Weitzman News

Posted July 11, 2022

Douglas Robb Named Inaugural McHarg Fellow

Douglas Robb, a researcher in the Department of Geography at the University of British Columbia, has been named the inaugural McHarg Fellow. Awarded by The Ian L. McHarg Center for Urbanism and Ecology at Penn, the McHarg Fellowship provides $75,000 to support an emerging voice in landscape architecture and its related fields who would benefit most from support to conduct research, to teach, and to be mentored by faculty over the term of the fellowship.

“Douglas Robb's work rests at the intersection of Indigenous sovereignty, climate change, and the energy transition in rural North America–issues, communities, and territories at the core of the design professions' present and future. He is precisely the kind of candidate we envisioned when we announced this position however many months ago,” says Billy Fleming, Wilks Family Director of The McHarg Center.

“We are very excited to welcome Douglas Robb to Penn. His interests in advancing social and environmental justice through design and visualization and his commitment to building inclusive climate futures grounded in community-based values will provide a valuable basis for teaching and conversations at Weitzman and for his own future research. He will add another voice to concerns that are being tackled in projects underway at The McHarg Center,” says Sonja Duempelmann, professor of landscape architecture and chair of the selection committee.

Trained in landscape architecture and geography, Robb investigates the complex landscapes that emerge through interactions between water and energy. In a statement about his research, Robb notes that his interdisciplinary work “queries design’s evolving political and ethical obligations in the making of more just and inclusive land futures, particularly with respect to technological innovation and climate change.”

Robb has taught at the University of British Columbia School of Architecture & Landscape Architecture and the University of Toronto Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design. He holds a PhD in Geography from the University of British Columbia, where he was a Vanier Doctoral Scholar, and has worked in professional practice in Sydney, Australia, at Spackman Mossop Michaels, a landscape architecture and urban design firm.

Robb, who will be in residence in the Department of Landscape Architecture at Weitzman for the 2022-2023 Academic Year, will also give a public lecture in the spring semester.

Established in 2017, the McHarg Center is the Department of Landscape Architecture's platform for interdisciplinary, applied research. It brings designers together with planners, policy-makers, social and physical scientists, and other scholars, practitioners, and activists around issues of climate, housing, environmental, and economic justice in the built environment. Through its Designing a Green New Deal and Green New Deal Superstudio initiatives, the McHarg Center has become a central hub for national and international climate and infrastructure policy and design research. It also supports long-term research projects connected to global conservation policy (The World Park and Hotspot Cities projects)  and nature-based solutions (EMLab and Healthy Port Futures projects).