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Laura Lawson

23: October 2019

Laura Lawson is Professor of Landscape Architecture and Dean of Academic Programs in the School for Environmental and Biological Sciences at Rutgers University, New Brunswick. She has a B.A. in Environmental Studies from the University of California, Santa Cruz and an MLA and Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley. Her research includes historical and contemporary community open space, with particular focus on urban agriculture and the changing roles of parks in low-income communities. She is currently working on a collaborative project, Cultivating Justice, to develop a website that explores African American values and experiences in rural and urban agriculture. She is author of City Bountiful: A Century of Community Gardening in America (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2005) and co-author of Design as Democracy: Techniques for Collective Creativity (Washington DC: Island Press, 2017), Greening Cities, Growing Communities: Urban Community Gardens in Seattle (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2009), as well as of numerous publications in academic journals, edited books, and popular media. At Rutgers, Professor Lawson teaches courses focused on social and cultural issues in design and planning.

Laura participated in the October 2019 MediaStorm Methodology Workshop. She had the following to say about her experience:

As an academic, I came to the methodology workshop to gain more understanding about how to integrate storytelling with data-based research. The multi-media platform, which developed in response to the changing media landscape, allows viewers to approach an issue through many simultaneous lenses: video, audio, maps, timelines, photography, and more. As I apply this approach to my own scholarship, I can immediately appreciate its value as an organizing tool and means to engage a broader public. The workshop also exposed me to the technical and professional concerns of journalists and media producers so that I can better frame my scholarly contributions to meet the needs of these sectors.