An LGBTQIA+ Conversation in Landscape Architecture

Clockwise from top left: Sam Dent, ASLA; Kelley Oklesson, ASLA, at Contee Parago Triangle Park in Baltimore / image: Peter Hoblitzell; Jordan Chiang, Assoc. ASLA / image: Carolina Montero, EDSA; Cheri Ruane, FASLA / image: Farah Dakkak; Max Dickson, OLIN / image: Lily Snyder

From the June issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine and its featured story on nine queer landscape designers to yesterday’s webinar, Queer Emergence, to social media, ASLA’s celebration of Pride Month is well underway. Throughout June, ASLA is sharing profiles of LGBTQIA+ landscape architects for Pride Month and to promote LGBTQIA+ visibility and acceptance in the landscape architecture and architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) professions. In case you missed any of these profiles from social media, we are recapping them here on The Field.

The set of profiles below feature the panelists from ASLA’s June 12 webinar, Queer Emergence: An LGBTQIA+ Conversation in Landscape Architecture, which was inspired by an event at LABash 2023 at Kansas State University. The intention of this panel session was to open discussion on greater queer representation in landscape architecture—understanding the strengths and challenges of being a queer professional, and how this can inform not only LGBTQIA+ individuals, but all landscape architectural professionals. Topics covered include “why did it take us so long,” “how are we presenting in our work,” “the importance of networking,” and “what’s next.” The panel consisted of five queer professionals at different stages of their careers, to capture a portion of the diverse experiences of LGBTQIA+ individuals in landscape architecture.

Cheri Ruane, FASLA
Vice President and Design Discipline Leader, Weston & Sampson

How did you find your way into landscape architecture?

I worked for my cousin’s landscape contracting firm in high school and met someone going to UMass for landscape architecture and learned about it at age 15.

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