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ASU Landscape Architecture Grad Plants Trees
Helping to Revitalize Her Phoenix Neighborhood

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Kristin Antkoviak, a recent graduate from Arizona State University with a Master's degree in landscape architecture, organized a tree and garden-planting day in her Phoenix neighborhood. Antkoviak was nominated for an Olmsted Scholarship award in 2018, selected as the winner in Design Excellence 2017, 2018 for her Central Park Project and was named one of two outstanding graduate students for the spring semester by the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts.


Kristin Antkoviak, who graduated with a master's degree in landscape architecture this year, has used her expertise to help revitalize her Phoenix neighborhood. And by connecting her neighbors with a little bit of nature, she's carving out a new kind of career.

When Antkoviak first moved to Phoenix, she noticed that the air quality was poor and that there was no sense of community among the residents. So last year, she and a neighbor started organizing community meetings, and she set up a day for everyone to volunteer to help plant trees.

"It's a 'small-is-beautiful' approach to building community capacity," she said.

Together, they planted a hardy hybrid mesquite variety that can withstand low watering and doesn't get too big.

"We didn't know how many volunteers we would get but it turned out fantastic," she said.

So they organized another planting in April, this time setting up a community pollinator garden, with native shrubs and perennials meant to draw butterflies.

"We asked people what they wanted and the main thing they wanted was color," she said. "I went door to door and I asked, 'What do you like?' Then I helped them with landscape architecture knowledge to fine tune what would be good."

The community group ended up planting 10 kinds of native trees in addition to the garden, which included desert marigold and flame acanthus.

That experience inspired her to think of a new kind of career.
"I'm starting to think about this concept of a neighborhood landscape architect who works directly with people," she said. "I'm big on empowering residents to understand that they can make a big impact. I'm trying to make a new role that doesn't exist yet."

Antkoviak believes that a neighborhood landscape architect could help educate people on water use and the tradeoffs of different kinds of trees they like, as well as coordinate with government and advocacy agencies.

Editor's note: This article was posted with express written permission by a representative of ASU Now and can be read in full HERE.







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August 20, 2018, 11:48 pm PDT

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