Daniel Urban Kiley Lecture: Elizabeth K. Meyer, “Unsettling Sustainability – Landscape Laboratories as Experimental and Experiential Grounds”

Black and white aerial image of forests and fields, with a large house to the left

Event Description

Meyer, the inaugural faculty director of the University of Virginia’s transdisciplinary Morven Sustainability Lab, will present an overview of how landscape architectural design thinking is at the core of the strategic planning process for this 3000-acre rural landscape on the peri-urban edge of Charlottesville. She will describe how the socio-ecological history of this former plantation and indigenous tribal lands is shaping future research questions, student engagement programs and community collaborations. Additionally, Meyer will share a vision for the Morven Sustainability Lab that positions it within the context of a new generation of landscape labs where landscape architects—working with architects, planners, anthropologists, scientists, and environmental humanities scholars—are co-creating living learning landscapes capable of inspiring a new generation of caring climate activists.


Headshot of Elizabeth Meyer.

Elizabeth K. Meyer, FASLA, is a landscape architectural professor at the University of Virginia where she has served as Department Chair and Dean of the School of Architecture. First, as a practitioner working with EDAW and Hanna/Olin and consulting with MVVA on sites such as the National Zoo, the GW Parkway, Bryant Park, Wellesley College campus, UVA’s central grounds, the St. Louis Gateway Arch grounds, and the White House Grounds, and since the late 1980s as an academic, Meyer has been involved with cultural landscapes that entangle social histories and ecological processes. Her expertise has been recognized through appointments to the US Commission of Fine Arts and the Dumbarton Oaks Garden and Landscape Studies Senior Fellows. In 2023, Meyer received the Thomas Jefferson Award, the highest scholarly honor bestowed on UVA faculty. For the next four years, as the inaugural faculty director of UVA’s Morven Sustainability Lab, Meyer will lead a multidisciplinary, all-university cohort of faculty, staff, and community members to shape research, teaching, and community engagement programs for a 3000-acre rural property on the periphery of Charlottesville that acknowledge the site’s complicated history while reimagining the site’s future.

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