This past week at the ASLA Conference on Landscape Architecture in Nashville, Mary Alice Lee, Hon. ASLA, Director of the NYC Playgrounds Program received the prestigious Olmsted Medal for her for environmental leadership, vision, stewardship and inspiring the next generation of environmental designers.
Since 1996, the Trust for Public Land’s NYC Playgrounds Program (TPL) has built more than 214 green playgrounds, making it possible for more than 4.2 million New Yorkers for the first time to live within ten minutes of a playground, throughout the five boroughs. Collaborating with students, community leaders, and the NYC Department of Environmental Protections, and other organizations, the TPL program managed to transform scores of barely used asphalt schoolyards into highly popular community hubs. A hallmark to this initiative has been TPL’s commitment to “green” practices, designed to conserve natural resources and increasing resiliency, reduce flooding, improve the environment, and address climate change. Throughout the planning phase of each school’s playground redesign, the students themselves have had a “seat at the table,” empowering them to voice their opinions and take “ownership” of the building of each playground.