Professor Thaïsa Way Retires from the Department of Landscape Architecture

Thaisa Way

In June 2022, Professor Thaïsa Way will be retiring and redirecting from the Department of Landscape Architecture at the University of Washington as she pursues her work at Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collections, a research institute of Harvard University. Since joining the faculty in 2007, Thaïsa has served as educator, mentor, and friend to many – consistently encouraging all of us to look to the past to help frame and inspire the future. Throughout her career, Thaïsa has critically interrogated the Western canons of urban and landscape history to both broaden the reach and diversify the voices of histories that have shaped our designed landscapes and cities.

She is well known for her publications and lectures on feminist histories in landscape architecture and public space in cities drawing from her first book Unbounded Practices: Women, Landscape Architecture, and Early Twentieth Century Design (University of Virginia Press 2009) which was awarded the J.B. Jackson Book Award in 2012. She followed with another book, From Modern Space to Urban Ecological Design: the Landscape Architecture of Richard Haag (University of Washington Press 2015), exposing many under-explored narratives of post-industrial cities in relation to the practice of landscape architecture and has since collaborated on several edited volumes and monographs, as well as many scholarly journal and professional publications. As part of her work, she was named the 2015-2016 Garden Club of America Fellow in Landscape Architecture at the American Academy in Rome advancing a project, Drawing Histories of Landscape Architecture, before returning to UW to establish the drawing seminar and workshop series in the Department of Landscape Architecture which invites artists and creative practitioners to explore drawing as a creative, but more importantly critical practice for advancing design thinking and investigation.

Thaïsa exploring the design archives at Longue Vue Gardens, New Orleans.
Thaïsa exploring the design archives at Longue Vue Gardens, New Orleans. Photo: Longue Vue Gardens
Thaïsa Way had a foundational influence on my time in the UW Landscape Architecture Department. She encouraged me to build my MLA degree around my interest in landscape history when I wasn’t sure that such a path was possible. She demonstrated daily through her teaching and research the need to center history and historiography in the design process, highlighting with verve and style the continued relevance of key people, places, philosophies, and technologies. She created the space and opportunity for me to take risks, make discoveries, and engage broadly with the professional world. In short, Thaïsa has always exemplified the best qualities of a professor and a mentor, and I feel so very grateful to have studied with her.Betsy Anderson, NPS - Landscape Architect, MLA '14
Thaïsa and Rich Haag at Gasworks Park
Thaïsa and Rich Haag at Gasworks Park Photo: courtesy of TCLF


Throughout her time at UW Thaïsa continually revealed her commitment to community building and service. In 2018, Thaïsa was elevated to American Society of Landscape Architecture (ASLA) Fellow, and has served as a member and chair of the jury for the ASLA professional awards, a design reviewer, history consultant, and collaborator for numerous projects, all with the intention to build stronger democratic and equitable practices to improve our public realm.

I am incredibly grateful for the confidence and generosity Thaïsa has shown in me as a mentor, advocate, and teacher. I am continuously in awe of her willingness and ability to share the spaces she creates. This model of leadership—stepping forward to advance what is considered landscape history and stepping back to allow others to thrive in that space—continues to inspire my career and will continue to bring positive change to both landscape practice and history. Sara Jacobs, UBC, Assistant Professor, Ph.D. '20
A group of people standing and kneeling in front of drawn images
“Drawing Pictures In Your Mind” drawing workshop at Olson Kundig with Alan Maskin, March 2017. Photo: Ryan Patterson

With a strong commitment to the public university, Thaïsa was an adjunct in the Department of Architecture at the CBE as well as in the Department of History in the College of Arts & Sciences and in the Evans School of Public Policy and Governance. Thaïsa served as Chair of UW Faculty Senate, as well as Chair of the Senate Committee on Planning and Budget from 2016 to 2019. She led the project to curate the Faculty in 2050 report as well as to envision the Liberal Arts in the 21st century. Engaging with faculty, staff, and students across the university and the region, she sought to strengthen the role of the public university and higher education in the public realm and in the stewardship of our democracy.

Faculty, staff, students and service providers gathered in wǝɫǝbʔaltxʷ, Intellectual House
Faculty, staff, students and service providers gathered in wǝɫǝbʔaltxʷ, Intellectual House, for a full day of discussion and brainstorming on the topic of homelessness and affordable housing. Many had never met each other before. November 2016. Photo: Urban@UW

Always invested in connecting people and ideas, Thaïsa founded Urban@UW in 2015 as an opportunity to bridge the diverse perspectives and research by faculty and others on cities from across the University and beyond to establish common ground from diverse perspectives. Building on collaborations with faculty from across CBE as well as the Humanities, Social Sciences, and professional schools, Urban@UW sought to redefine how the university contributes to our collective futures. Thaïsa led the program as Director until 2019 when she took a leave of absence from the UW to pursue an opportunity as Director of the Garden and Landscape Studies Program at Dumbarton Oaks in Washington D.C., a research institute under the stewardship of the Trustees of Harvard University. In the next phase of her career, Thaïsa will be continuing to advance her work with Dumbarton Oaks in an effort to support, mentor, and advance the scholarship of emerging and established historians and educators in pursuing a more diverse and inclusive approach to understanding the history and future of our built environments.

A group of people standing with three in front holding a street sign that reads "Marjorie Sewell Cautley Way"
At the installation of the Street Sign for the newly named “Marjorie Sewell Cautley” in Sunnyside, New York Photo: Friends of Sunnyside
There is no one like Thaïsa when it comes to building bridges between the humanities, sciences, and landscape history, between designers and design historians, between urban studies and landscape architectural history. Her time at UW allowed Thaïsa to hone both her transdisciplinary research methods and her leadership skills. These have prepared her to shape Dumbarton Oaks Garden and Landscape Studies program into an exciting and impactful academic community—one that is uncovering the fundamental but often overlooked ways that the constructed landscape reinforces power and privilege as well as the unrecognized ways that marginalized groups appropriate landscapes and public spaces, and in doing so, assert their presence and claim their space in society. Elizabeth Meyer, UVA, Professor

We thank Thaïsa for all that she has provided to our students, our department, college, and university community.

Thaïsa Way and her daughter at the summit of Mt. Rainier
Thaïsa Way and her daughter at the summit of Mt. Rainier, July 2017

WASLA | Call for Design Leads – Empowering BIPOC Youth: Pathways to Sustainable Design Futures

For the next cohort UWASLA Youth Outreach; Empowering BIPOC Youth: Pathways to Sustainable Design Futures, will be working with DRCC Youth Corps on a series of events to redesign Jack Block Park. We are looking for people interested in joining the events to lead the youth in the process of design. Please refer to the flyer for more information regarding the project. A LOOK INSIDE THE PROJECT: In the month of May, Empowering BIPOC Youth: Pathways to Sustainable Design Futures, will be
working with DRCC Youth Corps on a design mock studio to redesign Jack Block Park. During each event we will have a presentation stating the goals of the day. Then in smaller teams the youth will collaborate on designing their ideal Jack Block Park. Leads will be present and work with the youth to answer questions and push their designs. We hope to empower students in the design field by letting them make their own choices, we are there to support and elevate their designs. Please note there is an opportunity to join the planning team that works on organizing the outline of each event. If you’re interested please fill out this short survey to have you listed!Email with any questions:
Learn More!​​​​​​​

PAC Transit Oriented Drawing (TOD) on Saturday May 21st

Join the UW//LA PAC on Saturday, May 21st for Transit Oriented Drawing from 10:30 AM to 1:30 PM.
  • Participants will receive a complimentary sketchbook, provided by Pacific Lighting Systems.
  • Event begins at 10:30 AM at the University of Washington station and head off to sketch the surrounding areas near the U District, Roosevelt and Northgate stations.
  • Event concludes with food and beverages at 12:30PM in Gould Court.
Please contact Jack Alderman or Shawn Stankewich with any questions.
When: May 21st
Where: University of Washington Station
Time: 10:30 AM – 1:30 PM
Jack Alderman:
Shawn Stankewich:
***RSVP by Monday MAY 16th***

APWA (American Public Works Association) UW Chapter Officer Openings

Why join us?

Opportunities to develop relationships with local professionals in the field of public works to not only understand future career opportunities but also get direct leads on employment! We also host resume reviews as well as networking sessions and tours to public works sites like the UW Power Plant and SeaTac International Airport.

The field of public works is vast and includes all aspects of civil engineering, environmental science and engineering, construction management, and public administration. The Washington State chapter of APWA is the 3rd largest chapter in the country and is very active in education, advocacy and networking. Membership in the UW Chapter is alse free!

The UW officers’ primary role is helping organize one or two events per quarter, including educational presentations, field trips, resume workshops and networking events with local professionals. If you are interested in joining us for next year, please fill out this form(

APWA UW Chapter

Perlego $20,000 scholarship

The applications for 2022 open today (April 18th).

The deadline is August 20th.

These are the scholarship details:

  • One grand prize winner will receive a scholarship of $5,000/year for 4 years of college/university. In addition they will receive a 1-3 month internship after graduation.
  • Scholarship is open to current high school and college students meeting the following criteria:
  • Interested in/studying technology, computer science, or engineering
  • Minimum GPA: 3.0

Interested students can go here to learn more:

2022 WASLA National Conference Stipend Application

WASLA National Conference Stipends will be awarded to:

● Two student members of ASLA. Applicants must be enrolled in a university Landscape
Architecture program in Washington State.
● Two emerging professionals that are current ASLA Washington Chapter members.
Emerging professionals are those who graduated from university in the Class of 2017 or
more recently.

The stipend is an award of $1,700.00 to attend the 2022 ASLA National Conference in San
Francisco, CA on November 11-14, 2022.

Recipients will be responsible for registration, airfare, and accommodations with personal funds.
These expenses will be reimbursed following purchase per WASLA reimbursement policy.



  • Applications must be received by Midnight on April 29th, 2022.
  • WASLA will announce the recipients in late May.
  • Previous WASLA National Conference Stipend recipients are not eligible.
  • Please email Philip VanDevanter ( with any questions.



Please respond to one of the following prompts in a short essay (300-500 words):

If you were to attend the 2022 ASLA Conference, what built-project in the San Francisco Bay
Area would you like to visit to learn more about one of the topics listed below? Please describe
what you’d hope to learn about the topic from your visit and about how this would inform your
studies or professional work. (Word limit: 500 words)

Focus topics:
1. Gentrification, affordability, and homelessness
2. Changing the culture in practice
3. Climate change and resilience
4. Water resource management
5. Another topic that is a focus of your work or studies


Submit Application Here!

Internship Opportunity with Seattle Public Utilities

Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) is seeking two (2) interns for the Drainage and Wastewater (DWW) Line of Business to support the DWW Policy Program.


Policy interns will be responsible for supporting policy development by collaborating with staff across DWW, SPU, and broader City family to facilitate policy development, research policy issues, evaluate potential solutions, prepare briefings, and help to develop recommendations. Policy topics will generally focus on stormwater and wastewater system management and maintenance, and may include green stormwater infrastructure, non-potable water reuse strategies, climate change issues such as urban flooding, and more.

As a member of a collaborative team, the interns will have opportunities to work closely with individuals with extensive experience in policy, environmental regulation, city planning, and water and natural resource planning.


They will:

  • Develop basic understanding of city government functions and the DWW system and related policies
  • Participate in race and social justice work and practice building relational culture
  • Deep dive on 1-2 policy issues, practice gathering relevant information, performing economic and/or data analysis, summarizing information in succinct memos, and creating presentations to brief staff


The listing with more detail is here:


Application due April 19th

Design & Innovation for Sustainable Cities ☀ Info Session (UC Berkeley Summer Program)

Disc* is an immersive five-week summer program for college students offered by UC Berkeley’s College of Environmental Design. It explores an interdisciplinary and multi-scalar approach to design and analysis in the urban environment. Disc* participants engage in the discourses of urban innovation, and develop creative solutions to tackle the urgent challenges global cities face today. Disc* is open to eligible students from any college or university. No prior experience in design is necessary.
Sign up for the Disc* Information session
Design & Innovation for Sustainable Cities:

On March 29, 2022 at 5pm PT, you will learn more about the UC Berkeley summer program. Sign-up for the virtual session now.


Professor Nancy Rottle Retires from the Department of Landscape Architecture

Nancy Rottle, a long-time professor of landscape architecture and the past Scan Design Foundation Endowed Chair, has retired after more than 20 years of teaching, research and service at the University of Washington. We are happy to see her step into the next stages of her life and work, though Nancy’s presence and meaningful contributions to the students, the program, and the profession will undoubtedly be missed. She has taught, supported, and mentored generations of students, many of whom continue to advance the profession today.

“Over her career at the University of Washington, Nancy has been a fantastic colleague, teacher, mentor, and friend for so many in our community locally and abroad. Her research and scholarly work have continually pushed the boundaries and broken through the glass ceilings in the profession. We have all learned much from Nancy and are better professionals, but more importantly people, from our direct engagement with her. Her legacy in teaching and research will be with us for a long time to come.” – Ken P. Yocom

Rottle joined the Department of Landscape Architecture in 2001 as an Assistant Professor and held adjunct positions in the Department of Architecture and the Department of Urban Planning and Design. After a previous career as a teacher, she received her Bachelors and Masters of Landscape Architecture from the University of Oregon in 1985 and 1987, where she also taught plants and design studio courses. Nancy then spent over a decade in private practice, including 11 years at Jones & Jones Architects and Landscape Architects in Seattle. In that time, she contributed to and led projects ranging from large-scale planning to detailed design, co-taught summer professional courses at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design, and became licensed as a landscape architect in Washington.

People riding bikes on a trail
Nancy leading students on a bike trip on the island of Samsø in Denmark
Nancy’s accomplishments as an educator have been phenomenal. I have followed her career at Jones & Jones and her leap into the academic arena. She is the rare combination: a skilled practitioner, an inspiring teacher, and an insightful researcher who advances the theory and practice of landscape architecture in all she does. As a Fellow there is no greater pleasure than to have a former student and co-author join the ranks.
Kenneth Helphand, FASLA Philip H. Knight Professor Emeritus of Landscape Architecture, University of Oregon

Nancy’s impacts in applied research and as an educator have had an immeasurable influence on many students over the years. Weaving academic, community, and professional sensibilities, her design studios engaged with local communities to contribute transformational vision and insight into built environment possibilities, and resulted in an impressive collection of books, exhibits, and websites to extend the work’s potential impacts. Under Nancy’s guidance, many students and their projects have won local, national and international awards for their innovative planning and design work. She has been recognized by the Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture for excellence in Studio Teaching and was elevated to the Council of Fellows of the American Society of Landscape Architects in 2014.

Nancy and students sitting in a circle
Nancy and Paul in Copenhagen with students at the office of Schulze + Grassov.
Nancy Rottle’s work as landscape architecture practitioner-professor exemplifies the kind of knowledge processes that our increasingly complex world requires. Provoking important conversations in a politically- complex landscape, her probative approach is an example for both her students and policy-makers. Hosting inclusive conversations, applying rigorous research standards, building cross- disciplinary collaborations, and producing informative publications, she has mastered the art of inspiring and transforming her students’ visions of a sustainable future into meaningful, city-shaping public policy.Brice Maryman, RLA, ASLA, LEED AP, MxM Landscape Architecture

For much of her time at UW, Nancy focused her research and teaching on advancing our understanding and practice of regenerative green infrastructure, and she has been a thought leader in our mission to advance urban ecological design in landscape architecture education. As the Founder and Director of the Green Futures Lab (GFL), which she established in 2006 to bridge academia with the design professions, Nancy has spearheaded diverse research and design projects addressing urban and regional green infrastructure, including parks and open space, habitat, stormwater, active transport, and community space, many which have impacted local processes, visions, plans and regulatory codes. Through the GFL, Nancy has facilitated engagement with communities to equitably envision their ecological futures, conducted collaborative landscape research, and initiated, mentored and published a series of award-winning public space design guides made available through the Lab’s website. Current projects in the GFL include renewal of Gould Hall’s living green wall and testing of floating wetland prototypes in both fresh and marine waters in the Lab’s Living Shorelines Puget Sound initiative established to revive ecological habitat in Seattle’s waterways.

Committed to the transformative value of international education, for over a decade Nancy also served as the Endowed Chair in Built Environments for the Scan Design Fellowship program at the UW. Supported by the Scan Design Foundation with a mission to foster relationships between Denmark and the U.S., Professor Rottle’s advocacy enabled hundreds of UW students to study abroad in Denmark. Also with Foundation support, Nancy has sponsored student internships with prominent Danish professional offices, brought Danish urban design luminaries to teach and lecture in Seattle, and has annually led a popular interdisciplinary design studio which begins with a two-week study tour to Denmark and Sweden to experience and examine exemplary public space design. She also co-taught two term-long study abroad studios to New Zealand, which fostered both student and community learning and design visioning following the devastating Christchurch earthquakes.

People standing in yellow construction vests and hardhats
Nancy and students on a tour of the damaged Christchurch Cathedral during the New Zealand Study Abroad studio.
Through projects like Open Space Seattle 2100, Nancy has proven to be an exceptionally innovative and influential voice in promoting a well-designed and ecologically healthy built environment. During my 2012 sabbatical in Copenhagen I also had a chance to witness firsthand Nancy’s outstanding teaching skills in her leadership of the UW travel studio. She is a passionate, engaging and highly effective educator.
Lyle Bicknell, Principal Urban Designer, City of Seattle Office of Planning and Community Development

Rottle’s professional and academic career has been recognized many times over with awards for professional and academic planning and design projects. Her work has received prestigious awards from the American Society of Landscape Architects for the Cedar River Watershed Education Center, the Regional Open Space Planning Strategy for Central Puget Sound, and Open Space Seattle 2100: Designing Seattle’s Green Network for the Next Century. Throughout her academic career, she published prolifically in books and peer reviewed journals, and co-edited a special theme issue Climate Change and Place (2008, Places Journal) and the volume Green Infrastructure Implementation (2014, WEF). With Ken Yocom she co-authored the illustrated book Ecological Design (2010, AVA Publishing). Her latest writing endeavor is the upcoming peer reviewed book The Art of Sustainable Stormwater (Fairchild/Bloomsbury Press). Nancy’s many invited lectures have been appreciated by audiences locally, across the U.S. and abroad.

Nancy is one of a kind. A force. She teaches with high expectations, patience and empathy. Her research and design work dares to challenge the stickiest of socio-environmental problems with her boundless optimism and drive. Her lifetime dedication to service has made a lasting impact in our region and in landscape innovation. It’s been such a privilege to have Nancy as a mentor, colleague and friend over the last decade, and over the course of her career Nancy has inspired hundreds (thousands?) of students and professionals to be, well, better. Thank you, Nancy, for teaching us all that nothing is unachievable, and boldness and kindness are not mutually exclusive. I have no idea what retirement looks like for you after such a fierce career, but I hope there is lots of gardening and bike riding in your future! Congratulations! Leann Andrews, Assistant Professor, Department of Landscape Architecture, Penn State College of Arts and Architecture
Nancy Rottle standing next to a red structure
Nancy at the Circle Bridge in Copenhagen. Photo credit: Daví de la Cruz

While we are eager to hear of her next adventures, we are also comforted in knowing that Nancy has elected to continue research collaborations through the UW, as well as to continue to teach the Scan Design-sponsored interdisciplinary studio. We thank and honor Nancy for her years of service to the students, college and profession and look forward to cultivating her future engagements with our community as an Emeritus professor.