Over the past several years, California has seen some of the deadliest and most destructive wildfire events in modern history. Experts caution that due to climate change, we have entered a new era of perennial megafires that will only become more destructive and costlier in the coming decades. While there are no easy solutions to these challenges, it is clear that landscape architects and urban designers have an important role to play. Today we are working on a handful of research projects that address landscape strategies for wildfire resilience in California, especially in the wildland-urban interface, or WUI. We have worked with the California Governor’s Office of Planning and Research, The Nature Conservancy, and students at California State Polytechnic, Pomona, and various other universities through our annual summer studio.


Jonah Susskind, XL research and innovation Lab at SWA
Alison Ecker, SWA, XL Lab
Molly Mowery, Community Wildfire Planning Center
Kelly Johnston, Community Wildfire Planning Center
Katie Oran, Community Wildfire Planning Center
Harrison Raine, University of California, Berkeley
Luis Mota, University of Southern California
Michele Totoy, Polytechnic University of Milan
Jin Zhang, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)
Slide Kelly, Harvard University
Tejas Saiyya, University of Michigan
Xinyi Zhang, University of Pennsylvania
Yuanqing Su, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign


Matt Damon, California Office of State Fire Marshal/CAL FIRE
Claire McCoy, California Board of Forestry and Fire Protection
Edith Hannigan, California Board of Forestry and Fire Protection
Kristen Shive, The Nature Conservancy
Elizabeth Hiroyasu, The Nature Conservancy
Jesus Abril, California State Polytechnic, Pomona
Lisa Du Russell, University of Michigan
Jim Heid, Urban Green Inc
Brian Oh, County of Sonoma
Tennis Wick, County of Sonoma
Adam Sharron, County of Sonoma
Joe Runco, John Wong, and Jack Wu, SWA
Thomas Azwell, University of California, Berkeley
Graham Wesolowski, Spatial Informatics Group—Natural Assets Laboratory
Anya Domlesky, XL research and innovation Lab at SWA


Governor’s Office of Planning and Research

LA+ Journal
“Centering the Fringe”

National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) Annual Conference
“Hot Topic: Integrating Wildfire Resilience into Parks, Trails and Open Spaces”

ASLA Conference on Landscape Architecture
“On the Edge: Merging Wildfire Research and Design in Reimagining Frontline Communities”

Designing for Fire-prone Landscapes

SWA Summer Studio
California Burning: Designing with Wildfire (research section pages 18-35)


California Governor’s Office of Planning and Research
Wildland-Urban Interface Planning Guide: Examples and Best Practices for California Communities

The Nature Conservancy white paper (forthcoming)