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A Very Productive Year for LARP Professor Ethan Carr

Ethan Carr, Phd, FASLA, is an associate professor of landscape architecture at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He is a landscape historian and preservationist specializing in public landscapes, particularly municipal and national park planning and design. During the course of his career he has already written two award winning books, and shows no signs of slowing down. He has had a very productive year during which he had two more books and a pair of essays published.  Dr. Carr also gave multiple lectures here and abroad. He has been a stellar example of what the UMass Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning Department expects from its faculty – not only instilling knowledge in our excellent students, but also continuing to produce critically well received work.

Dr. Carr is the volume editor of the Papers of Frederick Law Olmsted, Volume 8, The Early Boston Years, 1882-1891(Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press 2013). The penultimate edited volume of Olmsted’s letters and publications, it features extensive annotation and an introduction by Carr. Another book for which he was the lead editor also was published in 2013. Public Nature: Scenery, History and Park Design (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2013), has garnered critical praise and an extensive review in Landscape Architecture Magazine (February 2014).  Also in the last year, Carr wrote “NPS Design tradition in the 21st Century,” a National Park Service Centennial Essay, published in the George Wright Forum (30, no. 1).

In February of 2013, as part of the National Building Museum lecture series, Portraits in Design, Carr gave a lecture on the life and work of Frederick Law Olmsted in Washington D.C. He travelled twice to Iceland in 2013 to give keynote lectures on American and Icelandic national park history and planning. He presented “Lessons for International National Park Planning” at the Scandinavian Institute of Landscape Architects in Reykjavik, Iceland, and later returned in to address the Ministry of Tourism and Planning Board Annual Conference in Selfoss, Iceland.

This past year has been a very busy and successful one for Carr both in the realms of scholarly works and teaching. Expect him to continue being on the forefront of Park design history, planning, and design.


Volume 8 of the Papers of Frederick Law Olmsted, The Early Boston Years, 1882-1890 (The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2013), documents the personal and professional life of the foremost landscape architect in American history. During these years, Olmsted relocated from New York to the Massachusetts, establishing his home and office in Brookline. There he established a professional office that grew to become the first of its kind: a modern landscape architecture practice with park, subdivision, campus, residential, and other landscape design projects throughout the country. In particular, Olmsted designed the exceptional park system of Boston and Brookline—including the Back Bay Fens, Franklin Park, and the Muddy River Improvement—with its various elements connected by linear parkways. Olmsted also designed parks for New York City, Rochester, Buffalo and Detroit during these years, and created his most significant campus plans, for Stanford University in California. This is the eighth volume of Olmsted’s papers to be published. The last volume will be published next year.


The essays in Public Nature: Scenery, History, and Park Design (UVA Press, 2013) feature new research into the history of regional, state, and national parks. The volume treats many aspects of park design, including buildings, designed landscapes, park roads, interpretive design, or any other aspect of how parks have preserved and presented nature and history to the public.  The essays emphasize the inherent meaning, ideology, and intent of public parks as works of design, including many international as well as U.S. examples. According to Landscape Architecture Magazine (February 2014, p. 136): “Carr’s Introduction sets the tone for the book, a highly well-researched and –referenced set of contributions that simultaneously are highly specific through case studies and wide-ranging through complex theoretical discussions concerning humankind’s unending transformation of place and the links of park design to landscape preservation, improvement, and conservation.”