Announcements 02.11.2021

Meet Jonathan Boyce, The Nagle-Johnson Family Fellow from the Harvard Graduate School of Design

We’re honored to highlight Jonathan Boyce, this year’s Nagle-Johnson Family Fellow from the Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD). Established by Ralph Johnson, our Global Design Director, and Kathleen Nagle, the fellowship provides financial aid to students with the aim of expanding prospects to underrepresented members of the GSD community.

In his own words, Jonathan shares his passion for urban sustainability and the intersection of social justice, ecological restoration, and green infrastructure:

In his first semester, Jonathan's work focused on addressing social intersections of landscape design.

When I moved from Barbados to Brooklyn, I attended one of the roughest high schools in one of the roughest neighborhoods in New York City at the time. A message that always resounded with me was something I learned in 11th-grade. My school brought in a community organizer to speak to the entire student body of young men. The speaker told us 1 in 6 of us sitting in the room would either be dead, in jail, or single parents by the age of 25. Unfortunately, by the time I graduated high school, many of these statistical predictions had come true. With the help of financial aid funds like the Nagle-Johnson Family Fellowship, students like myself are given the opportunity and chance not to become statistics. The impact of such contributions could never truly be measured.

This semester at the GSD has been very challenging but has provided me with many opportunities for growth. I made a great friend within my program, and we have worked together to question and expand the conventions of traditional landscape architecture and its intersections with key political issues of our time. These are the people who drive and inspire me. I have also connected with several incredible faculty mentors who have supported and encouraged me in ways that I have never known or expected. I am grateful that I was able to make these connections despite a remote learning semester. None of this would have been possible had I not received acceptance and financial aid to attend.

I am sincerely and profusely grateful for the contributions from the Nagle-Johnson Family Fellowship Fund. Thank you truly for your generosity.

My Research Interests

I have always been drawn to nature and green spaces. I was born and raised in Barbados, surrounded by natural beauty every day, and immigrated to Brooklyn, NY with my dad when I was fifteen years old. In Brooklyn, nature was a completely different experience and drove my interest in ecological restoration and green infrastructure during my undergraduate years. More recently, my interests have developed to include the intersections of social justice issues such as race and class with climate change and ecology. I believe that landscape architects will play a key role in addressing two of the most important issues of our time: racism and the climate crisis. I am excited to bring new perspectives to the field and help shape the future.

My Work

This semester, I completed First Semester Architecture Core: PROJECT, which focused on addressing some social intersections of landscape design, including designing a space for healing and a space for protest. I am most proud of my final project, which focused on the impact of gentrification and how the landscape can begin to address this. My design proposal created a space for healing the wounds of gentrification through fostering impactful community interactions and relations. I used community gardens and plazas for events to help return a sense of ownership to long-term community members and grow economic support for local small businesses. These spaces also allow students, one of the driving forces of gentrification, to learn the value of the community in which they are moving.