• Empty Pedestals: Narratives on History, Race and Public Design
    Kofi Boone and M. Elen Deming
    Tania Allen, C.L. Bohannon, W. Fitzhugh Brundage, Elgin Cleckley, Walter Hood, Zena Howard, Blair LM Kelley, Bryan C. Lee Jr., Sue Mobley, Sara Queen, Chantel Rush, Richard Schein, Dayton Schroeter, Dell Upton, and David Wilson
    Louisiana State University Press, 2024
    Kofi Boone & M. Elen Deming

C.L. Bohannon, "Deep Map: Empty Pedestal?," n.d. Digital photograph. Courtesy Abby Potter

Confederate monuments are less historical markers of events than historical forms of political speech. Such objects are designed to impress, persuade, and recruit new members to support a social identity or position. Recent fractious debates over protecting monuments offer a stage for political polarization to play upon. However, contemporary designers are busy constructing an alternative toolkit of strategic formal and symbolic strategies that can effectively neuter oppressive public narratives. This book brings that contemporary work together for the first time. It is organized into three synthetic and analytical sections: 1) understanding monuments—values, themes, and theses; 2) heavily illustrated case studies of design responses to “empty pedestals;” and 3) a final section on “medicinal design” for healing communities. The work is intended to support designers and artists working in the public realm as well as planners, policymakers, philanthropists, and others engaged with civic space at many scales.

Kofi Boone is the Joseph D. Moore Distinguished Professor and University Faculty Scholar at North Carolina State University. Boone is a Detroit native and a graduate of the University of Michigan. His work is in the overlap between landscape architecture and environmental justice with specializations in democratic design and interpreting cultural landscapes. He has published broadly and is the winner of student and professional American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) awards including the Jot D. Carpenter Teaching Medal—the highest teaching award in the field of landscape architecture. He is the founding director of the Just Communities Lab, president of the Landscape Architecture Foundation, and serves on the boards of Black Landscape Architects Network and the Land Loss Prevention Project.

M. Elen Deming is professor of landscape architecture and founding director of the Doctor of Design program in the College of Design at North Carolina State University. Deming holds master of landscape architecture and doctor of design degrees from Harvard University Graduate School of Design as well as a master’s degree in art and architectural history from Syracuse University. She has taught design research, studios, history, and theory for thirty years. Deming coauthored Landscape Architecture Research with Simon Swaffield (Wiley, 2011), and edited Values in Landscape Architecture and Environmental Design (LSU, 2015), and Landscape Observatory: The Work of Terence Harkness (ORO/AR&D, 2017). She has served as editor of Landscape Journal (University of Wisconsin Press, 2002–09), and vice-president for research for the Landscape Architecture Foundation (2016–19). Her writing is divided between environmental humanities work on cultural landscapes, and practice-based design research.