Nassauer receives landscape architecture lifetime achievement award
Joan Nassauer, a professor of landscape architecture at the University of Michigan School for Environment and Sustainability (SEAS), has received the 2023 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture (CELA).
Nassauer is the seventh individual and the second SEAS faculty member to receive the award since its inception in 2016. SEAS Dean Emeritus William J. (Bill) Johnson was the recipient in 2019. Nassauer was presented the award at CELA’s annual meeting in March.
“This prestigious award illustrates the national and international reach of Michigan’s landscape architecture program,” said SEAS Dean Jonathan Overpeck. “I congratulate Joan and our SEAS alumni for their incredible contributions to landscape architecture scholarship.”
A SEAS faculty member since 1997, Nassauer’s work has advanced the theory and practice of ecological design. From her earliest research on everyday landscape aesthetics in coastal Louisiana and the rural Midwest, she developed influential theories about aesthetics of landscape care in relation to environmental functions. Throughout her career, she has tested and refined these theories by examining everyday aesthetic experiences in wide-ranging contexts, and by learning from other scholars who have employed these theories.
An international leader in landscape ecology, she proposed a transdisciplinary “design-in-science” approach to building pattern:process knowledge. She has employed the design-in-science approach in several multi-year transdisciplinary projects to address socio-environmental effects of design and planning choices for agricultural and metropolitan landscapes—ranging from continental scale implications of agricultural practices in From the Corn Belt to the Gulf (2001) to neighborhood-scale implications of green stormwater infrastructure in Placing Nature (1997). Over the past 20 years, her work has focused on legacy cities including Chicago, Flint and Detroit. She has shared that work with the scientific community in more than 100 refereed papers, books and book chapters, and with the broader community of practitioners and stakeholders in numerous reports. This body of work demonstrates how ecological design can achieve cultural sustainability by aligning everyday aesthetic experience with environmental benefits, including stormwater management, biodiversity, and climate change resilience.
In addition to Nassauer’s Lifetime Achievement Award, three SEAS alumni were honored as CELA Fellows: Sadik Artunç (MLA ’79) of Mississippi State University, Robert Corry (PhD ’02) of the University of Guelph (Ontario, Canada), and Robert Ryan (MLA/MUP ’95, PhD ’97) of the University of Massachusetts.
Additionally, SEAS alumna Chingweng Chen (MLA ’01) of the University of Arizona was sworn in as CELA’s president for 2023-2024.
Learn more about the recognitions here.