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M. Elen Deming, DDes, FASLA

Director, Doctor of Design and Professor of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning


* See Elen discuss her work in the Landscape Architecture + Environmental Planning department in this video!*

M. Elen Deming is Director for the new Doctor of Design Program at the College of Design at NC State. For nearly 25 years she has taught design studios, design history and theory, and research design in landscape architecture and is a sought-after graduate mentor.  Most recently, Deming was Professor of Landscape Architecture and former Department Head at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and, from 1993 to 2008, she taught at SUNY’s College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse, NY.

Deming’s research interests are two-fold: history and theory of landscape representation and utopian thought in 20th-century urban design, as well as research design and methodology serving the needs of professional practitioners. These areas of expertise synthesize her studies in humanities, teaching, design practice, and editorial experiences.

From 1985 through 1992, Deming practiced as a professional landscape architect at Sasaki Associates (Boston). She is professionally licensed in three states, has served two terms on the Illinois State Registration Board (2009-2017), and has been recognized by the ASLA for contributions to knowledge in the profession.

Co-editor of Landscape Journal from 2002 with James F. Palmer (emeritus, SUNY ESF), Deming became sole editor from 2006 to 2009. On the basis of work published in the field, she and Simon Swaffield co-authored Landscape Architecture Research: Inquiry/Strategy/Design (Wiley 2011), a framework explaining the breadth of research strategies operating in that discipline. The book was translated into Chinese in 2013 and has been widely adopted as an international standard. Deming is currently working on a series of articles and case studies focusing more broadly on a range of interdisciplinary design research practices in professional firms and agencies.

Meanwhile, Deming has edited a volume of essays called Values in Landscape Architecture and Environmental Design: Finding Center (LSU Press 2015) and recently completed Landscape Observatory (ORO/AR+D forthcoming 2017), an edited monograph on the design work of regionalist landscape architect Terence Harkness.

Deming has served as President of the Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture (2009-2011 cycle) and twice was selected as Research Fellow for LAF’s Case Study Investigation Program in Landscape Performance (2013, 2015). Currently, she serves on the Board of Directors of the Landscape Architecture Foundation as Vice President for Research.


BA State University of New York at Albany 1976

MLA Harvard GSD 1985

MA of History of Art & Architecture Syracuse University 1997

Doctor of Design Harvard GSD 2001