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Nina Maria Lister

Nina-Marie Lister

Professor; Director, Ecological Design Lab; Founding Principal, PLANDFORM
EducationBA Hons, MScPI, MCIP, RPP, Hon. ASLA
OfficeSBB-432, South Bond Building
Phone416-979-5000, ext. 556769
Areas of ExpertiseEcological design; Landscape planning; Urban ecology; Green infrastructure; Resilience planning and design; Sustainability; Biophilic design.

Nina-Marie Lister is professor in the School of Urban & Regional Planning at Toronto Metropolitan University and visiting professor of landscape architecture at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design (external link, opens in new window) . Lister holds the Margolese National Design for Living Prize (external link, opens in new window)  and is senior fellow at Massey College (external link, opens in new window)  in Toronto. A registered professional planner (MCIP, RPP) trained in systems ecology, environmental science and landscape planning, Lister’s research, teaching and practice centre on the relationship between landscape infrastructure, biodiversity and ecological processes—specifically in the context of ecological design for resilience, health and well-being. At TMU, Lister founded and directs the Ecological Design Lab (external link, opens in new window) , a collaborative incubator for ecological design research and practice. Her current research is funded by the Canadian Tri-Council (SSHRC) and the Swedish Research Council for Sustainable Development (FORMAS). She is co-editor of Projective Ecologies (with Chris Reed, published by Harvard University and ACTAR Press, 2014, 2020) and The Ecosystem Approach: Complexity, Uncertainty, and Managing for Sustainability (with David Waltner-Toews and the late James Kay, Columbia University Press, 2008), and author of more than 100 scholarly research & professional practice publications. These include notable contributions to Design With Nature Now (Lincoln Land Institute 2019), Nature & Cities: The Ecological Imperative in Urban Planning & Design (Lincoln 2016), Is Landscape…Essays on the Identity of Landscape (Routledge 2016), Ecological Urbanism (Harvard University with Lars Müller Publishers 2010), and Large Parks (Princeton Architectural Press 2008, winner of the J.B. Jackson Book Prize). Her work has been featured in international critical, creative exhibitions, including the 2016 Venice Architectural Biennale as a collaborator on Canada’s entry, EXTRACTION (external link, opens in new window)  (curated by Pierre Bélanger). Lister is curator and director of a public exhibition on wildlife, infrastructure and urbanism: XING - (re), connecting landscapes (external link, opens in new window)  a permanent exhibit at the Toronto Zoo. She serves the community in practice through various board appointments, including as a member of the Waterfront Toronto Design Review Panel (external link, opens in new window) , as chair of the SSHRC Banting Post-Doctoral Fellowship Committee (external link, opens in new window) , as an advisor to the Biophilic Cities Network (external link, opens in new window) . In recognition of her international leadership in ecological design, Lister was awarded Honourary Membership in the American Society of Landscape Architects. She was named an an “Inspired Educator” by the Canadian Green Building Council’s excellence and leadership awards and was nominated among Planetizen’s Most Influential Urbanists.

Teaching areas:

  • Planning studio

  • Urban ecology

  • Landscape and physical planning

  • Ecological design

  • Landscape urbanism

  • Research methods
  • Sustainability

Research interests:

  • Landscape and ecological design

  • Urban parks and natural heritage systems

  • Landscape infrastructure
  • Biophilic design

  • Design for resilience

  • Complex socio-ecological systems design

  • Large-scale wild landscapes
  • MCIP Member, Canadian Institute of Planners
  • RPP, Registered Professional Planner
  • Honourary ASLA, American Society of Landscape Architects