TIME named Kate Orff to the 2023 TIME 100, its annual list of the most influential people in the world.
Widely recognized as a leading voice in landscape architecture, urban design, and climate adaptation in a global context, Orff joins a class of preeminent figures in politics, technology, philanthropy, media, business, entertainment, and beyond. The full list is available on newsstands on Friday, April 14.
In her tribute, architect Jeanne Gang writes: “Kate Orff is a landscape architect who’s never been hemmed in by garden walls—seeking instead to liberate landscape to do nothing less than repair our warming planet through design … As with Rachel Carson, Kate’s ecological vision contains a larger environmental ethic to help people protect biodiversity and adapt to climate change. By rallying communities to participate in her restorative, nature-based projects, she shows us how landscape can also help repair a fractured society.”
Gang is the Founding Principal of Studio Gang, a design firm collaborating with SCAPE on a number of projects including Tom Lee Park in Memphis, Tennessee, opening in September 2023.
Orff has advanced broad-front initiatives to retool the field of landscape architecture to address global issues of climate and social justice—both through practice and through research, publications, exhibitions, and education, as Director of the Urban Design program and Co-founder of the Center for Resilient Cities and Landscapes (CRCL) at Columbia University. She is the author of several books, including Toward an Urban Ecology (Monacelli, 2016), co-author, with photographer Richard Misrach, of Petrochemical America (Aperture, 2012), and a contributor to All We Can Save (Penguin Random House, 2020), a best-selling anthology of women climate leaders.
In 2017, Orff became the first landscape architect to receive the MacArthur Foundation’s “Genius” Fellowship. Her work has received dozens of professional awards from the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) and a 2019 National Design Award from the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum. She currently serves on the Commission on Accelerating Climate Action for the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, as well as the Advisory Board for Urban Ocean Lab, a policy think tank.