When Mia Lehrer’s landscape architecture firm was invited to transform a heat-absorbing concrete parking lot into the Nature Garden at the Natural History Museum, she saw it as an urban ecology project and a model for how we can reshape our urban landscape. “When we talk about resiliency or climate change, we’re really talking about urban ecology,” she said of the project to create an urban wilderness filled with native plants and species. It’s this kind of urban revitalization project that distinguishes Lehrer, whose mark can be seen across Los Angeles — from work on the Annenberg Community Beach House to L.A. River revitalization projects.
As the founding principal of Mia Lehrer + Associates, she identifies herself as a landscape urbanist. “If I was sitting next to someone on an airplane, I would say I design and plan places that matter, because they build community,” she said. “I’m working towards a more resilient environment. I’d say that an important part of it is that beauty matters.”
“Yesterday I took someone on a tour of the [Natural History] museum at five in the afternoon,” she said. “There were so many birds you almost had to dive because they were eating and going into the water. It was absolutely so awesome. Everything has grown in really well. There are these pockets around the city need to replicated.”