Kimley-Horn X FIU Design Collab: A Collaborative Learning Experience for FIU Landscape Architecture + Environmental and Urban Design Students

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In the realm of Landscape Architecture + Environmental and Urban design, the importance of firsthand experiences cannot be overstated. Understanding design principles through textbooks and lectures is one aspect, but truly grasping them involves immersing oneself in a real-world project. Recognizing this, FIU Landscape Architecture + Environmental and Urban Design (LAEUD) partnered with Kimley-Horn, a leading design and consulting firm, to host the Kimley-Horn X FIU Design Collab—an event that provided students with valuable practical insights and empowered them with first-hand industry level experience.

The collaboration was spearheaded by five experienced professionals from Kimley-Horn, including two FIU LAEUD alumni, Gregory González’MLA15 and Michelle Latte’MLA14. Students also gained valuable insights from experts representing the City of Miami and Miami-Dade County. The event ensured that the students had the opportunity to coordinate with professionals across various disciplines—a skill crucial for success in the field.

Divided into 10 groups, the 48 LAEUD students delved into the task at hand—designing a City of Miami owned parcel near The Underline and guided by professionals. Throughout the process, these mentors provided invaluable feedback, emphasizing the importance of collaboration.

The culmination of the students’ efforts was displayed through presentations to the panel of jurors. This was also a pivotal experience for the students as they not only articulated their design decisions but also navigated through challenging questions of the jurors—a scenario mirroring the real-world review process in landscape architecture. 

In the end, the winning team—Anne Coke’MLA25, Cesar Deschamps’MLA26, Mikaelle Whiteman’MLA27— was rewarded with a cash prize and all the participating students enjoyed a dinner with the professionals. 

The event fostered a culture of collaboration and innovation, bridging the gap between academia and industry. Moreover, it provided students with a glimpse into the dynamic and multifaceted nature of landscape architecture, inspiring them to approach their future careers with a better sense of purpose and enthusiasm.

A special thanks to our amazing collaborators for making this event a success:

Kimley-Horn and Associates, Inc.

George Puig, PLA, ASLA Vice President/Landscape Architecture, Margarita Giraldo, PE Development Services, Michelle Latte, PLA, ASLA, Associate/Landscape Architecture, Gregory Gonzalez, PLA, Landscape Architecture, Cristofer Rojas, Landscape Architecture, Catherine Crocker, Human Resources and Sami Rosengard, SHRM-CP, Human Resources.

City of Miami

Augusto C. Carvajal Vélez, MS, ISA Certified Arborist/LIAF Certified Landscape Inspector/TRAQ Qualified, Landscape Plans Examiner & Inspector and Shawn Smith, ISA Certified Arborist/ LIAF Certified Landscape Inspector, Environmental Resources Specialist II.

Miami-Dade County

Maria Elena Cedeño, LEED AP, Principal Planner – SDRC Coordinator.

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