A Positive Force on the Boston Scene and Scenery
The Landscape Design Council (LDC) of Massachusetts announced Sept. 7, 2016 that Renata von Tscharner, founder and president of the Charles River Conservancy (thecharles.org), is the 2016 winner of the Landscape Design Council Award for Excellence, given in recognition of outstanding civic accomplishment.
“Renata von Tscharner created the Charles River Conservancy and developed it into a significant force for making the river a beautiful, clean recreation resource for the entire region,” said Chris Cotter, LDC chairman.
Organized in 1963, the LDC operates under the auspices of National Garden Clubs, and is a special-subjects group of the Garden Club Federation of Massachusetts.
In 2000, von Tscharner founded the Charles River Conservancy to promote the active use and vitality of the parklands along the river, increase recreational and cultural opportunities and work to ensure the beauty and integrity of this public resource.
Each year about 2,000 Conservancy volunteers help to renew and maintain the Charles River parklands. The Conservancy also collaborates with other organizations and coalitions to advocate for increased state funding for better access and good planning and management practices to enhance the landscape, structures, pathways and amenities of the Charles River basin.
As president of the Charles River Conservancy, von Tscharner oversees all aspects of the organization, which has a staff of 6 and more than 15,000 supporters and volunteers. She has decades of experience in not-for-profit leadership, project and fiscal management, marketing, and organizational development. She trained as an architect and urban designer in Switzerland, earning a degree in architecture and city planning from the Institute of Technology in Zurich, Switzerland, working in Paris and London, and as assistant city planner in Bern, Switzerland. Her accomplishments include working on the Covent Garden Market in London, coauthoring several books, hosting television shows, and teaching at a number of U.S. colleges.
Her professional life has focused on planning and improving public spaces. In 1979, she cofounded the Townscape Institute, a not-for-profit public-interest planning organization that strives for visual coherence of the buildings, streets and spaces that make up Cambridge.