University of Southern California School of Architecture appointed associate professor Alison Hirsch as the new director of the Master of Landscape Architecture + Urbanism program, effective August 2019.
As a landscape theorist, designer, and historian, Hirsch’s work focuses on how the interpretation of sociocultural practices and marginalized histories and memories can contribute to the design of meaningful urban places. Her research areas include: cultural landscapes; spatial politics of landscape architecture; contested urban landscapes; activist design methods; practices of representation; and landscape’s intersections with performance and choreography.
Last month, Hirsch won her second Graham Foundation grant for Landscape and “the Working Country”: Food Justice and Landscape Ethics in California’s Central Valley, focusing on the confluence of land, labor, transcultural settlement, mobility, and agriculture in the lower San Joaquin Valley. Her 2013 grant, resulted in City Choreographer: Lawrence Halprin in Urban Renewal America book.
In addition to serving on the USC Architecture faculty since 2013, Hirsch also is the co-founder of the award-winning Foreground Design Agency and a writer. She is the co-editor of a book of essays by James Corner, titled The Landscape Imagination, and is currently working on a book titled The Performative Landscape. Hirsch previously taught landscape architecture theory and design at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design, University of Virginia and University of Toronto. She also was a 2017-2018 Prince Charitable Trusts/Rolland Rome Prize Fellow at the American Academy in Rome. Hirsch received her Master’s of Landscape Architecture, Master’s of Historic Preservation and Ph.D. in Architecture from the University of Pennsylvania.
“It’s an honour to step into the role of director of our Master of Landscape Architecture + Urbanism program,” stated Hirsch. “I see this position as an opportunity to shape a program embedded in the environmental complexities of our region, and as a model of what landscape architectural education can be, particularly in terms of issues of climate justice and sociocultural equity.”