Environmental Science Associates (ESA) is proud to announce that Patricia Fonseca Flores, ASLA, LEED AP, has joined the firm as Sustainable Design Director with our Community Development team. With more than 15 years of experience managing a wide range of urban and landscape design as well as planning projects centered on sustainability, Patricia will be based in San Francisco to develop community resiliency strategies, lead sustainable design, and enhance consulting services across the company.
Patricia’s hire marks an exciting development for the firm, as the Sustainable Design Director is a brand-new position created by ESA to advance resilience and urban design solutions tailored to the priorities, culture, and vulnerabilities of communities.
“It fulfills a long-standing need to deepen our urban design skill set, and to more effectively knit together ESA’s substantial expertise in community resilience and adaptation,” said Dan Dameron, ESA’s Northern California Community Development Director. “Patricia’s focus on innovative, science-based landscape architecture and urban design, combined with her deep experience leading multidisciplinary planning efforts and communicating complex technical issues, will help us further empower our clients and communities.”
In this position, Patricia will incorporate sustainable design into ESA projects and broaden company strategies to address climate change, sea-level rise, and coastal planning and to create resilient and healthy communities and environments.
“Communities need resilience planning and resilience design in order to get ahead of the impacts that can negatively affect them. Whether it’s local recurring and widespread fires, drought, or increased frequency of storms, each location is experiencing a different effect from climate change. So, what we can provide to communities is a proactive approach about planning ahead and being able to adapt to it,” she said.
Much of Patricia’s ethos involves turning to nature-based solutions to help mitigate climate change impacts within communities. She is particularly interested in pursuits that implement biomimicry and incorporate zero-waste practices.
With her background leading multidisciplinary teams of architects, urban designers, planners, environmental scientists, and engineers—most recently as Landscape Architecture Principal with AECOM—Patricia will coordinate and collaborate with colleagues from practice areas across Northern and Southern California, the Pacific Northwest, and the Southeast to help optimize ESA’s broad range of consulting services.
“I think what I’m really looking forward to is building on the excellent environmental science reputation that ESA already has—from our community planning to environmental, hydrological, and coastal work. There’s already so much multidisciplinary collaboration within that, which really resonates with me because I think science-led design is needed on every project,” Patricia said. “Projects that require sustainable and innovative solutions have to come from the knowledge of all of these different experts, so being able to continue to build those bridges across disciplines is one of the things that I’m most excited about.”
Patricia’s extensive expertise includes developing adaptation strategies and building resilient design across urban mixed-use, civic and public spaces, and waterfront open space. She has developed designs such as Crane Cove Park and climate resiliency plans such as the Islais Creek Southeast Mobility Adaptation Strategy and the Ocean Beach Master Plan.
In Latin America, she also designed the expansion of the Lima International Airport in Peru and collaborated on the Schools for Resilience Case Study in Cali, Colombia. Her latest project revitalizing the 7-acre historic industrial maritime site at Crane Cove Park along the San Francisco waterfront earned a Merit Award for General Design from the Northern California Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA NCC). Her work has also been recognized by the National Association of Environmental Professionals (NAEP), Association of Environmental Professionals (AEP), and The WaterfrontCenter.
Patricia earned her master’s degree in landscape architecture from the University of California, Berkeley, and her professional degree in architecture from the University of Costa Rica in San Jose, Costa Rica. She has guest lectured at the UC Berkeley College of Environmental Design, California College for the Arts, Academy of Art University, and the University of Costa Rica School of Architecture.
She is a member of ASLA and is certified as a LEED Accredited Professional.