MIT presents Kevin Lynch Award to Randolph Hester
Hester is professor emeritus of landscape architecture and environmental planning and urban design at UC Berkeley. MIT’s Dean Adèle Naudé Santos, herself a member of the UC Berkeley architecture faculty before coming to MIT, recalls that “Professor Hester’s vivid teaching and community-based professional practice has enabled and inspired Berkeley undergraduate and graduate students for 30 years.”
The Lynch award was established in 1988 to honor the memory of Kevin Lynch, an MIT alumnus, urban designer, author and 30-year faculty member in MIT’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning. Conferred to individuals or organizations whose work embodies and advances Kevin Lynch’s research as developed in his seminal books Image of the City (1960), What Time is this Place? (1972), Good City Form (1981) and Site Planning (1984), nominees are selected for their plans, books, research, designed projects, media productions, public processes or similar contributions.
Hester is a founder of the research movement to apply sociology to the design of neighborhoods, cities and landscapes. His work extends Lynch’s legacy by focusing on the role of citizens in community design and ecological planning. Professor Hester is a strong advocate for community participation in the development of what he calls ecological democracies and sacred landscapes — spaces that grow from true understanding of a local community’s needs and the potential of its resources.
During his 30 years as a professor at Berkeley, Hester served as chair of Berkeley’s Department of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning. He authored 10 books and numerous articles on citizen participation and socially democratic planning, including Neighborhood Space (1975), Planning Neighborhood Space with People (1982), Community Design Primer (1990) and most recently Design for Ecological Democracy (2006).
According to Amy Glasmeier, head of MIT’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning, “The receipt of the Lynch award recognizes Randy Hester’s contribution to the valuation of the citizen’s view of his or her community and how this perspective is a vital component to urban design.”
The nominations for this year’s award were prepared by students in a fall seminar on Lynch’s work taught by planning Lecturer Andres Sevtsuk and John de Monchaux, professor of architecture and planning, emeritus.
The award will be presented to Hester on April 8 during a day-long celebration of the department’s legacy on the occasion of MIT’s 150th birthday. A special invitation to these events will be extended to MIT alumni and their colleagues who may be attending the annual American Planning Association conference, taking place in Boston from April 9-11.