Olmsted: Bicentennial Perspectives
The Harvard University Graduate School of Design, in partnership with the Arnold Arboretum, will host a two-day academic conference as part of the national Olmsted 200 celebration. The conference consists of six panels composed of scholars from a variety of disciplines engaged in critical research on both new and familiar areas of Olmsted study. National parks, suburban subdivisions, world’s expositions, battlefields, dispossessed communities, family homesteads, English gardens, slave states, city parks, scenic parkways, forests, and swamps are but some of the sites and scenes that will be examined from a diversity of perspectives. TCLF President Charles Birnbaum will present "The Road to the Olmsted Renaissance." Diving deep into the meaning of the Olmsted renaissance, Birnbaum’s lecture will conclude with a call to action for the next generation of researchers, educators and designers, recognizing that the deeper they go, the more relevant Olmsted’s legacy becomes.
It is time again to reconsider the image of this representative American. America has changed, and so too have its (shared?) notions of greatness, of identity, and certainly its understanding of the varied historical sources of environmentalism. To what ideas do we remain dedicated in this, the year of Olmsted’s bicentennial? The story of Olmsted is perhaps no longer so simple; arguably it is more relevant than ever.