A native of New York City, Clarke was educated at Cornell’s College of Architecture. As Superintendent of Construction for the Bronx River Parkway Commission, he infused his ideas about landscape art, especially concerning bridge design, into his implementation of Herman Merkel’s design for the 15-mile long Parkway. Clarke’s preference for rustic bridges of native stone imparted an air of tradition and age, which became a signature style of the parks and parkways of both Westchester County and New York State. Clarke also advised on the layout along the Potomac River for the Mount Vernon Memorial Parkway and recommended Stanley Abbott as landscape architect for the Blue Ridge Parkway. In partnership with Michael Rapuano, Clarke designed New York’s Henry Hudson River Parkway, which abuts Riverside Park. Clarke & Rapuano executed commissions in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee for interstate highways and expressways, parks and parkways. Clarke served as the landscape architecture representative to the National Commission on the Fine Arts from 1932 to 1950, and as Dean of Cornell’s College of Architecture from 1939 to 1950.