Ken Tamminga has long been intrigued by purposeful ideas and approaches that promote places and landscape networks that are inspiring, resiliently adaptive, and inclusively supportive of life. His research focuses on contextual and ecology-informed design, novel and restored ecosystems, and green places in cities. He has collaborated with action research colleagues on resilience-building projects in rural locales in south Asia, Ghana, and Tanzania that struggle with the impacts of climate change and globalization. Currently, Tamminga is studying convivial green streets in dense urban cores in collaboration with colleagues at Wageningen University in the Netherlands.
On the practice side, Tamminga played key roles on internationally recognized projects including Pittsburgh’s Nine Mile Run, Toronto’s Don River restoration, Hewlett Packard Canadian headquarters, Massasauga Wildlands Provincial Park, Toronto’s original Portlands concept, Toronto Outer Harbour Marina, City of Markham’s 56,000 acre ecological protection strategy, Don Valley Brickworks, and the first-phase master plan for the Rouge National Urban Park. More recently, he led the MG2V (Musser Gap-to-Valleylands) study that served as the basis for the stewardship of a strategic assemblage of university-owned parcels between State College and Tussey Mountain.
Tamminga regularly teaches advanced and intermediate studios and courses on plants and ecology. His award-winning Pittsburgh Studio introduces students to the joys and challenges of designing in and with underserved communities. Occasionally, he teaches a landscape film seminar that explores place-based ideas through critical viewing and videography. Tamminga is currently serving as our department’s education abroad coordinator, with a focus on the semester program in Bonn and several summer opportunities overseas.