Landscape Architecture Student Honored with ASLA Merit Award 

Iman Moradi Naftchali, a student in the Master of Landscape Architecture program, was recently honored with a Merit Award from the Central States chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects. Moradi received this award for “Bud to Bloom,” a revitalization project he completed as part of his master’s studio course with Abdulmueen Bogis

“Bud to Bloom” is a transformation of the JFK neighborhood in Oklahoma City, which has been blighted by decades of redlining, disinvestment and destructive urban renewal practices. Inspired by decades of activism from civic leaders like Clara Luper and Martin Luther King, Jr., Moradi’s project focuses on reintegrating the neighborhood into the urban fabric of the city and mitigating the burden of urban heat island effects. 

“Bud to Bloom” site plan.

Moradi worked with resident stakeholders to ensure that this project aligned with community needs and amplified the voices of marginalized residents. He also collaborated with his peers to assess temperatures and climate conditions through various data collection technologies such as thermal imaging and GPS tracking.

After conducting in-depth research and community engagement efforts, Moradi developed the comprehensive design concept for “Bud to Bloom.” This reimagined community space features a bold design with greenhouses, gathering places and outdoor play areas to foster a sense of community and civic pride.  

According to Moradi, the project’s transformative potential for the JFK neighborhood serves as a beacon of hope for marginalized communities. Through collaboration, innovation and a steadfast commitment to justice, Moradi aspires to create a more inclusive and sustainable future for all. 

“Receiving the merit award in the Central States of ASLA is a tremendous honor for me. This award represents a significant milestone in my career and serves as a testament to the hard work, dedication and passion I have for Landscape Architecture,” said Moradi. 

“To me, this award means more than just recognition; it symbolizes the validation of my efforts by my peers and the wider community. Knowing that my work is valued and respected in such a prestigious setting is incredibly gratifying and motivating.” 

Featured Image: Moradi (center) with Nate Byro (left), president of the Iowa chapter of ASLA, and SuLin Kotowicz (right), president of ASLA.