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Gene Bressler, FASLA

Professor Emeritus of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning


Professor Emeritus Gene Bressler, FASLA was head of the Department of Landscape Architecture from 2006 – 2018.  He is currently in Phased Retirement status serving as the Founding Director of the College’s emerging Design Collaborative.  He co-teaches the First-Year Fall MLA Design Studio with Professor Carla Delcambre and mentors the faculty and students on their scholarly and academic projects, courses, and careers.  His research and teaching focuses on urban growth, sustainable development, and the planning and design strategies for “Challenging Suburbia.” In 2008, he co-authored, with University of Colorado Professor Allan Wallis, “Oh Give Me Land, Lots of Land,” in the book Healing the West by Professor Patricia Limerick.

His major accomplishments as department head include: working with the faculty and students to revise the MLA curriculum; leading the graduate first professional MLA program to successful re-accreditation reviews; building strong relationships with the professional community; authoring the MLA Handbook; enhancing the research mission of the department; and initiating the department’s Lecture Series and the department’s Professional Development/Mentor Program that pairs landscape architecture practitioners with our students.  Working with faculty, he participated in the planning and direction of DesignWeek[’17-Beta] and ‘18, an all department event focused on several eastern North Carolina communities devastated by flooding resulting from the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew.

During his tenure as department head, Professor Bressler led the faculty and students in initiatives that resulted in:

  • The revision of the MLA graduate curriculum and development and implementation of 12 new courses including:
    • The Landscape Imperative
    • Research and Strategic Thinking
    • Greenway Planning and Design
    • GIS Applications in Landscape Architecture
    • Landscape and Culture (formerly called Landscape Dynamics)
    • Landscape Performance and Metrics
    • Landscape Architecture Digital Media 1 and 2
    • Advanced Digital Modeling and Representation
    • Contemporary Issues in Landscape Preservation
    • Landscape Architecture Theory and Criticism
    • Environmental Social Equity and Design
  • The implementation of the award-winning Design + Build program delivered by Professors Andy Fox, Carla Delcambre, and Jesse Turner;
  • The University’s awarding and naming Professors Andrew Fox and Kofi Boone University Faculty Scholars; and
  • Numerous national and regional awards from the American Society of Landscape Architecture given students and faculty for their achievements in planning and design.

Bressler served on the Dean’s Administrative Council and Steering Committee for the College’s annual Urban Design Forum held each spring and on numerous committees within the College and University including the Campus Review Panel, and the Provost’s Department Head Advisory Council.  From 2009 to 2013 he served on NC Board of Landscape Architects and has been involved with the Blue Ridge Road Corridor Alliance since 2009 currently serving as Chair of the Development Projects Advisory Panel.

From 1997 to 2006, Bressler served as Chair of the Landscape Architecture Department at the University of Colorado, Denver.  For several years, he co-taught an annual series of advanced interdisciplinary graduate design studios, “Challenging Suburbia,” with Architecture Professor Keith Loftin that studied and generated alternatives to existing residential community design development paradigms.  In 2003, he was named Director of the Colorado Center for Sustainable Urbanism and was responsible for producing the 2004 and 2005 “Colorado Tomorrow” public forum focused on population and urban growth challenges facing the state.  He was a founding member and president of the Colorado Community Design Network and consulting principal with the Denver-based firms Landscape Strategies and Design Studios West.  In addition, he chaired the College’s Information Technologies Committee charged with creating and implementing the College’s Interdisciplinary IT Strategic Plan that led to the implementation of computer-aided design, visualization and modeling, and GIS hardware and software technologies.

Prior to his work at Colorado, Bressler was on the faculty of the University of Oregon, Eugene, from 1971 to 1985. There, his teaching and research activities pioneered the development of computer-driven landscape suitability modeling technologies used to study and evaluate opportunities and constraints to development, infrastructural costs, environmental impacts, and alternative urban planning and design strategies.  This led to his accepting a position from 1985 to 1995 with Dynamic Graphics, Inc., a developer of internationally recognized software used in numerous terrain and land use mapping, modeling, and visualization applications.

In 2006, Bressler was named recipient of the Outstanding Administrator of the Year by the Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture (CELA) for “his leadership and contributions to teaching.”  In 2007, he was elected Fellow by the American Society of Landscape Architects.  At the request of Dean Marvin Malecha, Bressler delivered the Fall 2010 College of Design Commencement Address, “Game Changing One’s Way to the Main Thing.” The North Carolina Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects named him recipient of the President’s Council Award, 2017 “in recognition of his major achievements for the advancement of the profession.”

In 2018, in honor of Professor Bressler’s achievements and contributions, the College through generous gifts from colleagues, friends, former students, and professionals, established the first funded College of Design faculty endowment, the Gene Bressler Landscape Architecture Faculty Award Endowment that “provides funds to ensure extraordinary research, teaching and outreach, opportunities for faculty academic enrichment.”


Master in Landscape Architecture Harvard Graduate School of Design 1970

Bachelor of Landscape Architecture SUNY ESF 1968