Common Lectures Series | Fall 2018

All Lectures in IFNH RM 101 @ 4:00 PM unless otherwise noted (*)
See a list of our past lectures


September 5
Hugh Keegan, Applications Prototype Lab, Esri
Identifying, Prioritizing and Connecting Green Infrastructure in Your Town and Across the U.S.

Working with noted Spanish Landscape Architect Arancha Muñoz-Criado and Karen Firehock of the Green Infrastructure Center, Inc. ESRI has created a national data base of intact natural areas and free tools to help communities, designers and planners identify, prioritize and connect them. The goal is to identify and protect our most valuable local intact landscapes before development occurs and to create natural networks of open spaces and corridors between communities, counties and states – Think of Olmstead’s Emerald Necklace but implemented across the entire country!

Hugh Keegan - a career employee at ESRI, was introduced to GIS concepts and software while a student intern at Oak Ridge Natl. Laboratory in the late 70’s. He trained at the Harvard Graduate School of Design in Landscape Architecture under Carl Steinitz, Dave Sinton and Dana Tomlin, and worked at the Harvard Lab for Computer Graphics and Spatial Analysis for several years after graduation. Joining ESRI in the early 80’s, he helped form the company’s Applications Prototype Lab, managing it for most of his career at ESRI. This group performs applied R&D work, mostly for NGOs, and has developed many hundreds of prototypes and applications for organizations as diverse as the World Health Organization, the Jane Goodall Institute, JPL, and NASA along with collaborating with Richard Saul Wurman on his 192021 and Urban Observatory Projects.  In 2016 he led an effort to build a national database of all available undisturbed open spaces in the United States larger than 100 acres, and quantify the level of connectivity between them, in support of national Green Infrastructure Planning and GeoDesign efforts.  The APL was guided in this work by Arancha Criado Munoz,  a leading proponent of Green Infrastructure planning in the EU and Karen Firehock, the founder of the Green Infrastructure Center in Charlottesville, VA.

September 12
Jill Lipoti, Assistant Teaching Professor, Department of Human Ecology, Rutgers
Sustainability is not a “thing”; it is a “way”

This lecture is about decision-making with the future in mind.  Each of us has our own vision for how the future should look, but unless we can agree on a shared vision, our efforts will be fragmented and could be counterproductive.  How can we reach agreement on a shared future?  How can we influence others to bend their vision to enhance ours?  Do we have the maturity to change our minds?  Let’s start by considering some simple decisions – how do you make those decisions?  Habit?  Convenience? What if you took the time to make considered decisions?  Would you change your mind?  Or maybe we should start by considering our values.  What are some frameworks for considering our values? “When your values are clear to you, making decisions becomes easier”.  (Roy Disney) “Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen.”  (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

Jill Lipoti, Ph.D. is an Assistant Teaching Professor, at the Department of Human Ecology at Rutgers University.  Jill Lipoti has contributed to the development and implementation of the academic Minor in Sustainability, teaching two of the required courses. The Sustainability minor is the fastest growing minor at SEBS, where students enjoy the positive energy and collective ability to make a difference.  Jill is a member of the Rutgers Sustainability Committee.  She has spearheaded the RU Sustainable symposium, where students and faculty connect with the UN Sustainable Development Goals through service, education, research and the arts. Jill Lipoti is an alumni member of Alpha Zeta, has B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in environmental science from Rutgers, and received the George H. Cook Award for Distinguished Alumni from Rutgers in 2007.


September 19
The Steve Strom Lecture (*)
Frederick Steiner, Dean and Paley Professor, University of Pennsylvania School of Design
"Making Plans"
* 6:30 pm meet and greet, 7:00 pm lecture

Frederick Steiner draws on five decades as a “reflective practitioner” to illustrate how large-scale planning requires setting goals, determining suitabilities, designing options, selecting courses for moving forward, taking actions, and adjusting to changes. Based on his experience developing plans for the City of Austin and the University of Texas campus, and establishing the SITES rating system for the sustainability of landscapes, he offers guiding principles for planners at any stage of their career.

Frederick Steiner is Dean and Paley Professor at the University of Pennsylvania School of Design, and co-director of the Ian L. McHarg Center. He served for 15 years as Dean of the Schoolof Architecture and Henry M. Rockwell Chair in Architecture at the University of Texas at Austin, having taught at Arizona State University, Washington State University, the University of Colorado at Denver, and Tsinghua University. Dean Steiner was a Fulbright-Hays scholar at Wageningen University and a Rome Prize Fellow at the American Academy in Rome. A fellow of both the American Society of Landscape Architects and the Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture, he has written, edited, or co-edited 18 books, including Making Plans: How to Engage with Landscape, Design, and the Urban Environment (UT Press, 2018). Dean Steiner earned a Master of Community Planning and a B.S. in Design from the University of Cincinnati, and his Ph.D. and M.A. in city and regional planning and a Master of Regional Planning from PennDesign.


September 26
Robin Leichenko, Professor and Chair, Department of Geography, Rutgers
Bringing Equity into Climate Change Adaptation Planning in Cities

Inequalities surrounding climate change impacts and vulnerabilities are widely recognized. These include inequalities across cities, communities, and social groups in exposure to climate shocks and stresses, as well as differential capacities to respond and recover. Less well-recognized are the potential equity implications of climate resiliency efforts including the possibility of increased housing costs, job losses, or population displacement within vulnerability communities. Drawing from the author’s work with the New York City Panel on Climate Change, this study explores uneven vulnerabilities to climate change within urban communities and examines how equity concerns can be incorporated into urban adaptation planning efforts.

Robin Leichenko’s current research explores economic vulnerability to climate change and the equity implications of climate change adaptation. Leichenko served as a Review Editor for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report and as a contributing author on the IPCC Special Report on Extreme Events. Her book, Environmental Change and Globalization: Double Exposures (2008, Oxford University Press, co-authored with Karen O’Brien), won the Meridian Book Award for Outstanding Scholarly Contribution in Geography. Her forthcoming volume, titled Climate and Society: Transforming the Future (2019, Polity Press, co-authored with Karen O’Brien), is a textbook for undergraduate courses on the human and social dimensions of climate change

October 3
Gernot Riether, Director of the School of Architecture New Jersey Institute of Technology
Digital Design Build Studio

This talk will present a series of projects from the Digital Design Build Studio. The talk will use these explorations to discuss a model of operation for architecture schools in the context of a profession that has been disrupted by digital technology. Talking about some projects in more detail will illustrate the findings of the experimentation with different polymers. The discussion will also highlight the social aspect of these interventions and illustrate how coalitions between non-profit organizations, developers, industry and municipalities may benefit and impact their communities.

Gernot Riether is the Director of the School of Architecture and Associate Professor at the College of Architecture and Design at the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT).  In his Digital Design-Build Studio he and his students are researching new novel computer controlled fabrication and manufacturing methods. He previously taught at Kennesaw State University, Ball State University, ENSA Paris-La Villette, Georgia Tech, NYIT and Barnard College at Columbia University and is lecturing internationally.
His Digital Design Build Studio won competitions such as the design of the AIA Pavilion for the American Institute of Architects in New Orleans with a hydroponic spherical enclosure made of environmentally friendly polymers. The studio was commissioned for projects such as a public installation for the Nuit Blanche Festival in Paris where he took cues from biology to digitally create a lightweight structural envelope for a pavilion in which interactive art projects were displayed.

October 10
Student Presentations, Rutgers Landscape Architecture
De Boer Prize and Study Abroad

October 17
No lecture (ASLA conference)

October 24
Richard Serrano, Professor of French and Comparative Literature and Chair of the Department of French, Rutgers
“Look upon my beauty!” : The Alhambra and the Guided Eye

Landscape architects are taught about the Alhambra as one of the great designs of the world. Their view of the Alhambra treats it as an expression of design and source of inspiration for design over the next millennium. In contrast, Richard Serrano views this landscape through the lens of historic Arabic documents and literature. With a rich understanding of the culture and history, Serrano will present this familiar, even sacred, landscape through his disciplinarily-distinct perspective.

Professor Serrano's recent research projects in Arabic Literature include a compilation and translation of the seventh-century poet Jamil's diwan and a study of the relationship between poetry in Egyptian and Tunisian protest movements and Classical Arabic tropes of complaint.  In East Asian Literatures he is conducting research on women and eighteenth-century poetry in China and Korea (which also involves a great deal of translation). Future research projects include a study of the intersection of Chinese and Arab cultures with music, art and literature in Habsburg Vienna; resituating contemporary poetry of the Maghreb in a Mediterranean (rather than a "postcolonial") context, which entails the work of poets from Spain, France, Italy, Egypt, Lebanon and eventually Greece, Turkey, Israel (and perhaps even Albania and Croatia). 

October 31
No lecture

November 7
Kathleen Kambic, Assistant Professor, Department of Landscape Architecture, University of New Mexico
Feminist Political Ecology and the Challenges of Contemporary Landscape Design

Identity politics, defining who and how we are in the world, is an important part of the design lexicon. As the messages we impart through designed landscapes change over time, the vocabulary and visual cues with which we imbue landscapes speak to different values and outlooks. Issues of climate change adaptation, women’s rights, and intersectionality are now causing new perspectives on design to emerge. By reinvestigating long held design views on gender, it is possible to newly focus on the marginalized, the natural and the invisible while acknowledging the inequality of public space. This lecture will offer alternative perspectives on how, why and for whom we design landscapes through a discussion of visual and verbal artifacts.

Kathleen Kambic is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Landscape Architecture at the University of New Mexico. Her research and teaching interests include water, infrastructure, the American West, feminist political ecology and landscape theory. Her work focuses on integrating diverse bodies of knowledge into seminars and design studios centered on urban water infrastructure.

November 9 (Special Lecture @ Zimmerli Art Museum)
Philip Ursprung, Dean of the Department of Architecture, Professor for the History of Art and Architecture, ETH Zurich

Hosted by the Rutgers Department of Landscape Architecture and the Zimmerli Art Museum

The Activity Echo-Logy was performed on the weekend of May 3rd and 4th, 1975 by Allan Kaprow and a group of participants in the countryside in Far Hills, New Jersey. It was commissioned by the Merriewold West Gallery. There was no audience. All that remains is a booklet with the score and some photographs by Lizbeth Marano documenting the event. On March 21st, 2013, acclaimed art historian Philip Ursprung reenacted the Activity with a group of architecture students in small creek, outside the Antique site of Olympia, Greece. They wanted to find out if Kaprow’s work of art was part of our own time or if it had become an art historical document.

Philip Ursprung is Professor for the History of Art and Architecture and Dean of the Department of Architecture at ETH Zurich. He earned his PhD at Freie Universität Berlin and taught at HdK Berlin, Columbia University New York, the University of Zurich and the Barcelona Institute of Architecture. He is editor of Herzog & de Meuron: Natural History (Lars Müller Publishers, 2002), Studio Olafur Eliasson: An Encyclopedia (Taschen, 2008) and author of Allan Kaprow, Robert Smithson, and the Limits to Art (Univ. of California Press, 2013).

4:30pm
Zimmerli Art Museum
71 Hamilton Street, New Brunswick, NJ 08901

November 14
Lynnette Widder, Professor, Masters of Sustainability Management, Columbia University
Kaneji Domoto: Versioning “American-Japanese” Architectures and Landscapes

Lynnette Widder explores the work of architect and landscape designer Kaneji Domoto (1912-2002) in the context of his Japanese American identity. Through personal photographs and documents, Widder tells the story of Domoto’s early experiences in his immigrant family’s nursery, his fellowship at Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesen West, his incarceration in Colorado during WWII and his long, independent practice based in New York. She will consider Domoto’s work in relation to Wright's efforts to determine how Japanese architecture would be understood in the context of American architecture and present Domoto's own transforming explorations, including his Usonian homes and landscape projects.

Lynnette Widder (M.Arch, Columbia University, 1990; Dr.Sc., ETH, 2016) serves on the full-time faculty of the Masters of Sustainability Management Master’s Program at the Earth Institute, Columbia University. Prior to joining the Earth Institute, she was Associate Professor and Head of the Department of Architecture at the Rhode Island School of Design; she has also taught at the ETH Zurich, Cornell University, City College of New York and Cranbrook Academy. She is co-author of two books, Ira Rakatansky: As Modern as Tomorrow (William Stout, 2010) and Architecture Live Projects: Pedagogy into Practice (Taylor and Francis, 2014); and curator of Kaneji Domoto at Frank Lloyd Wright’s Usonia (AIA Center for Architecture, 2017; Maass. Gallery, SUNY Purchase and Georgia Institute of Technology School of Architecture, 2019). Her current research focuses on sustainable building construction; urban resource flows; community resilience and the material culture of building construction in post-war Germany and the US.

November 28
Frank Gallagher, Associate Professor
Jean Marie Hartman, Associate Professor
Christina Kaunzinger, Assistant Professor of Research
All from the Department of Landscape Architecture at Rutgers
Panel on Ecology in Landscape Architecture

Three of the Rutgers faculty in landscape architecture, all trained in ecology, will present and discuss their perspectives on current issues. The panel will highlight the richness in perspectives while demonstrating a shared understanding of the importance of ecology within landscape architecture.

December 5
Mary Pat McGuire, RLA, Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture, UIUC College of Fine and Applied Arts
Urban Surface: Transformations Through Design

Landscape architects are strategically remaking the surfaces of urban sites, as a visual, material, and operative reconstruction of cities. McGuire will discuss the concept of surface as both landscape infrastructural theme and as a precise design medium. She will share a multi-disciplinary understanding of surface in order to critically relate aspects of landscape architectural design. In these contexts, she will share her current design research for an urban surface transformation of Chicago.

Mary Pat McGuire is a registered landscape architect, assistant professor at the University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign, principal designer at the Water Lab, and co-editor of the forthcoming book Fresh Water. Previously McGuire taught at IIT in Chicago, practiced with Peter Walker & Partners, and served research fellowships with Landscape Architecture Foundation and the UIUC Design Research Initiative. Her work is supported by the Wright Ingraham Institute, the Wadsworth Endowment, and NOAA’s National Sea Grant Program. McGuire has an MLA from University of Virginia.


See a list of our past lectures