Skip to main content
College of Environment and Design

CED Alumni awarded ASLA Honor Award

Matt Whitaker (MLA ’01) and Thomas Brown (BLA ’10) of WMWA Landscape Architects have been awarded the ASLA Honor Award for their work on the Market + Georgia Public Place project. The project, located around the historic Patten Towers in downtown Chattanooga, was the result of a collaboration between WMWA and local artist Genesis the Greykid. Through an approach that “elevated the role of engagement as the primary design method”, the team was able to implement a project that is reflective of the needs of Chattanooga’s traditionally underserved residents.  

Market + Georgia ProjectFigure 1: Market + Georgia Project (Image Credit: WMWA Landscape Architects  

The project was first conceived as part of the Chattanooga Innovation District Framework Plan in 2018. Local planners had identified the space around Patten Towers – a senior public housing complex – as lacking in public amenities despite the fact that it is a popular gathering spot for residents and visitors. WMWA and Genesis the Greykid were selected as the design team due to their proposal of a “community-led design process that was of, by, and for the community.” The team’s approach “abandoned the typical dichotomy between the design firm and client”, instead opted for a “genuine partnership between diverse individuals” in the ideation of the project.  

The primary method for generating community input involved a series of “micro sessions”. Over the course of a week, the design team visited the project site for two hours a day for informal conversations with the community. This provided residents and community members the opportunity to share neighborhood insights and their lived experiences openly and freely, without any pretense. Afterwards, participants were encouraged to “creatively channel the themes of those initial conversations through artistic expression” such as poetry, storytelling, and sketching. Additional creative exercises throughout engagement process facilitated a process of visioning for the site’s future, which directly fed into the final design for the site.  

 Market + Georgia Project


The design team continued to engage with volunteers, local artists, and residents when it came time for implementation. This collaborative approach was critical in bringing the plan to life. Furthermore, it allowed residents to “reclaim their right to these public spaces and establish a reciprocal relationship” that more openly “invited [them] to move between these areas without hesitation.”  

For more information about the Market + Georgia project, visit To learn more about WMWA Landscape Architects, visit or follow them on Instagram at @wmwala 



© University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602