigan

With fellow diaspora gardeners in Detroit, this presentation examines the relationship between ancestral knowledge and new strategies for relating to land, through the lens of soil conservation. In a city primarily perceived as plagued by scarcity and in need of revitalization, how can these strategies offer more accurate perspectives of abundance through relationships that inform design processes?

2:00 PM | Lauren Arndt—Kenin: A rediscovery of the movements and spaces of our everyday lives; Minneapolis, Minnesota & everywhere 

We all have bodies, yes? But we often forget how wonderful they are, and on a deeper level how they make us who we are, how they connect with other people and how they build the human experience around us. It is our individual experiences, perceptions, and stories that build the places we move through. Kenin is a rediscovery of these movements and spaces that make up our everyday lives using our own bodies and lovely imaginations, with the goal of bringing a little more appreciation for our own selves and empathy for those we share spaces with.

Friday, May 7 | 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM

Reviewers: Kerry Huang and Heidi Hohmann

10:00 AM | David Hedding—Green Loops: Reimagining the Streets of Riyadh; Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has bold visions for the city of Riyadh over the next ten years. With recent dramatic shifts to the socio-cultural landscape and the pending threat of climate change to permanently alter modes of energy consumption and natural disaster planning, Riyadh stands poised to reinvent itself as a leader in sustainable urban design. By connecting neighborhoods via vegetated, pedestrian, and bicycle friendly streets, Riyadh can address challenges like stormwater management, urban heat island effect, and habitat degradation, while creating a human-scale public realm for all people that promotes a healthy, active, and engaged community.

11:00 AM | Evan Furr—Bdé Zitkádan: Reimagining Kraemer open pit mine as a wildlife reserve; Burnsville, Minnesota 

Open pit mines are vital in the implementation and upkeep of public infrastructure and building projects. When a mine reaches “end of life”, alternate uses of the land come into play. Kraemer Mining and Materials in Burnsville is currently exploring these options as depletion of useful material is expected by 2040 causing mine closure. Pumps that once kept the pit dry will shut down and the surrounding water table to rebound; this will convert the mine to a lake. How can the past landscape be honored while embracing the future? Can created aquatic conditions support desired ecologies for plant and wildlife?  

Friday, May 7 | 1:00 – 4:00 PM

Reviewers: Eric Prince, Sara Jacobs, and Martin Holland

1:00 PM | Kendra Klenz—Future Relationships: Plastic-Driven Citizen Science in the Grand Trunk Wetland; Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Plastic: it is within bodies and the fossil record; it is a vector for contaminants and can alter species relationships. Uncontained, plastic often makes its way into waterways: 22 million pounds of plastic enter Lake Michigan each year. At the mouth of the Kinnickinnic River, in the most urbanized watershed in Wisconsin, lies an inlet and wetland, which have been contaminated and reshaped over time through industry and fill. Here, collaborative inquiry (citizen science) is proposed as a method to understand how plastic moves through land, water, and bodies while simultaneously building and complicating a freshwater identity that Milwaukee promotes. Rather than cleanup or mitigation, this project proposes a public approach to testing and seeing plastic as an actor within the landscape.

2:00 PM | Jordan Hedlund—Re-stitching the Minneapolis Grid at 10 West Lake Street; Minneapolis, Minnesota 

The 10-acre K-mart that dead-ends Nicollet Avenue in South Minneapolis is considered one of the worst planning mistakes in Minneapolis history. In 2020, the city finally took the last step in owning the property and the land and bought out the remaining years of the lease. Today the question remains, how will this once-in-a-generation project get re-stitched into the urban grid?

3:00 PM | Tyler Smith—Lost on Cypress; Atlanta, Georgia

Queer bodies, much like other marginalized bodies, experience public space in a way that is different from what has traditionally been at the center of theoretical understandings and teachings of design and architecture. The goal of this project is to foster an understanding how historically queer approaches to space—especially through looking at typologies of cruising grounds, bars, and bathhouses—can really begin to be understood as radical reorganizational strategies with regards to public space. By positioning a pleasure garden at the nexus of many of Atlanta’s lost queer spaces, this project hopes to investigate the ways in which the visual, spatial, and experiential language of queer pleasure can help to better conceptualize more revolutionary approaches to public space. 

Early interaction with nature has been proven to increase childrens’ capacity for creativity, critical concentration skills, and relationship building.

Our planet’s changing climate will radically transform not only our landscapes but the industries that have developed around them. In her capstone, M.L.A. student Rachel Valenziano explores how to redevelop areas of the Louisiana coastline that are currently used by the oil and gas industry.

Join students, faculty, and staff at the College of Design for final presentations and reviews showcasing design projects and research from our various disciplines.