NAOP to Present Symposium on the Work of Frederick Law Olmsted Jr.



Washington, D.C. – The National Association for Olmsted Parks (NAOP) announces with its partners (National Building Museum, American Planning Association, and the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts), the presentation of a symposium to explore the life, work and legacy of Frederick Law Olmsted Jr., 20th-century landscape architect, environmental planner and seminal figure in American city planning.

Click here for symposium information. 

Frederick Law Olmsted Jr.’s Lasting Legacy: Parks, Planning, and Practice, a multidisciplinary symposium will be held on a new date at the National Building Museum, October 10–11, 2013. The symposium will produce the most comprehensive presentations to date of the full scope of Olmsted’s work and leadership.  It will be a major contribution toward a fuller understanding of developments in the professions of landscape architecture, urban design and regional planning, and provide historic grounding for local preservation efforts. 

Traffic congestion and the impact of mass transit. Population growth. Sprawl. Affordable housing. Public health concerns. Conservation of natural resources. A deficit of adequate parks and open space. The need for effective legislation. While these are among the most pressing issues in contemporary urban planning, design, and preservation discussions, they were, in fact, the themes of the First National Conference on City Planning, held in Washington, D.C. in 1909—an event that defined the birth of professional city planning in the United States and established Frederick Law Olmsted Jr. (1870–1957) as a formative figure in American city planning history.

The symposium presentations, panel sessions, and tours offer insights and models for solving complex contemporary issues that are addressed in Olmsted’s designs, writings, organizational leadership, and visionary and politically shrewd collaborations. A diverse audience of instructors, students, practitioners, historians, preservationists, policy makers, elected officials and the interested public will convene to explore and learn from contemporary thought leaders and historians in city planning, landscape architecture, and environmental planning.

Currently, NAOP is seeking sponsors for the event and student scholarship sponsors and encourages interested parties to reach out to NAOP prior to fall of 2012 when registration opens. Support has been provided by National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Stephen and Margaret Gill Family Foundation, and American Society of Landscape Architecture (ASLA).

The National Association for Olmsted Parks is a coalition of design and preservation professionals, historic property and park managers, scholars, municipal officials, citizen activists and representatives of numerous Olmsted organizations. Its concern is the legacy of landscape work left by Frederick Law Olmsted Sr. and the firm continued by his sons. Established in 1980, NAOP is the only national organization solely dedicated to preserving the Olmsted legacy by providing the advocacy, research, education and outreach needed to protect, restore and maintain these exemplary parks and landscapes, particularly in urban areas.

The National Building Museum is America’s leading cultural institution dedicated to advancing the quality of the built environment by educating people about its impact on their lives. Through its exhibitions, educational programs, online content, and publications, the Museum has become a vital forum for the exchange of ideas and information about the world we build for ourselves. Public inquiries: 202.272.2448 or visit

The American Planning Association is an independent, not-for-profit educational organization that provides leadership in the development of vital communities by advocating excellence in community planning, promoting education, and citizen empowerment, and providing the tools and support necessary to meet the challenges of growth and change.  Frederick Law Olmsted Jr. served as the first president of the American City Planning Institute which traces its roots to the 1909 first National Conference on City Planning.

The U.S. Commission of Fine Arts, established in 1910 by an Act of Congress, is charged with giving expert advice to the President, Congress, and the heads of departments and agencies of the Federal and District of Columbia governments on matters of design and aesthetics, as they affect the Federal interest and preserve the dignity of the nation's capital.  Olmsted, Jr. was the first landscape architect to be appointed to the Commission.

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