I'm the founder of Heavy Meadow. I settled on this name for my business, because it reflects my attitude of whimsy, which I like to inject into solving problems of environmental degradation, social injustice and neglect. I seek design solutions that are grounded in solid reasoning and, like a meadow, appear simple but actually embody a very complex and hard to establish ecological network.
Thanks for taking the time to read this. Here are 10 things I think might be of interest to you.
1) I grew up in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and still consider it a home. The “Land of Enchantment” played a major role in my compulsion to be surrounded by beauty.
2) I did my undergraduate education at The University of Pennsylvania, where I studied in a program then called, “Design of the Environment.” I graduated Suma Cum Laude in 2000.
3) My six years in Philadelphia solidified my interest in urban renewal. A year spent in East Berlin, as the city was undergoing major transformation, further influenced my appreciation for how cities can be reinvented.
4) My first job after college in the profession was with Margie Ruddick, an award-winning landscape architect known for her work integrating water into site design, who I consider my design mentor to this day.
5) I got my masters in landscape architecture from the Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD) in 2004. I was most honored to receive The Jacob Weidenman Award for the highest ability and achievement in design at graduation.
6) Following my graduation from GSD, I relocated to New York City. During the course of my four years in the city, I worked for a boutique-sized firm called, Balmori Associates, where I designed the award winning competition entry for a cultural plaza in Shanghai. I also worked as a designer and project manager for WRT, a world-renowned planning and landscape firm. While at WRT, I worked on the design for the winning entry of Rutgers University College Avenue Campus Master Plan, The New York Aquarium Perimeter Vision Competition, and managed the concept and design for The Urban Garden Room at One Bryant Park.
7) In 2008 I fell in love with New Orleans during a vacation and left New York 3 months later. I currently live two blocks from the Mississippi River, where I experiment in my own garden.
8) Academia interweaves with my professional work. I have taught design studios in landscape architecture at the GSD, Louisiana State University, and Tulane's School of Architecture as an adjunct lecturer.
9) I loved my work as the director of Growing Home, a blight alleviation and beatification program for the City of New Orleans. Everyday I faced the challenge of revitalizing the city. In the end, over a thousand families have reclaimed vacant lots and over $10,000,000 worth of investments have been injected back into the neighborhoods.
10) In 2013 I became a licensed landscape architect in Louisiana! The trajectory of my life, roughly described above, has culminated in Heavy Meadow.
Nearly five years after Hurricane Katrina, the city is still struggling with how to bring life back to the more than 60,000 abandoned properties that scar its streets. One of the most innovative remedies so far has been Growing Home, a blight remediation program that empowers homeowners to buy vacant lots in their neighborhoods and transform them into green spaces. In 2008 Abigail Feldman moved to New Orleans to help launch and direct the program for the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority.