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Queer Landscapes is a project led by Sami Melynas Sikanas, based in New York City. She is a landscape architectural designer at Marvel Architects, Landscape Architects, and Urban Designers. Before Marvel, she previously worked for W Architecture and Landscape Architecture and Future Green Studio. Her professional work has been focused on the urban, public realm.

Born and raised in rural western Michigan, she was imbued with an appreciation for nature, which continued into her college studies at the University of Michigan, where she gained her undergraduate degree in Environmental and Urban Studies. She continued at UM’s School of Natural Resources (now School for Environment and Sustainability) for her graduate degree in Landscape Architecture. During her time at UM, she interrogated how her identity informed her design work, which birthed the Queer Landscapes project.  

Sami has spoken at the national American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) conference in 2019 with her colleagues Addison Vawters and Emilio Martinez-Poppe, delivering a lecture titled Queer Urbanism and Design: Past, Preset, Future. The trio brought their lecture to the 2019 Hindsight Conference, organized by APA-NYM’s Diversity Committee.

We are not alone in our efforts. There are other projects in the realm of architecture, landscape architecture, urban design, interior design, and art that also view their respective fields through a queer lens. However, we argue that, for the most part, queer landscape architectural design critique is still lacking. We may be missing important collaborators and contributing voices to this discussion—please reach out and join us in our efforts!


Queer Landscapes is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature.  

Many thanks to Dean Hubbs, her Introduction to Queer Theory professor, who encouraged her along the way.

Graphic and Web Design by Riley Hooker.