Thursday, October 8th, 2020 ︎ 4:00-6:00 pm

As fires continue to consume hundreds of thousands of acres along the west coast, and simultaneously affects air quality across the U.S., we invite you to an event to release the next installment of LA Forum’s pamphlet series.

The Wild, authored by Greg Kochanowski, explores the urban periphery of Los Angeles, where the city meets the mountains, a landscape inherently vulnerable to wildfire and its secondary and tertiary effects, including flash floods and debris flows. It seeks to document the policies that have incentivized growth at the exurban periphery and reveal the risks produced by the urbanization of the fire-adapted landscape. In so doing, it shows how urban planning and policy have failed to account for the risks inherent in Southern California’s unique landscape and highlights the hidden costs of exurban growth. Through a panel discussion with a diverse array of local, regional, and national leaders we will probe the political, economic, and environmental realities of these periurban environments, and explore the mechanisms through which the vulnerability of the urban periphery can be reduced using landscape management protocols, open space visions, equitable policies, and inventive infrastructure that adequately account for the temporal cycles of wildfire and debris flow in the Los Angeles area and beyond.


Anthony Fontenot, PhD., Woodbury University / LA Forum – Moderator

Anthony Fontenot is a Professor at Woodbury University School of Architecture and Board Member of the LA Forum for Architecture and Urban Design. He holds a professional Bachelor of Architecture degree from the University of Louisiana, a Master of Architecture degree from Southern California Institute of Architecture, and a Ph.D. in the history and theory of architecture at Princeton University. He was a recipient in 2009 and 2010 of the Fellowship of the Society of Woodrow Wilson Scholars at Princeton University and was awarded a Getty Fellowship for 2010-2011. He is the author of numerous publications including New Orleans Under Reconstruction: The Crisis of Planning (Verso, 2014). Fontenot’s interdisciplinary work has been exhibited at various venues including the Architecture Biennial in Venice, Documenta, the Netherlands Architecture Institute, the Storefront for Art and Architecture, and A + D Museum.

Greg Kochanowski, AIA / ASLA, Studio Director, RIOS – Author of ‘The Wild’

Greg is a licensed architect, aspiring landscape architect, and educator in the State of California. He has been practicing and teaching for over 25 years with projects spanning a wide array of scales, typologies, complexities, and disciplinary orientations. His work and research seek to holistically combine the techniques and strategies of architecture, landscape architecture, and urbanism to create unique, sustainable, forward thinking, equitable environments that build upon and enhance the specific qualities of a place. He co-leads RIOS’ Research Committee which explores new initiatives and thinking around transdisciplinary design. His current research focuses on resilient environments that create synergies between natural systems, culture, infrastructure, and development.

Greg’s work has been recognized and published nationally and internationally within all three disciplines – architecture, landscape, and urban design, and exhibited in both the Venice and Rotterdam Biennales, as well as other venues, and has received recognition from prominent organizations including the Young Architects Forum Award from the Architectural League of New York, AIA, ASLA, and AIACC. He has led education sessions at both the ASLA and AIA National Conventions focusing on the Wildland Urban Interface, and the fire, flood, debris flow weather cycles experienced in Southern California on a recurring basis. This research seeks to engage these unique challenges of climate change within the Western & Southwest United States, Australia, Central and South America, and globally.

Maria Estrada, Ph.D., Deputy Director Global Diversity Equity and Inclusion, The Nature Conservancy

Dr. Maria Estrada is the Deputy Director of Global Diversity Equity and Inclusion at the Nature Conservancy, where she is working to help TNC build strong relationships of trust and mutuality, internally and externally, to reach a diversity of partners. Maria is involved in her local community advocating for youth education through her volunteer work as a member of the Equity Leadership Team at the Salt Lake City School District. She came to the US from her native Colombia in 1988, graduated from Virginia Tech in 2001 and received her PhD from the Education, Culture, and Society Department at the University of Utah in 2009.

Alison Hirsch, FAAR, PH.D. USC Chair, Department of Landscape Architecture

Alison B. Hirsch, FAAR, is a landscape theorist, historian, and designer. Both her design and written work focus on how understanding cultural practices and social histories and memories can (and should) contribute to the design of meaningful places. She is co-founder of foreground design agency, a critical landscape practice whose work is both situated and speculative, operating in an intermediate space between practice and theory and the physical and representational ( Recipient of numerous recognitions, including prize-winners of the Pruitt Igoe Now competition, foreground provides Alison a platform to test her research in applied action. Prior to initiating her own practice, Alison worked in the design offices of W-Architecture and Landscape Architecture and James Corner Field Operations in New York City.

Travis Longcore, Ph.D., Ecologist, Director, The Urban Wildlands Group / UCLA

Dr. Travis Longcore is Associate Adjunct Professor at the UCLA Institute of Environment and Sustainability, Science, and Director of The Urban Wildlands Group (a Los Angeles-based conservation nonprofit), and an independent ecological design an environmental policy consultant. He has co-developed science-based habitat restoration programs and native plant nursery of coastal dune habitats, transferring their operation to nonprofit training for at-risk youth and young adults. Dr. Longcore has provided extensive expert commentary and analysis in dozens of cases for local, regional, and national organizations on issues as diverse as “towerkill” of migratory birds at communications towers, the proposed delisting of the Yellowstone population of grizzly bears, the ecological impacts of pesticides on birds, and numerous residential, recreational, and commercial projects.

Molly Peterson, KQED Science Reporter

Molly Peterson reports for KQED science and news on climate change, catastrophe, and risk. Previously she was environment correspondent at Southern California Public Radio. Her work has also appeared at The Guardian, on NPR, at High Country News, on Code Switch, and other national outlets. She has been honored with awards from Public Radio News Directors Incorporated, Investigative Reporters and Editors, the Society for Professional Journalists, the Los Angeles Press Club, and RTNDA Edward R. Murrow awards, among others.

Elisa Read, Horticulture Specialist, RIOS

Elisa is a horticultural specialist with a focus on sustainable firewise landscapes in Southern California. With her extensive knowledge of flora and fauna, she integrates a holistic approach to design focusing on all components of a site (from soil to wildlife) and its surrounding environment. Born in the Dominican Republic, she developed a love for exploring the intersection between nature, art and geometry that propelled her toward a career in architecture. Upon relocating to the U.S. her focus shifted to large-scale, high-end residential, and botanical garden projects. This focus provided her the opportunity to exercise detail-oriented design and botanical explorations. She’s well known in the nursery industry because of her insatiable thirst for plant knowledge and her passion for environmental sensitive design. Recently she has completed an education project with the Resource Conservation District of the Santa Monica Mountains. The project was part of a coalition of federal, state and local agencies, fire departments, researchers, and nonprofits that collaborated to create, a new website compiling best practices for home hardening and sustainable fire-wise landscaping in southern California, to help homeowners and residents sustainably improve fire resilience and resistance of homes to wildfire.

William Smith, AICP, Senior Planner, Wasco County, OR

Will Smith is the Senior Planner for Wasco County (outside of Portland, OR) where he oversees current planning. He received an M.A. in Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning from Tufts University and spent almost a decade as a wildland firefighter for the US Forest Service in Wyoming and Oregon prior to joining the team at Wasco County. His hazard planning experience includes leading the recent successful Natural Hazard Mitigation Plan update process and coordinating the Community Planning Assistance for Wildfire program’s work in Wasco County. His next project will be leading the Community Wildfire Protection Plan update later this year.

Registration includes access to the webinar as well as a copy of the book.

This event is sponsored by the LA Forum for Architecture and Design in collaboration with RIOS.
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