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Forest Futures

Harvard GSD has opened a new exhibition, Forest Futures, which explores the intertwined history of forests and humanity, critically examining the past and the present to emphasize the profound connection between these vital habitats.

The exhibition features projections, videos, photographs, drawings, renderings, and prints, including 28 photographs from architectural photographer Stanley Greenberg’s Olmsted Trees series, a collection of black-and-white photographs captured in 26 city park projects designed by Frederick Law Olmsted. Highlighting student and faculty work from the Department of Landscape Architecture, the show presents research and projects ranging from global data on tropical deforestation to the Urban Forest Plans of Cambridge and Boston to the new restorative landscape design for Notre Dame de Paris Cathedral.

Forest Futures demonstrates how forests today have become designed environments through the collective efforts of scholars, scientists, designers, artists, policymakers, and communities to restore and conserve biodiversity. Yet, the exhibition also explores how forest management practices necessitate symbiotic relationships with living beings that can still enable nature’s own processes to unfold freely. In that sense, the show celebrates nature’s ineffable essence. By urging a sensorial connection beyond observation, the curator underscores the limits of logic alone to fathom the natural world’s complexity. Many of the projects on display evoke the paradoxical merging of design—fundamentally a reasoned and measured endeavor—with raw nature.

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