Nina-Marie Lister is Graduate Program Director and Associate Professor of Urban and Regional Planning at Ryerson University in Toronto where she founded and directs the Ecological Design Lab. From 2009-2014, she was Visiting Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design. A Registered Professional Planner (MCIP, RPP) with post-graduate training in landscape ecology and urban planning, she is the founding principal of PLANDFORM, a creative studio practice exploring the relationship between landscape, ecology, and urbanism. Lister’s research, teaching and practice focus on the confluence of culture and nature: her work centres on landscape infrastructure and ecological processes within contemporary metropolitan regions, and engages systems approaches to develop new methods for urban resilience and adaptation in the face of large-scale change.
She is co-editor of Projective Ecologies (with Chris Reed, Harvard GSD and ACTAR Press, 2014) and The Ecosystem Approach: Complexity, Uncertainty, and Managing for Sustainability (with David Waltner-Toews and the late James Kay, Columbia University Press, 2008), and author of more than 40 professional practice and scholarly publications. Her work has been featured in a variety of planning and design exhibitions including the Canadian Centre for Architecture in Montréal, the Chicago Architecture Foundation, the Toronto Design Exchange, and the Van Alen Institute in New York, and most recently as a collaborator in the Canadian exhibit, EXTRACTION at the 2017 Venice Architectural Biennale (curated by Pierre Bélanger). In recognition of her international leadership in ecological design, Lister was awarded Honourary Membership in the American Society of Landscape Architects.
Landscape as Infrastructure: Design for Resilience
Cities are built on infrastructure: human-designed networks of roads, rails, bridges, pipelines and sewers. These hard-surface “grey" infrastructures, designed by civil-engineers and planners have become synonymous with The City. Yet today, for the first time in human history, more than half the world’s population now lives in cities. Increasingly, in the Age of the Anthropocene, the urban (and urbanising) landscape is the only landscape our children will ever know. But, as is becoming increasingly apparent, it is the ecological function as much as the form of landscape that ultimately sustains us. It is time to re-evaluate, re-define, and re-affirm that landscape itself IS infrastructure. Landscape is the essential vital, green and blue infrastructure that affords the necessary resilience that will support sustainable human settlement under the complex and uncertain conditions of climate change that define the Age of the Anthropocene. Through integrated planning and the agency of design, a resilient futures lies in landscape as infrastructure.