Invisible Mending with Cornelia

I am a guest editor on and wrote this article about my life long friend and mentor, Cornelia Oberlander. Cornelia’s husband Peter was my thesis advisor for my planning thesis. Both of them have made remarkable contributions to Canadian planning and design.

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It was curious to see the debate about Jane Jacobs and her philosophy on the anniversary of her birth one hundred years ago. I am reminded that debate is healthy and good, and I should listen to debate more. I am also reminded that we also still work with giants in our midst. For me one of those giants is the remarkable landscape architect Cornelia Hahn Oberlander.

If you have met Cornelia, attended her lectures, or read her books, you know that she is focused,  knows her plants inside out, and is passionate about doing the right work. She also completely practices what she preaches- Cornelia does “invisible mending”, restoring and building in landscapes around buildings in such an extraordinary way that you never knew the landscape did not exist before the building was built.

Cornelia had a famous partnership with Vancouver architect Arthur Erickson among many other world-wide consultancies and…

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