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Mary Pat McGuire, RLA

Mary Pat McGuire is an Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture, Licensed Landscape Architect, and Director of The Water Lab. Her design research falls within the theory and practice of water urbanism and specifically confronts one of the biggest issues we face: how to redesign the (impervious) surfaces of cities for rainwater. She teaches design studios on this issue and collaborates with geologists, hydrologists, engineers, and artists on water, integrating scientific investigation, modeling, design research, and experiential learning so as to reunite people, land, and water in cities. Through this work she advocates for equitable and resilient water systems and green/blue infrastructure in Great Lakes cities.

McGuire is the author of Cities as Hydro-Geologic Terrain (The Plan Journal, 2018) and is the PI of an Illinois/Indiana Sea Grant (NOAA) working with communities in the Chicago-Calumet, from which her team and her students won a National ASLA Student Award. McGuire is also the co-editor of Fresh Water: Design Research for Inland Water Territories (Applied Research & Design Publishing, 2019), and she is currently writing a new book, Surface Design in Landscape Architecture (Routledge, 2021). Her papers have been published in Journal of Landscape Architecture, Landscape Journal, and Topos. McGuire has been interviewed on NPR on urban stormwater management, and her work has been profiled in Landscape Architecture Magazine and the Architects Newspaper.

Prior to academia, McGuire practiced for ten years including for Peter Walker & Partners and Conservation Design Forum, and prior to joining the University of Illinois, she taught at Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago. Her work has been financially supported by United States Environmental Protection Agency (US-EPA), University of Illinois Campus Research Board, Wright Ingraham Institute, the Brenton H. & Jean B. Wadsworth Endowment, the Stanley White Fund, and a 2016-2018 Design Research Fellowship in the College of Fine & Applied Arts at the University of Illinois. She has twice served as Research Fellow with the Landscape Architecture Foundation. McGuire holds a Master of Landscape Architecture degree from the University of Virginia, a Certificate in Leadership in Sustainability Management from the University of Chicago, and a BA in International Relations/Political Theory from the College of William & Mary.