Danielle Desilets, RLA
Associate Principal &
Director of Historic Preservation
Cornell University, Master of
Landscape Architecture, 2004
University of Rhode Island, Bachelor of Landscape Architecture, 1999
Massachusetts Notary Public
Alliance for Cultural Landscape Preservation
National Trust for Historic Preservation
Ms. Desilets has been practicing landscape architecture for more than 20 years with a particular focus on historic and cultural landscape preservation, campus planning and design, and passive park and trail design, as well as the full spectrum of the profession. She has been project manager on a wide variety of projects from trail system planning to design for accessibility and sustainability. Danielle joined KZLA in 2014.
Danielle has been the project manager for more than 25 public park and open space projects since joining KZLA in 2014. Many of these were for the Boston Parks & Recreation Department working with the Urban Wilds and the Historic Burying Grounds Initiatives. She was the project manager for the renovation of Medal of Honor Park in South Boston. This project was a revitalization of a 6-acre park which functioned as a neighborhood resource that provided an expansive playground, gathering spaces, open greens, and the nation’s first memorial to Vietnam Veterans.
Recently, Danielle has managed the rehabilitation of Prospect Hill Park for the City of Somerville, MA. The construction was completed in late 2020 and renovated this neighborhood passive park with national significance; it was the site of the flying of the first American flag on January 1, 1776 by General George Washington. The Grand Union flag is still flown to this day from the commemorative tower. For the Town of Arlington, Danielle is managing the improvements to the Arlington Reservoir, its beach and 1-mile perimeter trail. Improvements of the $3.5M project also include installing a new porous pavement parking area, boat launch, overlook/fishing pier, and expansive play area. The project is slated to begin construction in spring 2021.
Danielle’s involvement in National Park Service projects includes the Comprehensive Trail Plan for Gettysburg National Military Park and Eisenhower National Historic Site, in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. This was a year-long master planning effort that evaluated the 40 miles of existing trails in the 6,700 acres of park land and proposed new trail connections, interpretive hubs, and trailheads in order to make the expansive landscape more accessible and traversable for hikers, bikers, and other non-auto-dependent visitors.
In 2017, KZLA completed the University of Rhode Island’s Landscape Master Plan for the Kingston campus, for which Danielle was the project manager. Overarching guiding principles and design guidelines were established to guide development recommendations. Recommendations are divided into green infrastructure, historic preservation, open space, complete street, pedestrian, and stormwater recommendations, in addition to important study areas. The project also divided the campus into discrete districts based on land use and created recommendations for each of these districts.
Massachusetts Historical Commission, Preservation Award for Rehabilitation & Restoration, Granary Burying Grounds Entrance Gate and Fence, 2016
Presentations and Publications:
Presentation: Equity & Inclusion in Public Engagement, University of Rhode Island Department of Landscape Architecture Lecture Series, September 2020
Presentation: Hiking, Biking & Bareback Riding in Gettysburg National Military Park. Annual Meeting of the Alliance for Historic Landscape Preservation, Calgary, Canada, May 2017
Publication: “Boston’s Urban Wilds”, Fieldbook. Issue 8, Fall/Winter 2016. Boston, MA: Boston Society of Landscape Architects. 2016
Presentation: The Roosevelt Farm Lane in Hyde Park, New York, Annual Meeting of the Alliance for Historic Landscape Preservation, St. Louis, MO, May 2009