Martha Schwartz, DSc, FAAR, FASLA, Hon FRIBA, Hon RDI is a landscape architect and artist with major interests in cities, communities and the urban landscape. Her work spans from site-specific art installations to working with cities at strategic planning levels. Her focus is on environmental sustainability and the creation of awareness about how the urban landscapes underwrites urban sustainability through functioning as the connective platform for a city’s environmental, social and economic health. Schwartz is an advocate for how cities can help to reduce climate change and support a more sustainable approach to diminishing resources. Schwartz continues her devotion to the built environment through pushing new boundaries and expressions as a designer. She understands design as a method through which to create social buy-in and the creation of value for public spaces. She believes that sustainability begins with a landscape-based master-plan that will enable the specific design of spaces while ensuring that the ground plane functions environmentally for flora, fauna and people. She strongly believes that sustainability is created through design and the creation of identity and a sense of place as our landscape helps to differentiate ourselves in an ever-growing uniformity of place as a result of globalization.
Pliny Fisk III, Co-Founder and Co-Director of Center for Maximum Potential Building Systems, the oldest sustainable design, planning, research and educational firm in the US. With a background in architecture, landscape architecture, and the systems sciences, Pliny has made pivotal contributions in the areas of policies, prototcols, and prototypes. His prototypes challenge conventional wisdom about building system design, engineering, and materials, and have been implemented for a range of clientele and in iconic architecture: The State Demonstration Farm in Laredo; The State Green Building Demonstration Home, recognized as one of the top 10 green buildings in the world in Architect Magazine. The Center’s protocols and policies offer new models for economic development, landscape architecture, and planning at site through national scale. He helped shape the world’s first Green Building Program, the first nationwide IO/LCA/GIS model. He has helped green the White House, the US Pentagon, and helped establish the USGBC LEED rating system. Pliny’s work has earned several national and international awards including the Lewis Mumford Award, The Earth Summit Award in Rio, the U.S. Green Building Council’s Sacred Tree award, and The Passive Solar Pioneer Award. Pliny has served as an advisor to the MacArthur, Gates, and Enterprise Foundations and was chosen to serve on the GSA’s National Registry for Design Excellence peer review program. His biography was recently published by Ecotone Publishing, a division of the International Living Future Institute.
Mark Simmons Ph.D. is Director of Landscape Research and Design at the Ecosystem Design Group at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at the University of Texas. His research and environmental design projects focus on creating and rebuilding landscapes and urban green infrastructure to improve ecosystem services. Scientific research projects include: green roofs, green walls, native turfgrass, urban prairies, storm-water management, and prescribed fire. He works with multidisciplinary design teams for local and national clients including private developers, city and state authorities, the US Army Corps of Engineers, George W. Bush Presidential Center, NASA, and the National Park Service. He teaches university and professional courses on ecological landscape design and sits on several technical committees including the Landscape Architecture Foundation and the Sustainable Sites Initiative (SITES(tm)).