i consider contemporary research and instruction in landscape architecture to be a position of significant responsibility. Consequently, this responsibility provides the inspiration and imperative to my work. Instruction of future landscape architects to be design leaders in response to the pressing socio-ecological imperatives of the Anthropocene is central to my classroom pedagogy.
I believe that the future landscape architect has the opportunity to advance the discipline through a critical design practice that is situated among the emerging, post-environmentalism discourse and pressing socio-ecological challenges across project scale and type. These wicked challenges require the creative and collaborative capacities of landscape architecture in order to reframe, ideate and communicate new potential futures. To be successfully engaged in exploring these new futures, I believe today’s landscape architecture students must demonstrate increasingly facile capacities for strong divergent thinking skills that are necessary to properly analyze and situate such complex project challenges - for which there are few templates or precedents. Such unknowns resist formulaic or dogmatic ideological responses; rather, these unknowns require our students to be confident within an
iterative and rigorous design process that asks new questions of the post-natural landscape.
But design alone is not enough. Our students must also be provided opportunities to cultivate an acumen for design advocacy, political savvy and public leadership so as to cultivate the necessary agency to advance the new definitions, concepts and forms of landscape architecture projects that they conceive. It is with this in mind that I strive to balance my instruction between the speculative and experimental potential of critical inquiry and the pragmatism of applied design-based research. ThIs is the role of landscape architectural design as a leader and catalyst for socio-ecological change,
My design instruction is balanced with the perspective of approximately 18 years of professional practice experience, much of which was leading projects at notable critical design practices. This experience allows me to model leadership in the classroom and to set high but achievable- expectations for student learning. To wit, my former students can be found in a variety of public, private and non-profit practices throughout the US and abroad.