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Cultivating Place: Mia Lehrer And Urban Landscapes

We all know that human development impacts nature, and that the most developed of human spaces — cities — without any nature in them, negatively impacts humans. Since the very beginnings of the fields of landscape architecture and public planning, there have been designers, builders, thinkers and dreamers who have worked to interweave nature — its sense of green, of refuge, or peace — into these otherwise very inorganic areas, for the benefit of both the ecological world and the benefit of humans. Think of Frederick Law Olmstead’s work in New York’s Central Park and many, many other urban parks across the country at the turn of the 19th century. To varying degrees of success, generations of landscape architects since Olmstead have carried the torch.

One of our generation’s leading lights in this work of bringing nature home to our urban areas is Mia Lehrer. Mia is the founding principal of Los Angeles-based Mia Lehrer + Associates, whose garden design work – particularly in urban environments – embodies her belief in the power of landscape to enhance the livability of a city and to heal the environment. Her award-winning work includes the Nature Gardens at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County in the heart of downtown LA. 

This captivating conversation went too long for our on-air program. Hear the extended version below.

Hear the extended version of Mia Lehrer's 5/19/16 conversation.

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Jennifer Jewell is the creator and host of the national award-winning, weekly public radio program and podcast, Cultivating Place: Conversations on Natural History & the Human Impulse to Garden, Jennifer Jewell is a gardener, garden writer, and gardening educator and advocate. Particularly interested in the intersections between gardens, the native plant environments around them, and human culture, she is the daughter of garden and floral designing mother and a wildlife biologist father.