Landscape Architecture Faculty Profiles
Bob Grese serves as Director of the Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum. My teaching and research involve ecologically-based landscape design and management that respects the cultural and natural history of a region. I am particularly interested in the restoration and on-going management of urban wilds and the role such lands can play in re-connecting children and families with nature. I have long been fascinated by the work of early designers such as Jens Jensen and Ossian Cole Simonds who borrowed from the native landscape in their work. There is much to be learned about their designs and their fate over time. I have a growing interest in green roofs and other low impact design strategies.
My specialty, ecological design, is premised in the integration of art and science. It aims to create a built environment that is ecologically functional, contextually meaningful and personally engaging. I am a licensed professional landscape architect and a research ecologist. Teaching includes ecological planting design studio, civil engineering for designers, sustainable site design and urban agriculture. Research focuses on how to design the built environment to promote well-being and health of humans and the natural systems in which we are embedded.
As an ecological designer I place aesthetics—the visceral and psychological appeal of designed spaces, on equal footing with ecosystem considerations. An engaging experience with place is critical for developing a sense of stewardship because people will fight to save what they care about. In researching, teaching, and community outreach, I bring the integration of art and science to bear on designs for the built environment, particularly in urban settings.
Associate Professor, Landscape Architecture
My work focuses upon the issues of inclusive design and social justice and how they impact both design processes and the physical places we help to create. Through my teaching, research and writing, I work to clarify how issues pertaining to landscape construction, technology, sustainability, process and form can and should be impacted by a deeper understanding of how the decisions we make as design and planning professionals impact the ability of people to take part in the life of vibrant, healthy landscapes, be they urban, rural, or wild.
Joan Iverson Nassauer is Professor of Landscape Architecture in the School of Natural Resources and Environment. She was named Fellow by the American Society of Landscape Architects (1992), Fellow of the Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture (2007), and Distinguished Practitioner of Landscape Ecology in the US (1998) and Distinguished Scholar (2007) by the International Association of Landscape Ecology. She focuses on the cultural sustainability of ecological design in human-dominated landscapes. Her research offers knowledge and strategies for basing ecological design on cultural insight, strong science, and creative engagement with policy. Her teaching and recent projects apply this approach to brownfields, vacant property, exurban sprawl, and agricultural landscapes.