Living Roofs Inc.

Maria Lopez-Ibanez

Osgood Landscape Architecture


Rachel K. Clegg

Robinson Design Engineers



ROOTS IN NATURE. Both Kate and Kristen grew up with deep connections to nature. Kate ran wild on her family’s farm in rural Pennsylvania. Kristen spent countless hours around her grandparents’ flower business as well as frequently hiking and camping with her family. In college, Kate kept her hands in the Earth by studying archaeology while Kristen focused on environmental science and policy.

EXPLORING THE URBAN. With our identities rooted in nature as children, we both grew to love the vibrancy and beauty of cities in adulthood. As civic-minded and collaborative dreamers, we appreciate the diversity and openness of urban places, from big cities to the village square. 

THE SEED OF AN IDEA. Long before Roots First was formed, we studied design together, spending evenings in our program’s urban ecology club and a summer in Prague and Berlin, exploring our mutual love of these cities and their underlying ecologies. The 'environment of cities' that we discussed in theory and found together in our travels spoke to us as the way to link people to the healing power of the natural world. 

RE-IMAGINING THE FUTURE. Nature experiences make people healthier and happier, and they help us feel more grounded. All of us need nature, yet the connection between people and nature is fractured. In the context of a changing climate, with significant local environmental pressures, we find ourselves longing for ways to heal the earth around us. Kate and Kristen founded Roots First Design with the hope of doing just that- connecting people to nature, right where people live. 

At Roots First Design, we build environments that are ecologically resilient and beautiful. We create places that help to enhance biodiversity, purify the air we breathe, and clean the water in our streams and rivers. We design experiences that bring us closer to nature.