Kate practices landscape architecture to address global challenges of climate change and social and
environmental justice.

Kate Orff

Founder and Principal

Kate is the Founder of SCAPE and a MacArthur Fellow. Kate focuses on retooling the practice of landscape architecture relative to uncertainty of climate change and fostering social life which she has explored through publications, activism, research, and projects. She is known for leading complex, creative, and collaborative work processes that advance broad environmental and social prerogatives.

Kate was awarded the MacArthur Foundation ‘Genius’ Grant in 2017, the first given in the field of Landscape Architecture. Kate was named a 2012 United States Artist Fellow, an Elle Magazine “Planet Fixer,” and shared SCAPE’s design methodologies at the International TEDWomen Conference in 2010. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Political and Social Thought from the University of Virginia with Distinction and earned a Master in Landscape Architecture from the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University. Kate is also the Director of Columbia University GSAPP’s Urban Design Program.


Landscape Architect: New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, South Carolina, Minnesota, Arkansas
CLARB Certified



MacArthur Fellow, 2017

American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Architecture, 2015
National Academician
, 2013
United States Artist Fellow, 2012

Director, Urban Design ProgramColumbia University GSAPP
Associate Professor, Columbia University GSAPP
Director, Urban Landscape Lab, Columbia University GSAPP

Vice President, Architectural League of New York, 2010-present
Design Fellow, New York City Audubon Society, 2005-2006

Lectures & Interviews
Landscape Architecture Magazine (May 2012) – What Kate Orff Sees
WNYC- The Leonard Lopate Show – Big Issues: Petrochemical America
Aperture Foundation – Converation with Misrach and Orff
The Modern Art Notes Podcast – Petrochemical America(00:42:20)
TED Talk – Reviving New York’s Rivers
The Architectural League NY – Emerging Voices 2012
ArchitectureAU.Com – Translating Research into Action

Recent Publications

Toward an Urban Ecology, New York, The Monacelli Press, 2016 
Petrochemical America, New York: Aperture Foundation, 2012
Gateway, Visions for an Urban National Park, New York: Princeton, 2011