Featured Faculty: Ilisa Goldman
Ilisa Goldman started teaching at NewSchool in January 2012, cutting her teeth with Introduction to Landscape Architecture; in the fall, she will be teaching History of Landscape Architecture and Field Analysis. And she already finds sharing her experience with students to be a worthwhile endeavor.
“It is very rewarding knowing that I am helping to educate our future designers, community leaders, and educators,” Goldman says. “I also really enjoy when the students engage in class discussions and start to make connections with what they are learning and the world around them.”
Her passion for the profession of landscape architecture can only be a boon to her students. When speaking of it, she enthuses, “I love that landscape architects have the ability to influence how people live, learn and grow. From designing communities and restoring ecosystems to revitalizing urban areas, we have the ability to connect people to natural world and help them to develop a strong environmental and social ethic. We have the ability to change the world!”
In addition to teaching, Goldman is a fitness instructor for Stroller Strides and Body Back in San Diego, where she helps young mothers develop the strength for motherhood. She also sits on the board of the San Diego Children and Nature Collaborative (SDCaN, or the Collaborative), which she says was “organized in January 2009 by individuals and educational, environmental, business, and community groups with shared concerns that today’s children have less and less opportunity to experience nature.”
Today, more than 60 organizations work together under the fiscal sponsorship of the San Diego Audubon to give San Diego’s children the chance to learn in nature and play outdoors Society.
Other experience she brings into the classroom to share with her students includes her own professional background. “I have been fortunate enough to practice with one of the leading landscape architecture firms in San Diego, Spurlock Poirier,” Goldman says, noting that during that time, “I was able to see the importance of following through with your beliefs and how to design with compassion for the natural and cultural environment.”
She also trained and studied with Robin Moore and Nilda Cosco at the Natural Leaning Initiative at North Carolina State, whom she describes as the leading experts in the research, design, and dissemination of information pertaining to children’s outdoor play and learning environments.
Based on her experiences in the field and during her life, Goldman offers sage advice to those considering studying landscape architecture. “Research what the profession is, visit firms and projects, and talk to people who study and practice landscape architecture,” she recommends. “I think many people are surprised when they learn how much more landscape architecture is than just planting.”
Of the professional overall, she adds, “I think it is critical for landscape architects and architects to work together in school and in the professional realm. A cross-disciplinary, community-based approach is vital when it comes to making a positive impact on the complex social and environmental issues that landscape architects face on a regular basis. Working together, we have the ability to empower individuals and communities toward being proactive about bettering the environment around them, and completing a successful project requires a holistic approach toward design and development.”
All photographs courtesy of Spurlock Poirier Landscape Architects