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Common Lecture Series - Fall 2021

Wednesday @ 5:00 pm (GMT-5), unless otherwise noted (*)

All lectures are online via Zoom. If not enrolled in the course and you wish to attend please request a link via Gail McKenzie -

*Please note : Links to view previous lectures can be streamed only by people with current Rutgers NetIDs.

Sept 1 SEMESTER INTRODUCTION - Richard Alomar and Kate John-Alder  
Sept 15

Johann Rinkens & Lindsay Napolitano
Fields without Fences

On our farm, located within the Delaware River watershed, we cultivate fruits, nuts, medicinal herbs, and wild edibles within naturalized plantings that are inspired by the wild ecology. Through site specific design, we integrate approaches found in environmental restoration, permaculture design, and regenerative agriculture to create low input, self-renewing, agroecological systems that naturally restore health and integrity to our shared landscape.

Beyond our fields, we bring these practices to our consulting and design work with farmers, landowners, and organizations. Inspired by a philosophy that recognizes all elements are integral to an interconnected planet, we approach landscapes as interdependent ecosystems, out of which the well being of all is reflected in the health and functionality of the whole. We bring this mindful holistic approach to everything we do, from the products we craft, to the programs and services we offer.

Lindsay Napolitano is a farmer, herbalist, and ecological designer living and working within the fields and forests of the Delaware River Watershed. She is the co-founder of Fields Without Fences, a 45-acre agroforestry operation and farm design & installation service. In collaboration with the natural world she designs, cultivates, and tends fields without fences 45-acre agroforestry site. You can usually find her outside, aiding and abetting the plants in their ceaseless quest for world domination.

Johann Rinkens is a farmer and ecological designer practicing and consulting on regenerative land relationships. He is a co-founder of Fields Without Fences, a 45-acre agroforestry operation and farm design & installation service. In service to farmers, organizations, and land stewards throughout the northeast, Johann advises and consults on diverse agroecology and regenerative agriculture projects. His background in anthropology, agrarian land reform, and more than 15 years of work in the field as an organic farmer, combine to inform his perspective on integrated, place-based, and functional ecological design and farming operations.

Sept 22

Nate Heavers
Forest Living: Inhabiting a Southern Appalachian Grove

Nathan Heavers is an associate professor in landscape architecture at Virginia Tech, where he teaches design studios, site engineering, and research methods. His expertise is in the cultivation of temperate mixed forests for their cultural and ecological values. Nathan’s research projects examine a wide range of forested landscapes, including arboreta, agroforests, orchards, and memorial groves. Currently, he is an advisor to the Tidal Basin Ideas Lab, which aims to preserve Washington DC’s Tidal Basin and its significant flowering cherry trees as sea level rises. Nathan was formerly the horticulture manager at the Washington National Cathedral and the gardener at The Cloisters Museum. He continues his passion for horticulture by propagating diverse trees in order to assist their migration with climate change.

Sept 29 Dan Handel

The Forest Returns

In essence, forests are stored sunshine. But they are also repositories of cultures, myths,
metaphors, and means of subsistence. As such, they shape the ways in which we consider
time and space. Within the architectural imagination, the forest has a lingering presence: it is conceived as both the origin of architecture and the antidote to its malice. In cities, urbanists, landscape architects, and architects construct forest towers or plant urban forests to offset the harmful effects of civilization. Outside of urbanized areas, forests are described as holding the keys to the survival of the human species. The presentation will trace the appearances and resonance of forests within the architectural professions, and suggest that by working with and tinkering its metaphors we can change the way we experience and design our environment.

Dan is an architect and curator working on research-based exhibitions and publications with a penchant for underexplored ideas, figures, and practices that shape contemporary built environments. He is a founding editor of Manifest – A Journal of the Americas, and is currently developing a manuscript on the uneasy kinship between forests and spatial design.
Oct 6 Jason Nguyen

Imagining Fertility: Abundant Seascapes, Resource Extraction, & Marine Ecology in Early Modern Canada

In his Discourse and Discovery of New-Found-Land (1620), the English mariner Richard Whitbourne recounted a horrifying encounter with a mermaid in St. John’s Harbour, Newfoundland. The creature, which he described as beautiful with the composite body of a woman and a fish, approached Whitbourne from the harbour. Stunned, he retreated, after which the creature terrorized his crewmen. So remarkable was the tale that it was engraved and incorporated as part of Theodor de Bry’s America (1628), thereafter granting Europeans a fantastical (if perilous) image of the cod-rich Canadian waters. Another print depicts a peaceful meeting of the English and Beothuk, the indigenous people of Newfoundland. Despite the image’s peaceful message, the Beothuk rarely interacted with the settlers, instead withdrawing inland and eventually perishing in the early nineteenth century.

This talk considers the port settlements, visual and material culture, and nautical cartography of Newfoundland and the North Atlantic during the early modern period. It takes the engravings from de Bry’s America as provocative counterpoints to literary, artistic, and scientific depictions celebrating the marine abundance of colonial Canada—claimed for England by John Cabot in 1497. The Grand Banks, the underwater plateaus that provided shallow feeding conditions for underwater life, made it one of the richest fishing regions in the world. The engraving of Whitbourne’s mermaid, which illustrates sailors fleeing in terror, functions as a hybridized and sexualized rejoinder to colonialist assumptions regarding the ocean’s everlasting fecundity. The talk considers how settlers penetrated the coastal and marine ecology, leading to the forced relocation and genocide of the Beothuk, the reconfiguration of local and global trade, and, eventually, the collapse of the cod industry. The mercreature, like the fog produced by the Gulf Stream and Labrador Current, suggested wonder as well as danger.

Oct 13

Gina Ford & Brie Hensold
Reconnecting with Overlooked Legacies

Coming out of the depths of a global pandemic, planners and designers, along with communities writ large, have gained a greater understanding of the value of public realm and open space in cities. At the same time, new funding focused on infrastructure is making its way through political and civic systems. Agency will present recent work tackling the issues of the moment - public health, racial equity and environmental change - as well as the case for new models of investment and leadership in the space of urban design and landscape architecture.

Oct 20

Warren Byrd
Still/Meandering: Reflections on Drawing, Research, Practice

The co-founder of NBW Landscape Architects will discuss the process, values and ongoing evolution of three pivotal landscape projects: The Dell at the University of Virginia, Citygarden in St. Louis and The Flight 93 National Memorial in western Pennsylvania. 

Oct 27

Daniel Barone
Nature-Based Coastal Protection: Coastal Processes and Landforms

Daniel Barone, Ph.D., is a jointly appointed Associate Research Professor within the Rutgers University Department of Marine and Coastal Sciences (DMCS), Center for Advanced Infrastructure and Transportation (CAIT), and Department of Geography. He holds Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Marine Science and Instructional Technology from Stockton University and a PhD in Physical Geography from Rutgers University.       His dissertation focused on identifying spatial-temporal relationships and thresholds for development of all barrier islands in New Jersey. Dr. Barone has over 15 years of experience addressing coastal management issues related to beach-dune storm vulnerability, marine transportation, coastal floodplain mapping, and beneficial use of dredged material. He utilizes spatial data analysis, remote sensing, and coastal modeling techniques to solve complex coastal problems and present solutions to various audiences.  Dr. Barone serves as the Executive Director for the Infrastructure Resilience Program (IRP) at CAIT and is also the Northeast Chapter President for the American Shore and Beach Preservation Association (ASBPA).

Nov 3

M. Elen Deming
Landscape Observatory: Critical Regionalism in the Work of Terry Harkness

Master designer Terence G. Harkness (1930-) has achieved something close to cult status among landscape architects of a certain age. Yet, outside the American Midwest, his work is not nearly as well known as it should be. This talk traces the arc of Harkness's design and teaching career with close attention paid to his major works. In the process we discuss his unique regional and phenomenological sensibility for design in three regions he loves: California foothills of the Sierra Nevada range; the northern Plains; and East Central Illinois where he makes his home. In both his design and teaching, Harkness slips beyond his own time, simultaneously of his milieu yet also transcending it.

Nov 10

Steve Strom Lecture: Teddy Cruz & Fonna Forman
Unwalling Citizenship

Teddy Cruz is a professor of Public Culture and Urbanism in the UCSD Department of Visual Arts.

Fonna Forman is a professor of Political Theory and Founding Director of the Center on Global Justice at the University of California, San Diego.

Together they are principals in Estudio Teddy CruZJ + Fonna Forman, a research-based political and architectural practice in San Diego, investigating issues of informal urbanization, civic infrastructure and public culture, with a special emphasis on Latin American cities. Blurring conventional boundaries between theory and practice, and merging the fields of architecture and urbanism, political theory and urban policy, visual arts and public culture, Cruz + Forman lead variety of urban research agendas and civic/ public interventions in the San Diego-Tijuana border region and beyond. From 2012-13 they served as special advisors on civic and urban initiatives for the City of San Diego and led the development of its Civic Innovation Lab. Together they lead the UCSD Community Stations, a platform for community-based research and teaching on poverty and social equity in the border region.

Nov 17

Kristi Cheramie
Landscape Dilemmas

Binaries are such trouble. Especially for landscapes. We need only look to the persistent and pernicious conceptions of an American Nature to see that the either/or dialectic has inhibited the expansion of our vocabulary around climate change and adaptive ecologies. Landscapes, after all, have the capacity to absorb remarkable amounts of residue from complicated forms of imagination. But direct causality is, in many ways, unavoidable: to make is to unmake something else; to remember one version of the story usually requires a good deal of forgetting; to lay claim to a space means to unseat, devalue, or neutralize another’s. Successfully resisting environmental fluctuation inevitably produces vulnerabilities somewhere else in the ecosystem, perhaps soon, perhaps at an inconceivably distant time.
This is the territory into which we will delve: into landscape dilemmas. Into the paradoxes, entanglements, and environmental conundrums that are produced by landscape dynamics. Moving principally between two landscapes shaped and reshaped by control, the Lower Mississippi River Basin and the Roman Campagna, and facing both forward and backward in time, this talk will reposition singular acts of construction as inherently and fantastically contaminated by an ever-evolving mesh of actors and agents.

Dec 1


Dec 8 CLOSING SESSION - Special Celebration  

See List of previous semesters Common Lectures