Kenneth J. Polakowski

Professor Emeritus


MLA, Harvard University (1957)
BS, Michigan State University (1956) 


Kenneth J. Polakowski, professor of landscape architecture in the School of Natural Resources and Environment, retired from active faculty status on May 31, 1998. He was an associate professor at The Pennsylvania State University from 1957-68, and joined the University of Michigan faculty in 1968 as professor of landscape architecture. Within the School of Natural Resources and Environment,
Professor Polakowski led a pioneering effort to develop the first professional master's degree program in landscape architecture. He helped make the Michigan curriculum model the current and dominant international educational approach in this field. His teaching employed an ecological and behavioral approach to public land use planning and design.


Professor Polakowski's research and professional practice have focused on the planning, design, development, and management of significant and endangered ecosystems. A highlight of his professional practice is the design and development of Ann Arbor's Gallup Park. His work on sand dune protection for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources influenced the establishment of a resource management plan for a local watershed in the Great Masurian Lake District of Poland. His collaborative multidisciplinary research in Australia contributed to the development of management plans for protecting and restoring endangered native landscapes.

More recently, Professor Polakowski has expanded his interests by becoming involved in zoo design. His scholarly work in this field advocates the simulation of the animals' natural habitats and the creation of perceptual illusions to convey conservation education messages to the casual zoo visitor. His book, Zoo Design: The Reality of Wild Illusions, is considered to be the primary reference in zoo design. The Regents now salute this faculty member for his dedicated service by naming Kenneth J. Polakowski professor emeritus of landscape architecture.


Outstanding Educators Award from the Council of Education in Landscape Architecture


American Society of Landscape Architects fellow

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