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Landscape architect, educator Kimberly Garza to speak about community engagement through tactical urbanism in Iowa State’s P.H. Elwood Lecture

Due to the ongoing spread of COVID-19, this event has been canceled.



AMES, Iowa — Kimberly Garza, founder and principal of Atlas Lab Inc. — a landscape architecture, urban design and public art studio based in Sacramento, California — will present the 2020 P.H. Elwood Lecture in Landscape Architecture at Iowa State University.

Garza’s lecture, “Design [NOW!],” will be at 6 p.m. Wednesday, March 25, in Kocimski Auditorium, room 101 College of Design. Part of the ASLA (American Society of Landscape Architects) Iowa Spring Conference, her presentation is open to the public.

Garza will discuss the role of tactical urbanism and urban prototyping in her practice, and how it can be used as a tool to engage communities, create authentic experiences and empower designers to improve the built environment using low-cost, small-scale strategies.

Garza calls on designers to no longer wait for traditional design opportunities to occur, but rather initiate and take quick action to create positive change in the world, using tactical design methods from pop-up parks to public art installations.

“While traditional landscape architectural projects often carry lengthy timelines and lack meaningful community engagement opportunities, tactical urbanism and urban prototyping have emerged to directly engage communities and influence how public spaces should be used and defined,” she said.

Her firm’s projects serve to highlight needs, generate calls to action and improve how people experience the world around them.

About the speaker

Garza’s work has been has been internationally recognized, published and exhibited, including juried selection for the Market Street Prototyping Festival and International Garden Festival in Quebec, Canada, and winning proposal for the Sacramento Capitol Mall design competition. She was named a “40 Under 40 Urban Innovator” by Next City and a “40 Under 40 Honoree” by the Sacramento Business Journal.

Garza’s artistic works balance whimsy with architectural rigor, testing materials, technology and scale through the use of semi-permanent installations. In addition to her practice, she teaches advanced landscape architecture courses at the University of California, Davis, and is past president of the ASLA California Sierra Chapter.

About the lecture

The P.H. Elwood Lecture in Landscape Architecture was established in 1997 to honor the legacy of Professor Philip H. Elwood, who is credited with developing the ISU Department of Landscape Architecture at Iowa State University. The lecture series brings renowned professional practitioners to the Iowa State campus as guest lecturers each year.


Carl Rogers, Landscape Architecture, (515) 294-5334,
Heather Sauer, Design Communications, (515) 294-9289,


February 15, 2020 8:41 am

Tags: Lecture