New York, NY, January 17, 2019—Van Alen Institute has named Mark Johnson, FASLA, President of Civitas, to its board of trustees. The appointment reintroduces the landscape design discipline to the Institute’s board and increases its membership to a total of 19 leading practitioners, academics, and other professionals across the fields of design, architecture, urban planning, and development.

“I have admired Van Alen Institute for many years – as a place where smart minds consider the future of cities, the regions that surround them and the systems that support them,” said Mark Johnson, Co-Chair of Van Alen’s Climate Council. “As a landscape architect, I am acutely concerned with how people and nature come together to make communities healthier, more engaging, more resilient, and just. I am honored to become part of this great organization whose mission aligns so closely with my own.”

Van Alen Institute Board Chair Jared Della Valle, CEO and founder of Alloy Development, said, “As a leader in landscape architecture, Mark brings this important discipline back to our board and broadens our outlook on the opportunities for design to address the most pressing challenges of our day. I look forward to his point of view adding further depth to our discussions.”
Van Alen’s Interim Executive Director Elissa Black said, “With his longstanding commitment to adaptable and resilient urbanism, Mark expands our capacity to understand how our changing climate affects cities, landscapes, and regions, and what design can do to mitigate its impact on the people who live there. We are grateful for Mark’s support and welcome his increased involvement.”

In 2018, Mark was instrumental in founding Van Alen’s Climate Council, a platform for professional development and exchange that investigates critical climate change-related issues. The Council was created to inspire interdisciplinary design projects that can improve the environment and promote healthy communities. Through curated trips to vulnerable environments, the Council aims to produce mindset changes about climate issues. The Climate Council’s most recent session took place in the Central Valley of California last week–January 9-11, 2019.

A versatile designer and prescient thought leader, Mark has worked at the forefront of adaptable and resilient design, landscape architecture, and urbanism for over 30 years. Since he co-founded Civitas in 1984, Mark has served on numerous juries for national awards and competitions, lectured internationally on design and public health, and was Chair of the Editorial Committee of Landscape Architecture Magazine.

Van Alen’s Board of Trustees embodies the transformative leadership and innovative programs that have defined the Institute’s role in New York City and throughout the world for more than a century. As Van Alen enters its 125th anniversary year in 2019, it continues to collaborate with its international network of architects, landscape architects, urban planners, designers, and other professionals creating our built environment, cultivating a hub for interdisciplinary initiatives that use design to catalyze positive change in cities.

About Van Alen Institute
At Van Alen, we believe design can transform cities, landscapes, and regions to improve people’s lives. We collaborate with communities, scholars, policymakers, and professionals on local and global initiatives that rigorously investigate the most pressing social, cultural, and ecological challenges of tomorrow. Building on more than a century of experience, we develop cross-disciplinary research, provocative public programs, and inventive design competitions. For more information, visit

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Media contacts: Sarah Haun, Van Alen Institute:, t 212 924 7000 x12
Anne Parsons for Civitas,, t 303 548 4611