2023 Master of Landscape Architecture Capstone Presentations

April 28, 2023

On May 4 and 5, 2023, Landscape Architecture will host capstone presentations for the Master of Landscape Architecture Class of 2023. All presentations will be held in Rapson Hall, Room 225, and are open to the public. This year's guest reviewers are David Rubin, founding principal of DAVID RUBIN Land Collective, and Kelly Homan, assistant professor of landscape architecture at Auburn University.

Thursday, May 4

9:00 AM | Tessa Rugg —“Measure, Remeasure, Remake” | Mendota Heights, MN

The profession of landscape architecture uses tools to measure the sustainability impacts of our designs, including LEED, Pathfinder, and Sites. What happens when we use the tools on a built project and see possibilities and gaps between the tools to design more sustainably?

10:00 AM | Peyton Going — “Beavers, Water, & Landscape: Developing an Urban Eco-Corridor along Bassett Creek” | Minneapolis, MN

Stream restoration and constructed wetlands are an increasing part of landscape architectural practice—and emerging practice is asking how we can work with other species to create healthy, biodiverse, and resilient ecosystems. In this case, working with beavers as eco-engineers to rewild cities and invite people to engage with “messy” landscapes.

11:00 AM | Nate Holmes — “An Old/New Way Forward: A Plants-Focused MLA Curriculum” | St. Paul Campus, University of Minnesota

Landscape architecture’s relationship to plants has varied greatly since the professions beginnings as landscape gardening. Plants are key to healthy life on earth. What happens when we take this as a key mandate of MLA education?

1:00 PM | Leilen Farias — “The EcoCommons: A Call for Landscape Activation” | St. Paul Campus, University of Minnesota

The St. Paul Campus is poised for a thorough transformation of its built environment. There is currently a need to activate campus landscapes and embrace their full potential. How can the landscape be seen as important, if not more important, to buildings in campus landscapes?

2:00 PM | Chunyan Liang — “Boston’s Last Salt Marsh” | Boston, MA

How can Boston’s last surviving salt marsh be protected from sea level rise? What strategies can be proposed to create dynamic, healthy ecosystems balanced with new proposed development?

3:00 PM | Ethan Ridgewell — “Bringing Home the Bison” | Rosemount, MN

Millions of bison used to graze the prairies across the Great Plains. The genocide of bison, prairie, and the indigenous people who depended on both are all linked. This project proposes a new way of using University of Minnesota agricultural land to begin to rebuild these broken relationships.

Friday, May 5

9:00 AM | Rikka Wangsnes — “Let’s Go to the Mall (Again)” | Southdale Center, Edina, MN

The American shopping mall was born when Southdale Center was built, and its existence has shaped urban and suburban sprawl throughout the decades. This project examines how we can create vibrant suburban hubs by reconnecting, retrofitting, reprogramming, and redesigning the current mall.

10:00 AM | Ziwen Cheng — “Deep Green: A New Park for the Industrial Zone” | Minneapolis, MN

In one of the “grayest” parts of the city, meaning a place dominated by parking lots, streets, and industrial buildings, a new park offers a deeply biophilic and unusual respite from the “gray”.

11:00 AM | Sophie Gallandat — “Service in Action” | Mpls–St. Paul and Potentially Everywhere

What happens when a graduating MLA student reflects on her education through the lens of environmental justice and decides to dedicate her capstone in service to others? The project created a working relationship with an environmental justice class from a local liberal arts college and will report back from this work.

1:00 PM | Claire Hilton — “Industrial Remix” | Minneapolis, MN

A unique neighborhood within the oldest neighborhood in Minneapolis is poised for reinvention. This project envisions an emerging arts hub with new rail connections, fewer cars, and amplified street life for pedestrians and bikes. Parks and flexible community spaces create destinations.

2:00 PM | Sam Phipps — “With What Remains” | Pig’s Eye Regional Park, St. Paul, MN

A park with a landfill and other toxins has attracted many ideas for reclamation, with the most famous one being the first field testing of phytoremediation: a collaboration between artist Mel Chin and Rufus Cheney, PhD. This site and this project inspire this capstone project on the emerging science and art of mycoremediation—the role that fungi plays in healthy ecosystems.

3:00 PM | Connor McManus — “A Blueway for the Post-Parking Downtown” | Minneapolis, MN

This master planning project envisions how downtown Minneapolis can leverage autonomous transportation to reclaim excessive parking infrastructure for downtown life, human and non-human alike. The climate-adaptive plan envisions downtown’s girdle of parking as a lush, water-stewarding “blueway” around which new mixed-use housing will develop, connecting Loring Park to the Mississippi River.

On May 5 and 6, 2022, the Department of Landscape Architecture will host capstone presentations for the Master of Landscape Architecture Class of 2022. Members of the public are invited to attend. View the presentation schedule and learn about the capstones that will be presented below.

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.

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.