Robert Ryan, FASLA
Department Chair and Professor of Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning
Professor Ryan, FASLA is the Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning Department Chair. His courses have an interdisciplinary framework integrating landscape architects, planners, and allied professionals in order to give students the skills to deal with the increasingly complex interdisciplinary environmental problems. His course, People and the Environment, shows students from a variety of disciplines how to apply environment and behavior research to design and planning. He also teaches a sustainable green infrastructure seminar that has an emphasis on climate change adaptation.
Professor Ryan's research addresses the question: what motivates people to become engaged in sustainable landscape design, planning and management practices that benefit the environment and how does that affect their attitudes and behaviors in the landscape? His studies in urban parks, rural and suburban landscapes, and national forests have shown that people’s connection to nearby nature or landscape (i.e, place attachment) is critical to developing better land stewardship. A key part of this work has been to understand the landscape patterns that are both ecologically beneficial, as well as perceived as beautiful by local residents. In addition, his research has shown that place attachment can help promote connections between local residents and urban parks, particularly those undergoing ecological restoration. His research focuses on visual resource management, greenway and green infrastructure planning, and sustainable site design.
Recently, his research focuses on using urban green space to ameliorate the challenges facing inner city residents in cities. He has also studied local residents' attitudes toward landscape water conservation and stormwater management practices in the Ipswich River Watershed.
Dr. Ryan is the co-editor (with Elisabeth Hamin Infield and Yaser Abunnasr) of Planning for Climate Change: A Reader in Green Infrastructure and Sustainable Design for Resilient Cities, (2019, Routledge Press). He is also the co-author of the award-winning book, With People in Mind: Design and Management of Everyday Nature with environmental psychologists Stephen and Rachel Kaplan along with as a book chapter in the Sustainable Sites Handbook (edited by Meg Calkins). He serves on the Editorial Board of the international journal, Landscape and Urban Planning, and was a technical advisor to the ASLA’s Sustainable Sites Initiative Human Health and Well-being Technical sub-committee.
REGIONPL/LANDARCH 587 - People and the Environment: Applications of Environmental Psychology Research to Planning and Design
LANDARCH 591I - Sustaining Green Infrastructure Planning and Design
- Robert Ryan co-edits Climate Change planning book with Prof. Elisabeth Hamin Infield and LARP alumni Yaser Abunnasr
The book, Planning for Climate Change: A Reader in Green Infrastructure and Sustainable Design for Resilient
Cities, (2019, Routledge Press) is designed to help students, practitioners, and policy-makers advance climate change planning at multiple scales.