New environmental content hub by Azrieli School graduate aims to reach BIPOC audience

March 24, 2022

An alumna of Carleton University’s architecture school has received a grant from the Landscape Architecture Canada Foundation toward the creation of a content hub for environmental communications. 


Aliza Sovani, who grew up in Ottawa and now lives in France, graduated from the Bachelor of Architectural Studies program in 2012. She went on to complete a master’s in landscape architecture at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design in 2015. 

She and her sister Aliya Jasmine Sovani, an environmental journalist based in Los Angeles, are developing an environmentally focused digital content hub called EarthTones, in response to the Landscape Architecture Foundation’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion call-to-action. 


“My international academic and professional design training has given me the awareness that there is a global knowledge gap on non-Western and essential broader perspectives on the history of architecture, landscape, and urban form,” says Aliza Sovani. 


 “With recent discourse in architecture schools and practice on climate change, systemic racial injustice, and the global pandemic, we are at a point in time where we need new frameworks for the design and planning of our built environment,” she says. 

Aliza Sovani (left) and Aliya Jasmine Sovani (right).

“In order to imagine new futures in today’s context, we require a larger body of knowledge on our relationship to the environment beyond the predominant Euro-centric values system we so often engage with. EarthTones aims to be a vehicle for this.” 


The sisters were among eight recipients of the Landscape Architecture Canada Foundation’s 2022 annual grants program in support of research, communication, and scholarship. They received $4,750 and are currently seeking investors. 


More information on the grant, jury, and other recipients can be found here. 

“Our hope is to be extremely accessible to a young BIPOC audience,” they say. “The reason for this focus lies in current data, which indicates that communities of colour are most impacted by environmental issues and the climate crisis, and they are statistically less knowledgeable about it. 


“We believe knowledge is power in order to uproot systems of oppression, and we want to close that gap.” 


The sisters hope to launch the site later this year. 


“EarthTones uplifts interdisciplinary environmentally-focused storytellers from around the world, using handheld mobile devices, as the central medium for creation and consumption of content,” they write.  


“It gives a look inside global cultural landscapes, amplifying historically underrepresented voices and bringing new perspectives on decolonization within the field of design, as well as the history of our environment and our relationships to it.”