This in-progress topical project focuses on strategies for land-based climate change adaptation and mitigation.  The project developed a simple, easy to use tool based on the four ways that design projects can address climate change in order to scale up and speed climate action within SWA’s professional services.  With 700 projects a year, it is not feasible to pursue time intensive certification programs like LEED or SITES for all SWA projects.  This tool lowers the barriers to action for individual project teams, clients, and enables better firmwide annual goal tracking.  The tool is three tiered, with four impact areas, 20 sub-strategies, and multiple tactics that provide best-fit options.  These include both quantifiable design choices and those based on precedent, which have typically been excluded from sustainability accounting.  In addition, the tool is to be implemented at the start and end of each project for goal setting and accountability as part of a firmwide challenge to make every project a climate infrastructure project.  The team used literature review, existing certification programs, peer review, and case studies including resilience, net zero carbon, and performance-based sustainable options to inform the tool.  The project extends SWA’s work and research on climate change.


Anya Domlesky and Jonah Susskind, XL research and innovation Lab at SWA
Alejandra Hinojosa, SWA


Kristen DiStefano and Denay Kamdar, Atelier Ten
Chris Hardy, Sasaki
Pamela Conrad, Climate Positive Design
Natalia Beard and Andrew Watkins, SWA
Workshop participants from all eight sessions
Marco Esposito, Raymond Siu, Alison Ecker, Sergio Lima, Andrew Gressett, Ben Waldo, Elvis Wong, Sarah Fitzgerald, Shuyao Zhang, Guanyi Wang, Zhilan Song, and Paul Wehby, SWA


Digital Landscape Architecture Conference Keynote
“Hybrids: Designing for a Different Future”

American Institute of Architects (AIA) Conference on Architecture
“Integrating Climate Research into Design Practice”

University of Virginia Myles H. Thaler Public Lecture
“Enabling a Future-focused Practice in an Uncertain Age”

Cornell University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
“Affecting Landscape Performance with Material and Detail”

The Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London
Practice & Research Panel

Harvard University Graduate School of Design
Climate by Design lecture

ASLA Conference on Landscape Architecture
“Realizing Climate Action Ambitions: Pathways to Decarbonization”

NC State University College of Design
“Not All Green is Gold: Appearance and Performance in Scaling Up Climate Action”

10th Shanghai Landscape Forum

The Journal of Digital Landscape Architecture (JoDLA)
“Hybrids: Designing for a Different World”

International Federation of Landscape Architecture (IFLA) World Congress


Climate Infrastructure portfolio of example projects

Climate Infrastructure card deck (forthcoming)
Climate Infrastructure poster (forthcoming)
Climate Infrastructure quiz (forthcoming)