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Professor Jeff Hou Retires from the Department of Landscape Architecture

Professor Jeff Hou, former Chair and long-time Professor of Landscape Architecture, is retiring from the University of Washington after more than 23 years of teaching, research and service in support of our community. We are excited to see him step into the next phase of his work and life as the Head of Architecture at the National University of Singapore.

Previous Department Chairs Iain Robertson and Jeff Hou passing the baton to Ken Yocom at the end of 2017.

Jeff has been an active and integral member of our community for more than two decades. As an educator Jeff’s teaching has supported the educational experiences of several generations of emerging landscape architects. Throughout his career here, he has also been a strong mentor and friend to many of us on the faculty and staff. While we will certainly miss his commitment, advice, and expertise we also recognize and support his transition into the next phase of his career.
— Ken Yocom, Department Chair


Jeff joined the Department of Landscape Architecture in 2001 as an Assistant Professor and held adjunct faculty positions in the Department of Architecture and Department of Urban Design & Planning. He received a Bachelor of Architecture from Cooper Union, a Master of Architecture from the University of California, Berkeley, and a Master of Landscape Architecture from the University of Pennsylvania. In 2001, prior to joining UW, Jeff received a Ph.D. in Environmental Planning from the University of California, Berkeley.

Jeff Hou and Rich Haag at Gas Works Park play area.
Jeff Hou and Kongjian Yu at ASLA 2018, Philadelphia, PA.

During his two-decade-long academic career, Jeff has produced a significant body of work on community design, public space and democracy, bottom-up urbanism, service learning, design activism, and cross-cultural placemaking with a particular emphasis on supporting underrepresented communities and those in need. This work includes twelve co-authored, edited, and co-edited books, over forty journal articles, and more than fifty book chapters, as well as built work, developed in collaboration with community organizations, that has received local and regional awards. With extensive experience in academic administration and service on boards of local, national, and international organizations, Jeff’s intellectual leadership has helped elevate the department and profession.

Chinatown-International District Studio in 2018.

For the past 15+ years, Jeff Hou has been an invaluable partner in envisioning the future of community spaces in the Chinatown International District (CID). His mentorship and expertise has informed the community engagement and design of many beloved neighborhood gathering places, including the Donnie Chin International Children’s Park, Canton Alley, and Hing Hay Park. These projects have had lasting positive impacts on CID community members who enjoy these places every day. — An Huynh, Sr. Community Development Mgr. at SCIDpda


In a career that spans across the Pacific, Jeff has worked with indigenous tribes, farmers, and fishers in Taiwan, neighborhood residents in Japan, villagers in China, and inner-city immigrant youths and elders in North American cities, in projects ranging from conservation of wildlife habitats to design of urban open space.

Jeff has left an indelible mark in the field of urban design in Seattle and around the world. His leadership has built community in the most wonderful sense of the word – he has taught us how to hear one another’s perspectives, value what we can each contribute, and design something beautiful together. Jeff never ceases to amaze me with how he is able to create spaces where we can all engage in joyful imagination and empowered learning – from the youngest of children to our most revered elders, from those who have never before engaged civically to those who set our local policies. Legions of community development practitioners have been inspired by his work and continue to benefit from the generosity with which he shares his experience, compassion and wisdom.
— Joyce Pisnanont, Chief Strategy & Impact Officer, National CAPACD


Faculty Retreat at the Bullitt Center (restroom!) in 2014.

Jeff has won many awards, including the 2023 Outstanding Educator Award from CELA; the 2019 Award of Excellence in Research and/or Creative Work Award, Senior Level, CELA; and the 2019 LAF Fellowship for Innovation and Leadership. Hou’s community engagement work in Seattle’s Chinatown International District has also been recognized with a Community Builder Award from Seattle Chinatown International District Preservation and Development Authority (SCIDpda), a Golden Circle Award from OCA-Greater Seattle, and a Community Stewardship Award from WASLA. He has served on the boards of several nonprofit organizations and governmental committees and as a coordinator for the Pacific Rim Community Design Network, which he co-founded in 1998.

While it is hard for our community to have Jeff move on, we congratulate him on this big move and look forward to supporting the next phase of his career.


Alumni Block Party at ASLA 2023, Minneapolis, MN.