Photo credit: Laurie Rhodes

Catherine Seavitt Nordenson AR’94

Catherine Seavitt Nordenson is professor and chair of the Department of Landscape Architecture at the University of Pennsylvania’s Stuart Weitzman School of Design, where she holds the Martin and Margy Meyerson Chair of Urbanism. She is the co-executive director of the Ian L. McHarg Center for Urbanism and Ecology and creative director of LA+ Journal.

Seavitt’s scholarship and design work examines the entanglement of public space and public health through the lens of ecology, policy, and novel plant science. She studies urban landscapes, postindustrial sites, toxicity, and inventive plant knowledge, with a focus on actionable responses to the climate crisis and decarbonization. She is interested in the possibilities of a multispecies and multiscalar approach to ecological knowledge and design, and the potential of incorporating indeterminate, collective, and nonbinary thinking in support of social, environmental, and multispecies justice.

A registered architect and landscape architect, Seavitt is a graduate of The Cooper Union and Princeton University, a Fellow of the American Academy in Rome, a Fellow of the American Society of Landscape Architects, and a recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship and Graham Foundation grants for research in Brazil. She serves as a member of the US Army Corps of Engineers’ Environmental Advisory Board. Seavitt previously served as Professor and Director of the Master of Landscape Architecture Program at the City College of New York.

Seavitt’s books include Four Corridors (Hatje Cantz, 2019); Structures of Coastal Resilience (Island Press, 2018); Depositions: Roberto Burle Marx and Public Landscapes under Dictatorship (University of Texas Press, 2018); and On the Water: Palisade Bay (Hatje Cantz, 2010). Her book on the nineteenth-century sanitary engineer George E. Waring, Jr. is forthcoming with the University of Texas Press. Seavitt’s many book chapters and essays have been published widely, including the journals Architectural Review, Artforum, Avery Review, Harvard Design Magazine, JoLA, LA+, Landscape Architecture Magazine, PLOT, and Topos. All are freely available for download on

Catherine Seavitt Nordenson is a Fellow in Architecture (1997-1998) of the American Academy in Rome, and a recipient of both a Fulbright Fellowship (2001) and a Graham Foundation Grant (2002) for research in Brazil. She received the American Society of Landscape Architect’s New York Chapter President’s Award in 2018 and was the honoree at the ASLANY President’s Dinner: Groundbreakers on November 8, 2018, NYC. She received The Cooper Union President’s Citation in 2011 and was inducted into The Cooper Union Hall of Fame in 2011. She will be presented the CUAA John Q. Hejduck Award on February 8, 2024.