Alumni Highlight: Subhashini Gamagedara

We recently caught up with 2018 Master’s of Landscape Architecture (MLA) graduate Subhashini Gamagedara! She told us about what she’s been doing since graduation, recent projects, and more.

Gamagedara graduated from the OU MLA program in Spring 2018. Soon after, she joined the City of Oklahoma City as a Park Planner.

“It has been a wonderful opportunity to not only apply what I learned in the classroom to solve problems in the real world but also to acquire new skills, to step out of my comfort zone, and to explore new opportunities.”

– Gamagedara

Through her work as a park planner, she is involved in a diverse range of tasks. Just a few of those responsibilities include:

  • Conceptual phase to the construction document production phase
  • Project management
  • Conducting research
  • Information management
  • Production of information products for various purposes and audiences
  • Collaborations with city staff and private partners on projects

Currently, she is working towards obtaining a licensure in landscape architecture which includes the 4-part exam and a 3-year apprenticeship under a licensed landscape architect.  As a future goal, she plans to broaden her horizons to be able to address pressing environmental issues through the work she does, she said.

Earlier this year, she won two awards for projects completed during her time at OU at the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) Central States conference held in St. Louis, Missouri.

ASLA Central states is comprised of six state chapters that encompass the eight US states of North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma and Arkansas.

Project 01: Holistic Compassion

“Holistic Compassion claimed an award in the Communication Category,” Gamagedara said. “The submission was the speech I gave at the OU Three Minute Thesis Competition, which was among the top 10 graduate project presentations. I used the ‘Three Minute Thesis‘ platform to enlighten my audiences about the following:

1).  The responsibilities and capabilities of Landscape Architects.  

2). The position of Landscape Architecture as the middle ground for solving issues that are environmental, social, and economic concerns all at the same time.

3). The importance of creating a positive shift in our thinking as a culture for a healthier future starting from the younger generations.”

“I wanted this message to be heard by not only the crowd gathered at the auditorium on the day of the presentation but also viewers of the video that might include students interested in a career in Landscape Architecture or design, planning, and construction professionals who may have overlooked Landscape Architects when putting together multidisciplinary teams,” Gamagedara explained.

Project 02: Healing Spring Creek: A Community and a Watershed Based Approach

Her graduate project, ‘Healing Spring Creek,’ won in the Research Category and she took a by-fold approach in its execution.

“First, using my background in humanities and social sciences I wanted part of my project to address the connection between the people and place to the issue at hand—the degraded water quality of Spring Creek in Edmond, Oklahoma,” said Gamagedara.

“The first part of my project is the narrative of Edmond and its people,” said Gamagedara. “Then it transitions into how the process of city building, the growth of the population and the insensitivity towards our environment, led to the impairment of steams, creeks and lakes. The goal was to make the community own up to the damage caused over decades and take action to minimize future pollution of the waterways.”

“Second, using the skills and knowledge gained throughout the MLA program, I replicated a GIS study to identify the most optimal places to implement nature-based water purification systems (Green Infrastructure) in the Arcadia sub-watershed, she said. 

“Then I designed four different Green Infrastructure Systems for four chosen location to demonstrate how the human experience of a place can be enhanced with such sustainable technologies while addressing issues like water quality degradation.”

Photos featured include Gamagedara’s Student Merit Awards for her projects at the 2019 ASLA Central States Conference and are provided by Gamagedara and conference organizers.