An award-winning author, architect and leader in innovative landscape architecture is coming to The University of New Mexico.

“From the Earth to Sky,” from Richard Misrach and Kate Orff, Petrochemical America, 2012. (Courtesy of K. Orff)

Kate Orff’s award-winning book, Petrochemical America (2012), visualized the challenges of Louisiana’s infamous “Cancer Alley” in new and transforming ways. As the 2018 J. B. Jackson Lecturer at UNM, Orff will examine the on-going public health crisis in communities along the Mississippi River from Baton Rouge to the Gulf of Mexico in her lecture, “Post-Petrochemical America”.

UNM’s School of Architecture and Planning and the History Department’s Center for the Southwest are co-hosting the event Friday, Feb. 9 at 5:30 p.m. in the Garcia Auditorium of George Pearl Hall. The lecture is free and open to the public.

The J. B. Jackson Lecture honors John Brinckerhoff Jackson, considered by many to be the father of Cultural Landscape Studies in the United States, and celebrates individuals, such as Orff, who have made significant contributions to the field.

A landscape architect and director of Columbia University’s Urban Design Program, Kate Orff is known for developing innovative design paradigms for the anthropocene era. The MacArthur Foundation, in awarding her one of its 2017 “Genius” Fellowships, lauded her for “designing adaptive and resilient urban habitats and encouraging residents to be active stewards of the ecological systems underlying our built environment.”

In the book and traveling exhibition, Petrochemical America, Orff and photographer Richard Misrach use compelling visual narratives to reveal the complex cultural, physical and economic issues of the region. Click here to read more about Orff and her work.