About Prof. McGuire, PLA
I’m a licensed landscape architect and an associate professor of landscape architecture. I also Chair the Master of Landscape Architecture program and have affiliate appointments in the Department of Urban and Regional Planning and the Unit for Criticism and Interpretive Theory. Previous to my academic work, I practiced landscape architecture for ten years including for Peter Walker & Partners and Conservation Design Forum.
My 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 and for climate adaptation. I teach studios and seminars on this issue and collaborate with geologists, engineers, NGOs, and communities by integrating research, modeling, design, and information exchange to develop more equitable and resilient green-blue infrastructure in Chicago and the Great Lakes Basin.
I lead this work through a small design research studio called Water Lab located in Chicago that investigates the infrastructural condition of urban ground and identifies opportunities to reconnect communities with soil, water, and tools of climate adaptation. Currently Water Lab (with involvement by graduate research assistants) is leading the start-up of an initiative called Depave Chicago — a collaborative, community-based program to renature unused and underutilized parking lots where there could be parks and public space with tree canopy, rain gardens, living earth, and community programming.
I was interviewed on Streetsblog USA’s Talking Headways podcast and Friends of the Chicago River’s Inside Out and About podcast about this work.
Public Engagement, Service, and Support
I serve the public through the Chicago Calumet River Watershed Council, Calumet Stormwater Collaborative, Trust for Public Land’s Technical Advisory Team, and MPC’s River Ecology and Governance Task Force, and enjoy giving talks and participating in public forums about urban regeneration. My work has been financially supported by the U.S. EPA, IL/IN National Sea Grant (NOAA), the Wright Ingraham Institute, the Walder Foundation, the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research at the University of Illinois, and the Landscape Architecture Foundation where I twice served as Research Fellow to study the landscape performance of six public projects. I also recently received The Presidents Award in 2022 from the Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture in recognition of service to that organization.
- Certificate in Leadership in Sustainability Management, University of Chicago, 2015
- Master of Landscape Architecture, University of Virginia, 2003
- Certificate, Woody Plants, George Washington University, 2000
- BA in International Relations/Political Theory, The College of William & Mary, 1994
Research and publications
My publications include a co-edited book Fresh Water: Design Research for Inland Territories (Applied Research and Design Publishing, 2019) and papers and articles published in The Plan Journal, Journal of Landscape Architecture, Landscape Journal, Environmental Research: Infrastructure and Sustainability, Topos, Environmental Health News, Grist, and Next City. I’m writing a new book, Surface Design in Landscape Architecture (Routledge) that categorizes design strategies for the remaking of post-industrial urban ground. I’m currently on the editorial board for a2ru’s Ground Works and will be editing a Special Issue in 2023 with Kevin Hamilton and Shannon Criss on community-university collaborative partnerships.
Teaching and advising
- LA433 (Foundation Site Studio, graduate level)
- LA336/438 (Design Workshop - topics in surface design and green infrastructure, undergraduate and graduate combined)
- LA437 (Regional Design Studio, undergraduate level)
- LA587 - Designing with Climate (recent seminar)
- LA346 - Professional Practice (undergraduate and graduate combined)
- LA250 - Site Analysis (undergraduate level)
Through my studios, students have directly participated in and contributed to community projects in the Chicago-Calumet Region through urban and community forestry design and green stormwater infrastructure design, including winning an American Society of Landscape Architects Student Collaboration Award in 2019. In these studios, students have collaborated with the U.S. Forest Service, Student Conservation Association, Chicago Regional Trees Initiative, The Nature Conservancy, IL-Extension, researchers from Prairie Research Institute and civil & environmental engineering, industry representatives, municipal leaders and staff members, and community members.