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Zube Lecture with Katherine Foo of Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Event Details

February 27, 2020
4:00 pm-5:00 pm

Olver Design Building

Room: 170

UMass Amherst Campus

Handicap access available
Free admission

Activating Landscape Sustainability Science: a framework for governing urban green infrastructure.

Katherine Foo Assistant Professor, Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

In response to predominantly local and private approaches to landscape change, I suggest in this talk a greater focus on the multiscalar influences on landscape design. Specifically, I explain my governance framework for Nassauer and Opdam’s “Design in Science” model. The objective of the framework is to create an approach for examining hierarchical constraints on landscape design in order to investigate linkages among urban greening initiatives, patterns of landscape change, and the broader societal values driving those changes. It aims to provide an integrative and actionable approach for landscape sustainability science. The framework is examined through an ethnographic study of public policy processes surrounding the urban tree initiatives in Boston, MA; Philadelphia, PA; and Baltimore, MD. These initiatives demonstrate the impact of political and economic decentralization on urban landscape patterns. Their collaborative governance approach incorporates diverse resources to implement programming at a fine-scale.  The predominant tree giveaway program fragments the urban and regional forest. Spatial and temporal fragmentation undermines the long-term security of urban greening programs, and it suggests reconsideration of the role of state regimes in driving broad scale spatial planning.

Katherine Foo is an ecological designer and urban geographer who is passionate about design for urban ecology, civic empowerment, and ecological democracy. She possesses a longstanding commitment to community-engaged visual methods in landscape design and social and environmental justice in urban governance. Katherine has published in Landscape Ecology, Landscape and Urban Planning, Cities, and Geoforum, among other outlets. She received her PhD in Geography from Clark University, MLA and MS in Sustainable Systems from the University of MIchigan, and BA in Poverty Studies from Williams College.