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Landscape Master Plan


Wright Hall 005
Smith College
Northampton, MA 01063
Phone: 413-585-5536
Assistant Director, Sustainability & Planning Manager: Rachael Wein
Graphic representation of the existing landscape in the Quadrangle
Graphic representation of the landscape in the Quadrangle after light renovations
Graphic representation of the landscape in the Quadrangle after intermediate renovations
Graphic representation of the landscape in the Quadrangle after intensive renovations

The Smith campus has long been recognized for its magnificent landscape. For those of us who are students, alumnae, faculty or staff, the gardens, pathways, pond, glades and lawns shape both first impressions and lasting memories of our time at Smith.

Vision Phase

Following the Discovery Phase of the Landscape Master Plan (LMP) that occurred between July and November 2019, the team has embarked on the next phase, called the Vision Phase. While Discovery was focused on exploration of the campus through both site analysis and community engagement, the Alternative Frameworks phase suggests a variety of alternatives for the future of the campus landscape and allows the community to visualize different possibilities, “try them on” and share their perspectives.

Similar to the Discovery Phase, the Vision Phase will be accompanied by interactive events on campus and Issue 2 of the LMP online magazine, Groundswell. Those tools are intended to facilitate a conversation on how each of the potential scenarios will affect the experience of the campus, as well as how they will contribute to the overarching goals of the LMP: inclusivity, adaptation and education.

To illustrate the range of potential modifications, we have selected 12 key locations on the Smith campus. These locations were selected not only because they are significant to how the campus is perceived and used, but also because they represent transformations that are applicable to other locations not highlighted in this exploration. These will be available online on February 11 and during on-campus events.

Landscape Master Plan Process

Over the course of the 2019–20 academic year, the Landscape Master Plan Committee is overseeing the development of a new landscape master plan for Smith College. We have partnered with MNLA, who will lead the initiative. The LMP will be a comprehensive, 20-year plan that will guide the evolution of Smith’s outdoor campus landscape to meet current and future challenges. The LMP will address how the campus landscape can manifest Smith’s values, educational goals and strategic priorities.

Since the last landscape master plan was completed more than 20 years ago, changes in student priorities, pedagogy, technology, climate and landscape management practices have resulted in the need for a critical reassessment of the college’s landscape.

Graphic representation of a section of the college's pathways and landscape

The LMP will establish an overarching philosophy for the landscape and a mission statement for Smith College for the next 20 years with regard to:

  1. Inclusivity: Capacity of the landscape to strengthen and advance social and cultural identity and promote health and well-being
  2. Education: Capacity of the landscape to be a teaching and learning environment that fosters stewardship and scholarship
  3. Adaptation: Capacity of the landscape to be resilient to the forces of climate change and prioritizes regenerative ecological function

We envision a collaborative process to develop the LMP. Students, faculty, alumnae and staff are encouraged to join the conversation. Your comments, concerns, ideas and values are essential to evaluating and prioritizing the multiple facets of information, analysis and decision making that are encompassed in a successful LMP. Through your involvement, the LMP can identify synergies and strategic changes that will inform comprehensive solutions to complex issues affecting Smith’s landscape.

Over the course of the academic year there will be multiple opportunities for the Smith community to share input at meetings with the master plan team, provide online interactive feedback and stay informed through the LMP online magazine, Groundswell. Each phase of the project will be accompanied by a new issue of Groundswell magazine to both inform the community about project development and to collect feedback and comments.

Graphic showing the overlapping priorities of having an educational landscape, an inclusive landscape, and an adaptive landscape


Groundswell Magazine Issue 2 will be published on February 11, 2020.

Landscape Master Planning Committee

  • Tim Johnson, Botanic Gardens Director
  • Dano Weisbord, Executive Director of Sustainability and Campus Planning
  • Beth Raffeld, Senior Vice President, Office of Alumnae Relations and Development
  • Jim Gray, Associate Vice President for Facilities and Operations
  • Elisa Kim, Assistant Professor, Architecture & Urbanism
  • Steve Moga, Assistant Professor, Landscape Studies
  • Jack Loveless, Associate Professor, Geosciences
  • Nancy Bradbury, Professor, English Language and Literature
  • Tess Abbot ’20, Environmental Science and Policy Major
  • Julia Mettler-Grove ’21, Government Major
  • Mia Fuentes Deonate ’21