Personal profile

Research Interests

Advocacy, Biodiversity, Climate adaptation and mitigation, Climate change, Community engagement, Conservation, Contemporary practice, DEIA, Design research, Ecology, Environmental justice, Environmental materialism, Geospatial analysis, Green infrastructure, Health, Infrastructure, Landscape performance, Landscape theory, Mapping and modeling, Materiality, Natural resources, New technologies, Phenology, Planning, Planting design, Professional practice, Public policy, Public space, Regeneration, Regional design, Remediation and reuse, Resilience, Safety/security, Site design, Soils, Sustainability, Urban design, Urban forestry, Urbanism, Water, Watersheds


Certificate in Leadership in Sustainability Management, University of Chicago, 2015

Master of Landscape Architecture, University of Virginia, 2003

Certificate, Woody Plants, George Washington University, 2000

BA in International Relations/Political Theory, The College of William and Mary, 1994

Professional Information

I'm a licensed landscape architect and an associate professor of landscape architecture. I also Chair the Master of Landscape Architecture program and have affiliate appointments in the Department of Urban and Regional Planning and the Unit for Criticism and Interpretive Theory. Previous to my academic work, I practiced landscape architecture for ten years including for Peter Walker and Partners and Conservation Design Forum.

My design research falls within the theory and practice of water urbanism and specifically confronts one of the biggest issues we face: how to redesign the (impervious) surfaces of cities for rainwater and for climate adaptation. I teach studios and seminars on this issue and collaborate with geologists, engineers, NGOs, and communities by integrating research, modeling, design, and information exchange to develop more equitable and resilient green-blue infrastructure in Chicago and the Great Lakes Basin.

I lead this work through a small design research studio called Water Lab located in Chicago that investigates the infrastructural condition of urban ground and identifies opportunities to reconnect communities with soil, water, and tools of climate adaptation. Currently Water Lab (with involvement by graduate research assistants) is leading the start-up of an initiative called Depave Chicago a collaborative, community-based program to renature unused and underutilized parking lots where there could be parks and public space with tree canopy, rain gardens, living earth, and community programming.

I was interviewed on Streetsblog USAs Talking Headways podcast and Friends of the Chicago Rivers Inside Out and About podcast about this work.


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