Ecological design, education + outreach for a better future

Ecology plus Design (E+D), at Penn State, engages research-activated design intervention that seeks to significantly improve the ecological health of the designed world, particularly in the areas of biodiversity, energy, risk and hazard, and water systems.

Design is the means whereby we shape our environment. Merging Ecology + Design brings together ecologists and design professionals to research and develop frameworks, criteria, and strategies for planning, designing, restoring, and assessing ecologically productive landscapes.

Visit the main E+D Website

An aerial view of a small urban area surrounded by trees and a small body of water.

Wetlands + Climate Change Explored

The latest episode of the “Growing Impact” podcast by the Institutes of Energy and the Environment (IEE) features E+D Director Andy Cole’s research into hydrologic changes that may have occurred due to climate changes.

Very green ferns and other foliage in a wetland are the background with the text Climate Signals from Wetlands overtop in white and a script font logo for Growing Impact Podcast


It is E+D’s vision to be the international center of research, outreach, and education in ecological design.


E+D’s mission is research-activated ecological design, research-informed ecological design education, and outreach that work to improve the ecological health of the built and natural environment.

This center studies the intersection of ecological science and environmental design to provide innovation and leadership in the design of our built environment to improve ecological function — a claim made frequently by engineers, architects, landscape architects, and other professionals, but rarely substantiated.

Through E+D, we develop ecologically sustainable design procedures and methods that leverage natural system processes, account for landscape history — including social histories — and provide for temporally resilient ecosystems.


E+D has three primary objectives: research-activated ecological design, education in ecologically-based design, and outreach through a variety of classes, symposia, speakers, podcasts, workshops, and publications. The need for an ecologically-based approach to design is evident in the increasingly complex environmental problems that cannot be solved with a singular philosophical approach. The world is facing a tipping point where ecosystem integrity is increasingly compromised, leaving vulnerable those very ecosystem services upon which we depend.

E+D utilizes design as an organizing principle to continue to bring together ecologists, designers, and allied professionals to address ecological issues across a broad scale, from site to region. We expect the results of our work to be of importance to landscape architects, ecologists, planners, developers, architects, land managers, engineers, public health professionals, conservationists, and anyone else that seeks to both understand and modify the landscapes where we live.

In addition, the work of E+D is of importance to our community at-large because properly functioning ecosystem services can mitigate the extremes of climate change, hazards, and disasters, while providing a healthier everyday quality of life.

Close up of dirt and new growth of a tiny plant with three leaves, enveloped by hands.
EplusD field work showcasing a group of researchers standing and listening intently to two researchers presenting information on a white board.


EplusD community meeting showcasing people watching a person drawing and making notes on a paper schematic on a table.
EplusD students walking with notebooks along a road surrounded by cornfields.


Faculty, staff, students, external researchers, and industry professionals work within E+D to propose innovative solutions to ecological crises.

Core Faculty Researchers

Leann Andrews

  • Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture
  • Stuckeman Career Development Assistant Professor in Design

Charles Andrew "Andy" Cole

  • Director E+D: Ecology plus Design
  • Professor of Landscape Architecture and Ecology

Travis Flohr

  • Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture

Lisa Domenica Iulo

  • Director of the Hamer Center for Community Design
  • Associate Professor of Architecture

Stephen Mainzer

  • Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture

Hong Wu

  • Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture

Affiliate Researchers

Pep Avilés

  • Associate Professor of Architecture
  • Stuckeman Career Development Professorship in Design

Mallika Bose

  • Professor of Landscape Architecture
  • Associate Dean for Research, Creative Activity, and Graduate Studies

Laia Celma

  • Assistant Teaching Professor of Architecture

Mehrdad Hadighi

  • Stuckeman Professor in Advanced Studies
  • Professor of Architecture

Marc Miller

  • Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture

Peter Stempel

  • Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture

E+D podcasts!

New ideas play nicely with new media, and these E+D podcasts provide a quick dip into the deep waters of ecology and design. Dive in!