Pride Month Profiles, Part 2

Clockwise from top left: Natalia Bezerra / image: Caroline Kemp; Matthew Mitsuaki Higa, Associate ASLA; Margot McLaughlin, Associate ASLA / image: Carrie Miller; Shawn Balon, ASLA / image: Kim Peters; Alyssa Gill; Arturo Merino, ASLA

ASLA’s celebration of Pride Month continues on The Field as we share a second set of landscape architect profiles to promote LGBTQIA+ visibility and acceptance in the landscape architecture and architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) professions. Last week’s post highlighted the panelists from ASLA’s June 12 webinar, Queer Emergence: An LGBTQIA+ Conversation in Landscape Architecture: Cheri Ruane, FASLA, Kelley Oklesson, ASLA, Max Dickson, Jordan Chiang, Assoc. ASLA, and Sam Dent, ASLA.

Today, we’re sharing the next set of profiles, of Natalia Bezerra, Matthew Mitsuaki Higa, Associate ASLA, Alyssa Gill, Arturo Merino, ASLA, Margot McLaughlin, Associate ASLA, and Shawn Balon, ASLA.

Natalia Bezerra

How has being a member of the LGBTQIA+ community influenced your work in landscape architecture?

As a queer woman, I often think about how people from different backgrounds and experiences, especially those who are “othered” in society, can connect to a place and feel heard during the design process. Marginalization can occur when designers and developers disregard the needs of communities. I started my career working in community design and realized the importance of connecting with communities as your authentic self…finding common ground and interests among groups who are underserved, lack the capacity or funding to seek design and planning services. By actively listening to community groups, I learned to be an advocate for their needs in addition to being a designer. Diversity and inclusion should always be at the forefront of landscape architecture and any discipline that serves the public realm.

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