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Iconic Hispanic Angelenos in History: Mia Lehrer

In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, September 15 through October 15, join us as we celebrate the Hispanic individuals that have influenced culture, social justice, and progress in Los Angeles and, in some instances, the nation. Check back often as we highlight a new iconic Hispanic Angeleno throughout the month.

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Today we celebrate Mia Lehrer:

Born and raised in San Salvador, El Salvador, architect Mia Lehrer has become one of the most successful landscape architects in the country.

Earning her B.A. in Environmental Design at Tufts University a Masters in Landscape Architecture from the Harvard Graduate School of Design, Lehrer combined her dual interests to become one of the first to design outdoor spaces such as parks and gardens and also make them sustainable.

Heavily influenced by her surroundings as a child and the community activism of her parents, Lehrer has made her firm, Mia Lehrer + Associates, a beacon for sustainable design. In a KCET Departures interview, Lehrer said that after a successful run of designing gardens for private citizens, she wanted to get involved with her community and and start making a difference. And she has.

In one of her first large public projects, the World Bank Coastal Zone Project in El Salvador, Lehrer worked with community members, politicians, and community organizations, paving the ways for her expertise in working with multiple parties.

In Los Angeles, her firm's completed projects include the TreePeople Center for Community Forestry, the Silver Lake Library, Vista Hermosa Park (described by the L.A. Times as "L.A. park like no other"), Santee Court, and most recently, her work on the L.A. River Revitalization Master Plan, in which she aims to transform 32 miles of concrete-lined river into public green space.

With each project, Lehrer takes the time to talk to community members because she believes that it is important to have an open conversation. Her commitment to helping out communities is evident; as she told Zocalo Public Square, on Saturday mornings she is most likely to be found at community meetings.

Lehrer's commitment to sustainable design and community empowerment has made her a powerful force in the architectural community and in Los Angeles.

  • Born and raised in San Salvador, El Salvador
  • Inspired by Frederick Law Olmsted to design landscapes rather than buildings
  • She describes all of her projects as having one thing in common: they are places for people to enjoy
  • Projects include the Silver Lake Library, Natural History Museum, Annenberg Beach House, and conceptual plans to transform Piggyback Yard by the L.A. River into an urban park.
  • Her firm designed a series of bracelets exploring the topography of the L.A. River
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