Pierre Bélanger

Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture

Pierre Bélanger is Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design. In the Department of Landscape Architecture, Bélanger teaches and coordinates graduate courses at the intersection of ecology, infrastructure, media and urbanism in the interrelated fields of design, communications, planning and engineering. With a multimedia approach and cross-scalar approach to design in both research and practice, his core interests lie at the convergence of the study of territory, ecology, and power.

In response to the inertia of urban planning and the overexertion of civil engineering in public works today, Bélanger’s contribution to the field of “landscape infrastructure” has been shared and developed in collaboration with governments, professionals and academics worldwide. Vis-à-vis the complexities, magnitudes and indeterminacies of urban change, Bélanger’s core commitment lies in the agency of landscape architecture and the field of landscape to redefine the morphology of urban infrastructure and future of urban land in design, research, pedagogy and practice.

In addition to the recent publication of the 35th edition of the Pamphlet Architecture Series, GOING LIVE: From Models to Systems (Princeton Architectural Press, 2015), Bélanger has published two core books on infrastructure and urbanism including, LANDSCAPE AS INFRASTRUCTURE: A Base Primer (Taylor & Francis, 2016) and ECOLOGIES OF POWER: Countermapping the Military Geographies & Logistical Landscapes of the U.S. Department of Defense (MIT Press, 2016) co-authored with Alexander Arroyo. Dr. Bélanger’s work has been recognized by professional associations and scholars worldwide with publications in Journal of Landscape Architecture, Ecological Urbanism, New Geographies, Landscape Journal, Topos, The Landscape Urbanism Reader, Geoinformatics, Journal of Tunneling and Underground Space Technology, Trash, Food, and Canadian Architect. Bélanger’s recent editorial work includes Harvard Design Magazine Issue No.39 “Wet Matter” (Fall/Winter 2014) in collaboration with Jennifer Sigler, and recent publications include “Altitudes of Urbanization” (2016), “Out of Time” (2016), “Is Landscape Infrastructure” (2015), “The Alvsjø Flatbed” (2015), “Between the Tides of Apartheid” (2014), “Ecology 5.0” (2014), “Landscape Infrastructure: Urbanism Beyond Engineering” (2012),  “The Agronomic Landscape” (2011), “Regionalization” (2010), “Redefining Infrastructure” (2010), “Power Perestroika” (2010), “Landscape as Infrastructure” (2009), “Landscapes of Disassembly” (2007), “Synthetic Surfaces” (2007), “Foodshed: The Cosmopolitan Infrastructure of the Ontario Food Terminal” (2007) and “Airspace: The Economy and Ecology of Landfilling in Michigan” (2006).

Bélanger has received several international prizes in design and planning competitions and he is only the Landscape Architect to have received the Professional Prix de Rome in Architecture and Curator’s Award for the Venice Architecture Biennale awarded by the Canada Council for the Arts, as well as the first landscape architect to author the Pamphlet Architecture Series since its founding in 1978.

Appointed National Curator of the Canadian Pavilion by the Canada Council for the Arts for the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale, he is the first landscape architect ever to be selected for the venue of the Biennale since its creation in 1980. Titled, EXTRACTION, the project profiles Canada’s position as the preeminent extraction nation on the planet and its rise as global resource empire over the past 800 years since the creation of the Magna Carta in the Year 1215. Looking at fundamental issues of land, territory and power, the project examines the scales, sources, and systems of extraction that underlie the mineral media of contemporary urban life. The project has been profiled internationally in The Walrus, Border Crossings, The New York Observer, ArchDaily, and CBC Radio and will result in a book to be published by MIT Press, EXTRACTION EMPIRE, in Spring 2018.

As former Project Manager for Brinkman & Associates of Earth Partners LLC—the world’s largest reforestation and bioengineering contractor, Bélanger completed doctoral studies on infrastructural environments at the Life Sciences University of Wageningen (WUR, The Netherlands) with PhD cum laude, the first graduate from the School of Landscape Architecture & Environmental Planning to ever receive this distinction in Wageningen’s history since 1918. Prior to this, Bélanger completed graduate studies for the Master in Landscape Architecture at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design where he received the Janet Darling Webel and Norman T. Newton Prizes in design. Originally trained at the University of Toronto under the tutelage of Dr. Detlef Mertins, George Baird and Robert Wright, Dr. Bélanger is professionally registered as a Landscape Architect in Canada and the United States, and as Urban Planner in the Netherlands.

Combining knowledge from different fields and media, Bélanger collaborates with government agencies, resource industries, civil authorities, professional organizations, universities, corporations and a team of interdisciplinary practitioners in the design and development of territorial strategies. Through the inception of OPSYS / Landscape Infrastructure Lab in 2006 (a federally incorporated, non-profit, design-research organization in Canada and the United States), Bélanger initiates and coordinates a portfolio of projects funded by public/private partnerships that include The World Bank Group, the Government of Haiti Civil Protection Service, the U.S. Department of Defense, Transport Canada, New York State, Charles River Conservancy, Foreign Affairs & International Trade Canada, the Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council, the Toronto Region Conservation Authority, Jardin International de Métis, the Greater Toronto Airports Authority, Waste Management Inc., the City of Toronto, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.