Experiencing Olmsted

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Frederick Law Olmsted is the father of American landscape architecture. His firm, and the successor firms that sprung from it, worked through the nineteenth and twentieth centuries to shape some of our most beloved green spaces, including national, state, and city parks, suburban neighborhoods, and academic campuses. He is most famous for creating New York’s Central and Prospect Parks, Stanford University’s campus, and the Capitol Grounds. What is less known and surprising about his legacy is that he worked widely across North America. 

By highlighting 200 iconic landscapes, many of which are still open to the public today, Experiencing Olmsted brings a fresh approach to the firms’ work and philosophy. It highlights not only grand city parks, but also other public venues born out of a desire for social equity. Olmsted was an early voice for parks as democratic spaces that could be reached on foot by a large percentage of any city’s populace. He viewed parks as restorative places—what he termed “the lungs of a city.” Brimming with contemporary and archival photography as well as original drawings and plans, this truly remarkable record brings these places to vivid life. 

By Charles A. Birnbaum, Arelyn A. Levee, and Dena Tasse-Winter, published by Workman Publishing, 341 pages, hardcover.