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UW//LA Departmental Lecture | Steven Handel, Rutgers University


Thu 11/21 | UW//LA  Autumn Departmental Lecture

Steven Handel, Rutgers University

Dreams and Nightmares of Urban Restoration Ecology

6:30pm | Arch Hall 147


Learning Objective:
Learn ecological constraints and opportunities for restoring ecological function to urban degraded lands. This lecture will offer one (1) Professional Development Hour (PDH). Please register here if you wish to receive credit.



Small patches of native habitat in urban and suburban areas can supply ecological services, public amenities that are sustainable with relatively low maintenance costs. We have designed and tested a series of plantings in urban areas (parks, landfills, and brownfields) that attempt to restore ecological connections between fragmented and degraded remnant habitats.

Restoration designs for the new Brooklyn Bridge Park in New York and the Orange County Great Park in California includes meshing restored habitat complexity with civic needs. These types of ecological solutions may be relevant to many urban landscape architecture designs. Early collaboration of ecologists with landscape architects, planners, and civil engineers, is needed for these plans to succeed. Building this link with the design community will be necessary to advance urban restoration practice.


Professor Steven Handel is a restoration ecologist studying the potential for improvement of habitats, biodiversity, and ecoservices in urban areas. His scientific background is in plant population ecology and plant-animal interactions. He has collaborated with landscape architects on the application of ecology to the design of urban parks, and spoken about these issues internationally.

He is an Aldo Leopold Leadership Fellow of the Ecological Society of America and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He serves as Editor of Ecological Restoration. He was awarded “Honorary Membership” to the American Society of Landscape Architects for “nationally or internationally significant achievements” important to that profession.

In 2011, he received the Theodore Sperry Award by the Society for Ecological Restoration International for “pioneering work in the restoration of urban areas.” The Sperry Award, given only every other year, is the highest research award for ecological restoration in the world. Handel received his B.A. from Columbia College and Ph.D. from Cornell University, in the Field of Ecology and Evolution.