This speculative project addressed key spatial challenges related to urban planning and design within the context of increasingly wildfire-prone rural landscapes. The topical project identified community-scale design strategies for mitigating risk and increasing resilience within and around the Town of Paradise California, which was destroyed by fire in 2018. In partnership with community leaders, the project envisioned a series of wildfire buffering schemes designed to leverage the co-benefits of wildland fuels reduction, high-value agricultural production, renewable energy, and recreational programming. The team used GIS software to delineate a strategic opportunity zone around the Town of Paradise where prescribed burning and other wildfire mitigation strategies would be most effective. This project continues SWA’s research and design engagement with wildfire-prone landscapes in California.


Jonah Susskind, XL research and innovation Lab at SWA
Alison Ecker, Sergio Lima, and Kapp Singer, SWA


Dan Efseaff, Paradise Recreation & Park District
Megan Barnes, Landscape Architecture Foundation
Gerdo Aquino, Ying-yu Hung, Joe Runco, Andrew Watkins, Natalia Beard, Sean O’Malley, and Jeremy Klemic, SWA
Anya Domlesky, XL research and innovation Lab at SWA
Deanne DiPietro, Conservation Biology Institute
Weitzman School of Design McHarg Center for Urbanism and Ecology, University of Pennsylvania
The Center for Resilient Cities and Landscapes (CRCL), Columbia University
The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA)
The Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture (CELA)


Fast Company
Winner: World Changing Ideas Award in Urban Design
Honorable Mention: World Changing Ideas Award in Climate

Grounding the Green New Deal: A Summit on Design, Policy, and Advocacy
LAF Summit Exhibition, National Building Museum

Landscape Architecture Magazine
Year of the Superstudio: Global Problems Meet Regional Politics in the Field’s Most Ambitious Venture in a Century

Green New Deal Superstudio Curated Project Showcase: Adapt
“Edge of Paradise: Landscape Strategies for Living with Fire”

The Field, The American Society of Landscape Architects Professional Practice Networks’ Blog
Community Scale Wildfire Mitigation for Paradise, California

Landscape Architecture Foundation Webinar
Wildfires and Landscape Strategies for Jobs, Justice, and Decarbonization

Council for Watershed Health: Wildfire Symposium
“The Edge of Paradise: Landscape Strategies for Living with Fire”

Harvard University Graduate School of Design, Climate By Design core graduate course
“Built to Burn: Climate Change, Forest Management, and Wildfire in the American West”

University of Southern California (USC)
Advanced Research Studio

Texas Tech University
Expecting Uncertainty: A Toolkit for a Restless Climate

“A New Approach to Wildfire Resilience: Property Buy Backs, Fire Resistant Parks”