Joan Iverson Nassauer

Director of Social Science Innovation

Joan Iverson Nassauer, FCELA, FASLA, collaborated in proposing and establishing SESYNC and served as its first Director of Social Science Innovation from 2011 to 2013. She is currently a Professor in the School for Environment & Sustainability at the University of Michigan. Joan is an ecological designer and landscape scientist who collaborates with community members, ecologists, engineers, and social scientists to propose and assess the performance of landscape interventions with the purpose of protecting and enhancing ecosystem services. These design interventions focus on ensuring immediate social and cultural benefits for the community that may also help to ensure the cultural sustainability of other ecosystem services. She has employed this approach in projects that range from continental-scale implications of agricultural practices to urban neighborhood-scale implications of green stormwater infrastructure. Joan’s work has engaged diverse communities affected by shrinking populations and climate change—including urban neighborhoods coping with racism and disinvestment and rural agricultural communities affected by technological and policy changes. 

In addition to her work at SESYNC, Joan also helped to found and lead the U.S.-International Association for Landscape Ecology (1986-99) and the National Academy of Environmental Design (2009-2012). Currently, she serves as Co-Editor-in-Chief of Landscape and Urban Planning (2014-present). Published in more than 100 refereed papers and books, she has worked between social science and design science on transdisciplinary projects that build evidence to support community well-being through landscape and infrastructure innovation.

External Links:

Photo of Joan Iverson Nassauer
2011 - 2013
Areas of Expertise
human well-being
ecological design
landscape ecology
Research Interests
urban ecology
watershed management
cultural ecosystem services
Methods of Expertise
design science
scenario design
integrated assessment
survey research
digital visualization