Studio-MLA Named to Fast Company’s Annual List of the World’s Most Innovative Companies for 2023

Fast Company

March 2, 2023

Studio-MLA Named to Fast Company’s Annual List of the World’s Most Innovative Companies for 2023

California-based landscape architecture, urban design, and planning firm Studio-MLA joins the ranks of OpenAI, Disney, 3XN, and more

[Los Angeles and San Francisco] (March 2, 2023) — Studio-MLA has been named to Fast Company’s prestigious annual list of the World’s Most Innovative Companies for 2023.

This year’s list highlights the businesses at the forefront of their industries, paving the way for the innovations of tomorrow. Studio-MLA joins 590 organizations across 54 sectors who are raising the bar with forward-thinking ideas that address the complex challenges of our time.

“Studio-MLA seeks to disrupt the hierarchy of a conventional design practice through a strategic framework we call ‘Advocacy by Design.’ By centering community concerns and supporting our clients and city agencies, each project we take on is elevated into a vehicle for environmental and social advocacy,” says founder and president Mia Lehrer, FASLA.

Studio-MLA has had an exceptional year. On the heels of winning the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum 2021 National Design Award for Landscape Architecture, the strong and energetic team debuted SoFi Stadium in collaboration with HKS at Super Bowl LVI. Situated at the former racetrack, SoFi Stadium sits at the heart of Hollywood Park, forming a tapestry of nearly 300 acres of mixed-use development in Inglewood, California. The design has been heralded as “revolutionary” for its elevation of a sports venue to a series of highly porous, indoor/outdoor open spaces that combine with 25 acres of publicly accessible park lands including a 6-acre lake designed to recycle over 80% of the site’s stormwater runoff.

Studio-MLA’s ‘Advocacy by Design’ initiative aims to revitalize the Los Angeles River. The Azure AZ Award-winning Upper Los Angeles River and Tributaries Plan (ULART), which was unanimously approved in 2020, quantifies and tracks efforts to ensure regional equity and resiliency aims. When fully implemented, the plan will deliver over 1,000 miles of shaded green streets and trails, plant and nurture 250,000 trees, capture 8,000 acre-feet of stormwater annually, and provide significant carbon sequestration and air pollutant removal to 1.53 million residents who live along the often-ignored upper portion of the river and experience higher levels of pollution and cumulative health risk, lower incomes, and a severe lack of public amenities and green spaces.

In South Dallas, Studio-MLA is working with a robust team of collaborators on the design of Fair Park Community Park, a new 14-acre public park to put the “Park” designed to preserve and cultivate community identity. At San Francisco’s Buchanan Mall, Studio-MLA is deploying the Buchanan Mall Memory Walk, a cultural expression in the historic Fillmore district to tell the stories of the neighborhood through a narrative of art and landscape. Multiple new cultural landscape projects are now in construction, such as the 11-acre Lucas Museum of Narrative Art with MAD Architects in L.A.’s Exposition Park, and Destination Crenshaw, a 1.3-mile-long linear outdoor heritage museum preserving the history and culture of Black Los Angeles with Perkins & Will. From these large-scale endeavors to community parks, Studio-MLA emphasizes design excellence, measurable performance, and social equity.

Fast Company’s editors and writers sought out the companies making the biggest strides around the globe. They also judged nominations received through their application process.

The World’s Most Innovative Companies is Fast Company’s signature franchise and one of its most highly anticipated editorial efforts of the year. It provides a firsthand look at the inspiring and innovative efforts of companies across all sectors of the economy.

“What a strange and thrilling year it has been to honor this year’s Most Innovative Companies. This year’s list compiles some of the most cutting-edge groundbreakers who are changing our world every single day, from legacy organizations like McDonald’s to upstarts like MrBeast and
institutions such as NASA. Everyone on this list does something completely, uniquely different, yet, they all have one thing in common: innovation,” said Fast Company editor-in-chief Brendan Vaughan.

Fast Company will host its third annual Most Innovative Companies Summit on April 19 and 20. The virtual summit celebrates the Most Innovative Companies in business and provides an inside look at cutting-edge business trends and what it takes to innovate in 2023. Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies issue (March/April 2023) is available online here, as well as in-app form via iTunes, and on newsstands beginning March 14. The hashtag is #FCMostInnovative.

Founded in 1995, Studio-MLA is a design studio that integrates landscape architecture, urban design, and planning to create places that inspire human connection, unite communities, and restore environmental balance. ‘Advocacy by Design’ is a foundation of Studio-MLA’s practice — a powerful tool to catalyze ecological and social change with inclusivity and authenticity. For more than 25 years, founder and president Mia Lehrer, FASLA, has sparked inventive thinking to address complex relationships within urban and natural environments. From the master planning of cities to the design of intimate plazas and gardens, the studio is recognized for creativity, pragmatism, and responsibility across a range of scales and geographies. With offices in Los Angeles and San Francisco, a 45-person team includes landscape architects, designers, planners, botanists, and ecologists from around the world. Diversity and multiple perspectives add meaning to collaborations and value to outcomes. Together, these practitioners believe in the transformative power of design to recalibrate the natural and built environments that connect us.

Fast Company is the only media brand fully dedicated to the vital intersection of business, innovation, and design, engaging the most influential leaders, companies, and thinkers on the future of business. Headquartered in New York City, Fast Company is published by Mansueto Ventures LLC, along with our sister publication Inc., and can be found online at

For press inquiries, please contact Monica Way, Studio-MLA Director of Business Development & Communications,