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Elaine Kearney wins Community Service Award

Elaine Kearney

Please join us in celebrating San Antonio Managing Principal, Elaine Kearney and her recent winning of Texas ASLA’s Community Service Award!

The award is presented to a Fellow, Member, or Associate who has contributed unselfishly of his/her professional abilities in public service to the state or local community. Continue reading to learn more about Elaine and her contributions to TBG and the profession of landscape architecture.

Founding member of the non-profit organization which advocates for design excellence in San Antonio and provides a forum for citizens and decision-makers to discuss the built environment. As Vice-President, Elaine has been instrumental in orchestrating events for the membership and general public on topics ranging from streetscape design, to affordable housing, to placemaking.

Co-initiated the non-profit group which is a volunteer-led tactical planning initiative and think-tank composed of architects, landscape architects, conservationists, civil engineers, civic leaders, transportation planners, and others, working collectively to implement bold new active transportation infrastructure through advocacy, consensus-building, and technical design. Although primarily focused on trail connectivity within the city of San Antonio, ActivateSA has also been coordinating with the Great Springs Project, a regional-scale conservation and active transportation corridor proposed along the Balcones fault from Austin to San Antonio. As a landscape architect and ActivateSA board member, Elaine was honored to be able to share the vision of the Great Spring Project and ActivateSA at the TXASLA convention in Galveston in 2021.

Linear Creekway Parks Advisory Board (LCPAB)
Has served since January 2020 as San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg’s representative on this board which serves as a liaison between the community and Parks and Recreation on the implementation of the city-wide Howard Peak Greenway trail system. As of 2022, the system is nearing completion of 100 miles of built trails which form an incredible recreational ring around San Antonio, the trails encourage bikers, walkers and runners to experience the ecosystems of the Salado, Leon Creek, Medina and West Side Creekways. As a landscape architect and member of both ActivateSA, LCPAB, and Centro’s Downtown Bond Committee, Elaine has been a strong and effective advocate for continued investment in parks and greenways.

ULI local council
Co-chair of the council on Placemaking since its establishment in 2020. The Placemaking LMC group organizes monthly events which encourage the multi-disciplinary membership to explore topics related to placemaking, which often directly showcase landscape architecture. Recent events have focused on the activation of downtown public spaces like urban plazas, civic parks and the revitalization of San Antonio’s primary commercial corridor, Houston Street. Elaine’s Spring 2021 presentation to the ULI general membership entitled ‘The Case for Open Space’, highlighted the various ways that landscape architecture contributes positively to the urban environment.

San Antonio Botanical Garden Board of Directors
Elected in 2021 and is the only landscape architect on the board. She immediately jumped into service on the Building and Grounds sub-committee by coordinating (with garden staff) a student charrette and visioning process to re-imagine the aging WaterSaver Lane exhibit, which encourages the general public to understand and adopt environmentally sustainable practices such as native and low water use plants in their home landscapes. Elaine and her local TBG Partners staff also donated pro-bono professional services to assist the San Antonio Botanical Garden in the development of a design concept which culminated in the release of a public RFQ. Elaine brings passion and knowledge to enhance the garden’s mission of ‘enhancing lives through plants and nature’.

Landscape Architecture Foundation Board of Directors
Advocacy at the national level, serving as a local liaison to the landscape architecture community, by speaking at South Texas ASLA Chapter Events about the value, scholarship and fellowship opportunities available to landscape architects via LAF. Elaine is particularly passionate about increasing Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the profession, and has spearheaded TBG’s internal DEI task force.

Local ASLA
Enthusiastic organizer and supporter of local ASLA initiatives such as Park(ing) Day. In 2015/2016 Elaine organized the first major collective Park(ing) Day events in San Antonio by inviting participants from a variety of architecture and landscape architecture firms to create parklets on Broadway and in front of City Hall.

Student Mentorship
Is passionate about giving back to the profession by mentoring students who are interested in pursuing landscape architecture. Some of these connections have been established via her participation in Trinity University’s 1869 alumni mentoring program, while others have been forged spontaneously from teaching classes at Boston Architectural College, Portland State University, Trinity University, and through TBG’s summer intern program. Elaine has offered her perspective and advice to numerous individuals who have gone on to study and practice landscape architecture or related fields. By volunteering her time to review portfolios and graduate application essays, Elaine hopes to raise awareness for the field of landscape architecture and positively impact the next generation of practitioners.

Elaine’s community participation serves as a stellar example of the power that landscape architecture can have on one’s community. Congratulations Elaine!