Martha Schwartz is a tenured Professor in Practice at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design. She is a landscape architect, urbanist, and climate activist. Her work and teaching focuses on the urban public realm landscape and its importance in making cities “climate ready”. For more than 40 years, she and the firm, Martha Schwartz Partners, have completed projects around the globe, from site-specific art installations to public spaces, parks, master-planning and reclamation. Schwartz is now engaged in strategic land-use and landscape planning in assisting leadership in their preparation for effects of climate change that their city will be facing in the near future.
Ms. Schwartz is a founder and participant of the GSD Climate Change Working Group, which gave shape to the first ever required climate change course to incoming students in 2020. She also has mounted a seminar in conjugation with Harvard’s School of Engineering and Applied Science on the topic of geoengineering.
Schwartz foresees landscape architecture as the leading profession to face the challenge of Climate Change. At the Landscape Architecture Foundation’s 2016 “New Landscape Declaration” summit on Landscape Architecture and the Future, Martha’s “Declaration” on climate change became the key proponent of the industry’s current position that Climate Change is a central issue to the practice.
She is a founding member of the Working Group of Sustainable Cities at the Harvard University Center for the Environment, a founding member of the Landscape Architecture Foundation ‘s “Working Group on Climate Change”, and has recently founded MAYDAY. Earth, a non-profit organization focused on Climate Communications and Education for non-scientists and generalists about Nature Based and Geoengineering Solutions which act at a global scale and can be integrated into practice, thus expanding the role of landscape architecture.
Awarded the 2020 ASLA Design Medal, Ms. Schwartz is the recipient of numerous international recognitions, including the Honorary Royal Designer for Industry Award from the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce for her outstanding contribution to UK design; the Cooper Hewitt National Design Award; the Women in Design Award for Excellence from the Boston Society of Architects; an Honorary Doctor of Science from the University of Ulster in Belfast, Ireland; a fellowship from the Urban Design Institute; visiting residencies at Radcliffe College and the American Academy in Rome; an Honorary Fellowship from the Royal Institute of British Architects; the Council of Fellows Award by the American Society of Landscape Architects and most recently a Doctor Honoris Causa from the Boston Architectural College.