Lawrence Halprin, one of the most important masters of landscape, albeit little known in Italy, explored the collective dimension of the creative work and the relationship between nature and humanity, lending landscape architecture a democratic and holistic dimension. This article seeks to understand the legacy of some of these avant-garde experiences, which the maestro explored for several decades, through new public spaces, workshops, master plans, and prolific writings on the public affairs of his time. By surveying the story and the intellectual development of two of the best-known projects, Sea Ranch and Seattle Freeway Park, this essay seeks to cast light on the landscape designer’s potential role in the dialogue with the local community and to show how the planning dimension fitted into the participatory process. These issues are often neglected in contemporary landscape debates, which are much more oriented to landscape policies than to the experiences in the field of participation over the last fifty years in English-speaking countries.
Keywords: Participation; Sea Ranch; Seattle Freeway Park