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ASLA-NY, AIA-Long Island : Remaking Urban Landscapes: Perspectives from Latin America


Tuesday, August 4, 2020 @ 6:00 pm EDT
Tuesday, August 4, 2020 @ 7:00 pm EDT


Start: Tuesday, August 4, 2020 @ 6:00 pm EDT
End: Tuesday, August 4, 2020 @ 7:00 pm EDT

The ASLA New York,  AIA Long Island and AIA New York Chapters are coming together for a presentation and panel discussion featuring Laura Mantilla Villa, former director of the Bogotá Botanical Garden, Luis Romahn, president and general director for the Parks of Mexico, and María Bellalta, ASLA, dean/faculty, School of Landscape Architecture at the Boston Architectural College.  

The panel will share experiences over the development of urban landscapes and will highlight the mechanisms for creating and sustaining these spaces, including funding structures, participatory design, planning and design implementation processes, as well as various maintenance principles.  With exemplary work derived from Mexico City, Mexico, Bogotá, and Medellín, Colombia, proven practices that transcend the traditional boundaries of landscapes impart valuable lessons by disclosing the innate relationship between urban development and geography, community engagement, and long-lasting cultural values.  The presenters share ideas and practices on new urban policy models that contribute to the wider city’s infrastructure, carefully integrating civic development for a renewed social environment.

Sponsored by ASLA-NY, AIA-Long Island, AIA-NY

1 LACES credit – approved


Laura Mantilla Villa is a professional architect in Bogotá, Colombia, with over twenty years of experience developing and managing projects in urban landscape design and environmental management.  She served for four years as the director of the Bogotá Botanical Garden José Celestino Mutis, the institution responsible for managing the city’s green coverage including all public trees, parks, gardens and open spaces.  While serving as director, she bolstered the city’s green footprint and helped position the Botanical Garden as a landscape entity in scientific research and “green tourism”.  

Earlier in her career, Ms. Mantilla Villa spent sixteen years in the private sector working with regional and national developers as well as construction companies combining her multi-disciplinary approach of architecture, landscape architecture and urban planning.  Prominent projects include the landscape design for public parks and private green spaces, such as for two of the public libraries in the City of Medellín, multi-family housing developments, the corporate headquarters of the Bogotá Water and Sewage Authority, and the Mario Laserna building for the Los Andes University.

Ms. Mantilla Villa holds a Bachelor’s degree in architecture from the Pontifical Xavierian University in Colombia, with a degree in urbanism from the Politechnical Foundation of Cataluña in Barcelona, Spain and master’s coursework in landscape architecture from the Architecture Higher Technical School in Barcelona.


Luis Romahn is president and founder of Parks of Mexico and of the National Association of Parks and Recreation Mexico. He has worked for the last nine years on urban parks and public open space planning­ in Mexico through models of participatory design, community building, and financial sustainability.

Out of a tremendous need to reshape the way in which public open spaces are developed in Mexico to provide a better quality of life for its citizens, Mr. Romahn was propelled to found the Parks of Mexico, an organization that focuses on the creation, development, operation and administration of public spaces by transforming the social environments, applying internationally successful models and pushing the boundaries beyond common uses of the public domain.  With the intention of helping to strengthen the parks and recreation industry in Mexico, Mr. Romahn founded the National Association of Parks and Recreation of Mexico, which currently works with the federal government and many states to strengthen the structures that manage public spaces and to promote education among its members.

Additionally, Mr. Romahn is responsible for organizing the International Congresses of Urban Parks of Mexico and South America, he is a member of the World Parks Academy board, a member of City Parks Alliance’s board of directors and a representative of the World Urban Parks in Mexico.  In recent years, Mr. Romahn has lectured on public spaces in Colombia, Peru, Argentina, Chile, Ecuador and the United States.  He is the author of the book “Building My Park – From Citizen Participation to the Administration of Public Space”, one of the first books about parks and public spaces in Spanish.  Mr. Romahn holds a Bachelor’s in marketing and a Master’s degree in education and communication, both from the Monterrey Institute of Technology, Mexico.


María Bellalta, ASLA, is dean and faculty, School of Landscape Architecture, Boston Architectural College (BAC), where she teaches design theory and interdisciplinary studios on social urbanism, with a focus on the emergence of Medellín, Colombia and developing cities in Latin America.  She holds academic collaborations in Latin America with Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana (UPB) in Medellín, and Centro Metropolitano de Arquitectura Sustentable (C+) in México City.  

Ms. Bellalta received her MLA from Harvard University, Graduate School of Design, with prior studies in environmental psychology at the University of Notre Dame.  She has held positions as design director with Martha Schwartz Partners, and designer with Sasaki and Copley Wolff Design Group.  She chairs the Committee on Education, American Society of Landscape Architects.  Her upcoming publication entitled Social Urbanism – Reframing Spatial Design/Discourses from Latin America, Applied Research & Design, will be released this fall 2020, offering an in-depth overview of Latin American urban development and of the geographical land value,  guiding the future imprint of the city while offering communities a more intrinsic rationale for meaningful progress.  Ms. Bellata is originally from Santiago, Chile.


Event will run from 6pm-7pm with additional time for questions.

CLICK HERE to register

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