Rob Holmes, associate professor and undergraduate landscape architecture chair in the College of Architecture, Design and Construction, was awarded a grant from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine’s Gulf Research Program to create and pilot an interdisciplinary design studio addressing Gulf health and resilience.
Holmes will partner on the project with Anna Linhoss, associate professor in biosystems engineering in the College of Agriculture, and Christopher Anderson, professor of wetland ecology in the College of Forestry, Wildlife and Environment. The Gulf Landscape Infrastructure Studio will use a community-engaged approach to meet the complex needs of coastal communities through design.
“This is an opportunity for students from landscape architecture, biosystems engineering and natural resource management disciplines to work together with a community to address a pressing need,” Holmes said. “The students will learn to gather data in the field, integrate different approaches to an issue and synthesize findings for stakeholders.”
The funding will support student travel to Perdido Bay in the Gulf of Mexico for data collection and community meetings. The team has partnered with the Nature Conservancy to examine estuarine and coastal barrier islands stretching between Alabama and Florida in the bay. The students will determine how the barrier islands have changed over time, create design proposals that balance ecological function and resilience strategies with recreational use and develop a management plan to sustain the islands over time.
“We are excited for this opportunity to build on our growing research expertise in coastal sustainability,” CADC Acting Dean Karen Rogers said. “Developing partnerships across the university will highlight the contributions of each field to coastal issues, and the resulting program will give students a unique and valuable experience working directly with a community partner in the field.”
Submitted by: Jessica Holmes