This topical program focuses on current issues in urbanism, landscape, and design as it seeks to re-examine the scope and boundaries of the field. The annual program funds SWA employee projects that expand the discipline, create new knowledge, or generate insights. The fellowship was established by SWA in 2007 in memory of Patrick T. Curran, a young, talented landscape architect who passed away. The fellowship embodies the ethos that directed much of Patrick’s research at SWA: conservation of resources, innovation at the planning scale, habitat creation and preservation, technology in design, ecological process in the urban context and sustainability. Past fellowship projects have employed a variety of methodologies. XL research and innovation Lab facilitates the current program and supports proposals that use research as a tool to foster ideas, introduce new research themes, or to critique current modalities and positions, with the ultimate goal of advancing thought leadership in the fields of landscape architecture, urban design, and planning.


Ozan Sen, SWA “Invasive Species: Networks, Gadgets, and Commons in the Digitized Landscape” 2024

Alison Ecker, SWA “Collectively SWA: Embracing and Elevating SWA’s Culture of Employee Ownership” 2024

Liqiu Xu, SWA “Artificially Natural: The Playbook for Transformative Landscape Design Using AI” 2023
Experimented with more than a dozen AI tools applied to each design phase from site analysis to 3-d printing.

Shi Chen, Yaxin Cao, Wenjing Fang, and Jerry Shang, SWA “AI in Landscape Architecture” 2023
Developed a series of proprietary AI models trained on SWA drawings and explored integration of AI technology into the design process.

Tamaki Inahata, SWA “Capabilities of AI Technologies for Future Design” 2023
Explored the potential impacts of AI technologies on physical spaces–retail, transportation, and workplace.

Nandi Yang, SWA and Xun Liu, University of Virginia “The Generative Nature: Artificial Intelligence in Ecosystem Generation” 2023
Developed a tool to generate large scale planting plans through a combination of human expertise, parametric tools, statistical AI, and generative AI.

Mariana Ricker “SWA Guide to Decarbonize Design: A Workflow Approach” 2023
Developed a phase-by-phase guide to designing out carbon from landscape architecture projects, focused on embodied carbon.

Weston Henry, SWA “Addressing Global Biodiversity Loss: A Guide for Landscape Architects” 2023
Surveyed leading experts on biodiversity and synthesized principles to apply to design work.

Andrew Gressett and Elvis Wong, SWA “[RE] Process: Rethinking Digital Tools for a Modern Landscape Practice” 2022
Experimented with script-based algorithms to consolidate and restructure digital workflows across design software.

Lei Wu, SWA “An SWA Atlas of Public Engagement” 2022
Surveyed landscape architects and planners to better understand best practices for digital and in-person public engagement.

Adam Scott and Olivia Pinner, SWA “Futuretense: Indicator Geographies for Future Practice” 2021
Investigated three types of oil infrastructure using three US sites to understand the landscape implications for eventual decarbonization.

Shimin Cao, SWA with Xun Liu, University of Virginia and Waishan Qiu, Cornell University “Streetscape Creator” 2021
Prototyped an analytic and design tool harnessing artificial intelligence technology for enhancing downtown walkability.

Kelly Mathiesen, SWA “Traversed Landscapes: Quantifying the Urban Trail Experience” 2021
Surveyed users at five nationally significant multi-use trails to better understand the differing needs and preferences of runners and cyclists.

Elvis Wong, SWA “Flux Landscapes: Prototyping Riverine & Coastal Edge Typologies for Urban Resilience” 2019
Prototyped and tested edge designs using computational fluid dynamics modeling.

Andrew Gressett, SWA “Auditory Landscapes: Using Sound as a Design Medium” 2019
Investigated biophonic, geophonic, and anthropophonic sound and its perception on 37 sites in 3 cities.

Sam (Yu-Sheng) Dent, SWA “Guardian of the Ocean: Landscape Strategies to Protect Oceans from Plastic Waste” 2019
Developed strategies and site designs to address plastic waste inputs to waterways and drainage infrastructure upstream.

Kerri Da Silva, Amna Ansari, Alina Plyusnina, and Michael Robinson, SWA “Unwon” 2019
Explored the premise that success is a lousy teacher and re-framed design competitions as investments in developing new thinking and design strategies.

Han Fu and Qiaoqi Dai, SWA “Turn off the Sunshine: Shade Equity in the City of Los Angeles” 2019
Investigated the importance of shade infrastructure, the causes of inequity, and strategies for increasing shade in landscape design.

Elvis Wong, SWA “Simulating Ecologies: Leveraging Hydrodynamic Modeling for Resiliency Planning and Design” 2018
Experimented with hydrodynamic modeling software to assess feedback on design performance.

Michael Robinson, SWA “Extramedium: Methods of Infrastructure as Public Space” 2017
Explored ways to use infrastructure corridors as public realm spaces in two cities.

Anya Domlesky, SWA and Emily Schlickman, SWA “XL: Experiments in Landscape and Urbanism” 2016
Established XL Lab, the firm wide lab for practice-based research and innovation, in a pilot phase.

George Kutnar, SWA “LArch VIS (Landscape Architectural Visualization)” 2016
Experimented with methods to incorporate motion graphics and virtual reality into concept design.

Anya Domlesky, SWA “The Rise of Practice-Based Research in Design” 2015
Developed six case studies looking at a range of ways practice-based research is produced.

Emily Schlickman, SWA “Traces of SWA” 2015
Surveyed the raw early drawings and hand sketches from SWA projects to document the design process.

Katie Jenkins, SWA “Watermark: Notes from the California Aqueduct” 2014
Investigated the California State Water Project through visual and written documentation.

Amanda Kronk, SWA “Wildlife Infrastructure” 2014
Developed a tool for designers to layer bird habitat onto infrastructural corridors and designed sites.

Chuhan Zhang, SWA and Xiwei Zhang, SWA “Re-imagining Playgrounds” 2014
Developed a design toolkit for playscapes, an alternative to cookie-cutter, risk-free playgrounds.

Justin Winters, SWA and Chris Hardy, SWA “Eco Corridors” 2013
Explored integrated strategies for sustainable urban design focusing on contributions to the public landscape.

Jean Pierre Casillas, SWA and Shannon Scovell, SWA “Art for Public Spaces: Why Do Cities Need Public Art?” 2013
Developed Art for Public Spaces, a tool describing art commissioning for public and private entities.

Zhongwei Li, SWA “Garbage Landscape” 2013
Explored solid waste production and projected landfill conversion into parks around Beijing.

Andrew Watkins, SWA “Social Entrepreneurship” 2012
Explored models of designing for the urban population explosion in the developing world.

Ji Hyun Yoo, SWA and Yu-Peng Hu, SWA “SWAapp and Place APP” 2012
Developed an app to enable the finding and guided experience of SWA-designed landscapes and spaces.

Shuang Yu, SWA “Material Research in China” 2012
Developed a database for landscape materials in China, focusing on local and traditional materials.

Zane Busbee, SWA “Graphic Library” 2012
Developed a digital catalog for graphic resources.

Alec Hawley, SWA and Michael Hee, SWA “Material Reuse” 2012
Developed a resource to streamline the sourcing and use of reusable materials, a more sustainable choice.

Youngmin Kim, SWA “Beyond the Green Myth” 2012
Revisited established sustainable planning and design methods to incorporate new scientific knowledge.

Mandana Parvinian, SWA and Don Xu, SWA “Digital: Real” 2012
Explored methods of translating complex 3D forms into technical drawings and fabrication.

Pavel Petrov, SWA “Buffalo Bayou Bliss” 2012
Produced a documentary film on the Houston Bayou waterway network.

Judy Qu, SWA “Urban Villages” 2012
Explored changes in the urban villages of Guangzhou through fieldwork and case studies.

Huicheng Zhong, SWA “Hope Initiative” 2012
Furthered a pro-bono effort in Sichuan Province with volunteer youth.

Josselyn Ivanov, SWA “Health and the Build Environment” 2011
Developed a resource that identifies ten ways to mitigate effects from a sedentary lifestyle through design.

Amirah Shahid, SWA “What is the Role of the Bicycle in China?” 2011
Explored the role of cycle transport in mainland China through an 800 km route on national and local roads.

Alex Robinson, SWA “Urban Heat Islands” 2009
Surveyed conferences, current literature, and case studies on countermeasures to combat urban heat island effect.

Matt Baumgarten and Julia Mandell, SWA “Carbon Sequestration: The Next Big Thing?” 2009
Surveyed the science of carbon absorption by biologic processes, policy landscape, and implementation in land-based design.

J. Lee Stickles, SWA “Mapping San Francisco Waterfront” 2008
Explored the San Francisco waterfront by mapping economic, cultural, and environmental transformations.

Leah Hales, SWA “Production Manual” 2008
Developed an updated manual on procedures and protocols related to drawing set production.

Sergio Lima, SWA “Middle East Plant Database” 2008
Developed a card database of plants well suited to designed sites in the UAE through performance assessment.

Ellen Burke, SWA “Urban Agriculture” 2007
Developed ten case studies on sites that create or preserve active farmland in urban areas.