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Areas of Excellence

The Department has six areas of excellence in research and teaching.  These areas and their related research centers and graduate certificates are:

Community Engagement

Plans and designs gain meaning when they represent the needs, dreams, values, and goals of those who will use them. Questions of justice in the distribution of costs and benefits and power and privilege are central to all policy and planning. Research in this theme explores the interconnections between engagement, justice, and multiple and diverse publics in policy, planning and design.
Core faculty:  Carolina AragonCamille BarchersElizabeth Brabec, Michael Di PasqualeEllen Pader, Frank Sleegers, Darrel Ramsey-Musolf
Springfield Design Center

Technological Innovation and Regional Economy

Sustaining communities and places requires integrating new and existing modes of production in communities, landscapes, and professions.  Our faculty are leaders in investigating entrepreneurship, development and redevelopment, technological change, and the reuse of industrial space to meet new social and economic needs.
Core faculty: Camille Barchers, Henry RenskiJohn Mullin, Mark Hamin, Wayne Feiden
Center for Economic Development

Culture, Heritage and Society

Cultural landscapes--from historic urban centers, to rural countrysides, to vernacular and designed parks and gardens—are an increasingly important part of planning and landscape architecture practice. Faculty research investigates policy, planning, and design issues in the identification, interpretation, and conservation of the living heritage of cultural landscapes.
Core faculty:  Elizabeth Brabec, Ethan Carr, Theodore EisenmanPatricia McGirr
Center for Heritage and Society
Graduate Certificate in Cultural Landscape Management

Design Exploration

Design Exploration links research and creative works within three reciprocal processes--spatial experience, design thinking, and making places--in public art, intimate gardens, neighborhoods, communities, and the cityscape. We integrate design and scholarship through award winning exhibitions, design/build projects, built landscapes, and plans.
Core faculty:  Carolina Aragon, Carey Clouse, Mike Davidsohn, Michael Di Pasquale, Theodore EisenmanPatricia McGirr, Samantha SolanoFrank Sleegers, Jane Thurber
Springfield Design Center

Regenerative Urbanism

Landscapes and spatial form need to support positive ecologies while being low-carbon and climate-resilient. This theme connects emerging best practices in built form to the municipal, state, national and international policies and processes that enable achieving them. Research addresses green infrastructure, climate change, resilience, sustainable and low impact policy and design practices in small towns, cities, and global metropolitan regions.
Core faculty:  Carey Clouse, Elisabeth Hamin, Mark Hamin, Robert RyanSamantha SolanoFrank SleegersDarrel Ramsey-MusolfWayne Feiden
Center for Resilient Metro-Regions
SAGE Project on Resilient Infrastructure
Graduate Certificate in Climate Change and Green Infrastructure

Regional and Greenway Planning

Regional scale landscape planning promotes the thoughtful achievement of human and natural needs while linking edge, node and corridor across multiple scales. Regions are geophysical but also social, and defined through ecology and culture. The Department has particular strength in greenway planning and green infrastructure, and in interpreting the role of open space and communities within their regional context in the US and internationally.
Core faculty:  Theodore EisenmanElisabeth Hamin, Mark Lindhult, Robert RyanSamantha Solano
Fábos International Conferences
Graduate Certificate in Climate Change and Green Infrastructure