Climate Positive Design

San Francisco, CA

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Positive Change Through Carbon Reduction

The initiative was led by Pamela Conrad, former Principal at CMG Landscape Architecture, and developed through the Landscape Architecture Foundation (LAF) Fellowship for Innovation and Leadership in collaboration with Atelier Ten. By providing tools, guidance, and resources the initiative seeks to enable positive changes that can be made now and do not require new regulations or policies – merely activism through education. Beyond the Pathfinder, the website provides additional educational resources including a Design Toolkit and Case Studies that assist with making Climate Positive Design decisions. The Challenge is a call to action for landscape architects, municipalities, property owners, developers, and associated professionals around the world to reduce carbon footprints and increase carbon sequestration.

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With a team of tech and data engineers, Pamela developed a web-based app called the Pathfinder – a landscape carbon calculator that guides designers on the path to meeting the goals of the Challenge and becoming Climate Positive. After the user inputs quantities, they receive a Climate Positive score that indicates how many years it will take to offset the project’s carbon footprint. To lower the score, the user receives design recommendations to reduce emissions and increase sequestration, thus offsetting their project faster and providing a positive contribution to reducing global greenhouse gas concentrations sooner.
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LAF, the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), Australian Institute of Landscape Architects (AILA), Architecture 2030, Canadian Society of Landscape Architects (CSLA), International Federation of Landscape Architects (IFLA), and the Landscape Architecture Canada Foundation (LACF) have signed on as advisory partners to the initiative. Since its launch in September 2019, Climate Positive Design has expanded its reach all over the globe making significant initial carbon impacts. In the first two years, 1,761 Contributors signed up for the Challenge and utilized the web resources from 167 countries. 560 official projects logged in Pathfinder resulted in 1.6 million trees to be planted, equivalent to 395,652 cars taken off the road in 20 years. CMG continues to actively use and implement Climate Positive Design initiative practices in our work.