Karl Linn, Life & Work

Karl Linn (1923 - 2005) landscape architect, psychologist, and educator, spent the last forty-four years of his life, guiding the transformation of abandoned vacant lots and drab institutional settings into vibrant community spaces. He was inspired by the fact that when people come together to build or transform the places they share, they also build community. 


Learn more about Karl in Wikipedia; and learn more about the concept of the Commons, which was a guiding principle and a central theme for Karl throughout his life.

Watch and listen to Karl reflecting on his life and work in Karl Linn's Journey, a Digital Media Biography by Verona Fonté. 


We hope that information about Karl's life and work will inspire you to get involved in collaborative efforts to build community through environment.

Within this site you'll find links to some of the commons projects that Karl shepherded into being in the Westbrae neighborhood of Berkeley, California, where he lived in his later years. EcoHouse is now a project of the Ecology Center, and the other projects are being managed and expanded by community residents.


Karl Linn in conversation with Louis Kahn, May 14, 1965

Karl developed a friendship with architect Louis Kahn when the two men were teaching at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. They got in the habit of meeting at least once a year for a day of dialog. This is a transcript of one of those conversations taped in 1965. 

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"Afterword" to Karl's book Building Commons and Community by his wife, Nicole Milner

Nicole reflects on Karl's vision and his way of working with people and projects. 

"Afterword" by Nicole Milner
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"Building Commons and Community"

New Village Press