Nurturing Community Spaces with Ecological Solutions

Image of a blonde woman smiling with arms folded across her chest. The text next to her reads "Community Practice Feature. "We don't just plant flowers-we design the places that make life vibrant" - Melanie Anderson, ASLA Lanscape Architect"

At age seven, Melanie Anderson, ASLA decided she wanted to be an architect.

Frequent visits to her family’s cabin in Cuba, NY led her to develop a deep appreciation for wild environments. Then, after seeing Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater for the first time, a strong desire to blend nature’s beauty with man’s ingenuity was born.

Today, as a Landscape Architect in CPL Buffalo, Anderson does just that.

Whether she’s planning rain gardens, revamping streetscapes, laying out playgrounds or beautifying waterways, she digs deep to brainstorm ground-based solutions that give way to stunning outdoor spaces, all while supporting “green” infrastructure and delivering enriched recreational experiences for all.

“We don’t just plant flowers—we design the places that make life vibrant,” Anderson said. “Our work involves analyzing the land as it relates to the built environment, and then leveraging that understanding to create scenery that stands the test of time.”

Anderson has applied this philosophy to countless Community Practice assignments that require expertise in park and waterfront design, trail and greenway development, and land planning. Her latest projects involve the revitalization of Fireman’s Park in Lancaster, NY; rain gardens for the Town Park in Evans, NY; and master planning for a grandiose splash pad in Olean, NY.

Image show side by side renderings of Fireman's Park in Lancaster, NY

Renderings of Fireman’s Park in Lancaster, NY.

“Smart landscape design preserves the vitality of our communities,” she explained. “By striking the right ecological balance, we can prevent flooding, promote urban biodiversity and keep pollutants in our neighborhoods under control.”

As a foundational member of CPL’s Sustainability Team, Anderson also plays a major role in championing high-performance design practices that reduce energy use and promote carbon reduction. When she isn’t juggling projects, she serves as the Chair of the Architecture, Construction and Engineering (ACE) Mentor Program of Greater New York, joining forces with other professionals to teach local students about the industry through fun, hands-on activities.

She says her continual goal is to educate others about the benefits of eco-conscious design.

“I always encourage people to ask questions and get involved,” she said. “The more we understand, the more we can do to nurture forward-looking, environmentally-friendly communities.”

Jenny works with the marketing team as our Internal Communications Specialist. She is primarily responsible for working with leadership, business partners and internal teams to write and edit content that establishes organizational messages and keeps team members apprised of big-picture developments. She applies her exceptional writing skills toward developing and tactfully implementing communications strategies and features that inform, inspire and engage people across the organization and beyond.

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