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Green justice

Green justice

Above: Photo courtesy of Kristin Antkoviak

When Kristin Antkoviak moved into a neighborhood of “tiny houses” in downtown Phoenix, she noticed there were no trees along the streets. She also noticed air qual - ity was poor, and neighbors didn’t appear to be building a sense of community. At the time, Antkoviak was earning a master’s degree in landscape architecture at ASU’s Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, where she was developing the idea that land - scape design is one way to address social inequities found in poor neighborhoods. So Antkoviak set out to connect her neigh - bors with nature by organizing a day to plant trees. The event was so successful that they held a second one. Antkoviak went door to door asking residents what they would like to see in their community; they ultimately planted a pollinator garden and 10 kinds of native trees. Antkoviak believes these events foster neighborhood pride. “I think these native plants can give a healing aspect to the community,” she told ASU Now, the university’s online news publication. How - ever, her neighborhood isn’t all she hopes to change. Antkoviak envisions a new type of landscape architect, one who works directly with people in neighborhoods to help them understand native trees, water use and how natural spaces can help rectify environmental injustices. With the aid of scholarships from the Paul H. Klett, Gertrude Claypool, Earl and Ellen Davis and Katherine K. Herberger fami - lies, Antkoviak was able to devote time to her groundbreaking volunteer work. Due in part to those efforts, HIDA named Antkoviak an outstanding graduate student in 2018.