American Society of Landscape Architects Professional Award of Excellence in Research Won by Samantha Solano

Samantha Solano, an assistant professor of landscape architecture at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, was recently awarded the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) Professional Award of Excellence in Research. The ASLA Professional Award of Excellence in Research recognizes research that identifies and investigates challenges posed in landscape architecture, providing results that advance the body of knowledge for the profession.

Solano was honored for her work on the Visualizing Equity in Landscape Architecture (VELA) Project, the first visual database to compare gender representation over time and location in the field of landscape architecture. The VELA Project is a research initiative that reveals, spatializes, and acknowledges the status of gender equity throughout landscape architecture. Over 20 years have passed since the last report documenting women’s careers in landscape architecture, and the issues raised then are similar to many problems women face now. To understand why these disparities still exist and the gaps associated with them, the VELA project offers a current review of women’s status in both academia and the profession. The research collected over 17,000 unique data points from multiple public sources, and its analysis organizes the data into a series of robust visualizations that catalog current trends and highlight opportunities to improve gender equity in the profession.

Solano teaches graduate and undergraduate studios and advanced representation courses and is a licensed landscape architect. She previously taught at her undergraduate alma mater, the University of Nevada Las Vegas. Solano holds a master of landscape architecture degree from the Harvard University Graduate School of Design.

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