Karen Lutsky

Associate Professor, Landscape Architecture

Karen has held teaching and design research positions in landscape architecture at a number of institutions including the University of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania State University, the Illinois Institute of Technology, and University at Buffalo-SUNY. She also notably held the 2014/15 Miggs Caulkin Urban Visiting Professor Fellowship in the department of landscape architecture at the Ohio State University. Her current design research focuses on landscape architecture’s role in the future of the littoral zone of the Great Lakes and the potential of the lakes’ emergent land to address larger environmental issues and establish healthier relationships between people and the water. Karen is particularly interested in how landscape architecture, a design field that has long worked with issues of change and adaptation, may move the region to better celebrate and engage the dynamics of the littoral landscape in its efforts to establish a more resilient future. 


BA, Brandeis University

MLA, University of Pennsylvania

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Professional Experience

  • Co-Organizer of World of Matter - UMN - Minneapolis, MN
  • Visiting Assistant Professor - University at Buffalo - SUNY, Buffalo, NY
  • Miggs Caulkin Urban Visiting Professor Fellowship -The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH
  • Full-time Adjunct Professor - Pennsylvania State University, Philadelphia, PA
  • Adjunct Professor - Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago, IL
  • Assistant Instructor - University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
  • Landscape Research Project Manager - PENN Praxis, Philadelphia, PA
  • Landscape Design Collaborator, Consultant, or Intern - Olin, Philadelphia, PA, Studio Gang, Chicago, IL, Peter Osler + LVDA, Chicago, IL, APscape Reggio, Calabria, Italy

Selected Scholarship


  • Curious MethodsPlaces Online Journal, May 2017
  • The Wedge; Reclaiming the Littoral Great Lakes, The Third Coast Atlas, edited by Daniel Ibanez, Clare Lyster, Charles Waldheim, and Mason White, Actar Publishing house, forthcoming Fall 2016
  • Emergent Shorelines of the Great Lakes, Places Online Journal, March 2015 
  • Big, Old Tree; New, Big EasyScenario Journal, Spring 2014
  • Slow Tourism Masterplan for Iglesias, Sardinia, TBD, (co-editor/co-collaborator), Penn PRAXIS
  • Saginaw Bay Inventory Maps (instructed student work), Summer 2015, DredgeFest Great Lakes Exhibition 
  • Approaching the edge; reconsidering the littoral Great Lakes Exhibition, Fall 2014, (photographs and instructed student work), University at Buffalo - SUNY

Conferences and Invited Lectures

  • EXTRA; Situating a place for time in the littoral Great Lakes, International Association of Great Lakes Research 2016 Annual Conference (co-presented)
  • Muck + A Monoculture; the relationship between Phragmites australis and CDFs, DredgeFest Great Lakes at the University of Minnesota
  • The Design of Rivers in the Great Lakes Basin, International Association of Great Lakes Research 2015 Annual Conference
  • Approaching the Edge; Reconsidering the Littoral Great Lakes, Liquid Planning Seminar at the Taubman School of Architecture at the University of Michigan (co-presented)
  • Post Industrial Watersheds of the Great Lakes Basin, Lawrence Technical University (co-presented)
  • Approaching the Edge; reconsidering the Littoral Great Lakes Symposium + Exhibition, University at Buffalo - SUNY (co-organized + curated)
  • EXTRA; De-terratorialized Land of the Great Lakes Basin, Environmental Design Research Association Conference 2014 ‘Building with Change’ (co-presented)‘Representation and Communication' Universita Mediterranea Di Reggio Calabria


  • LA 5203 Ecological Dimensions of Spacemaking
  • LA 5376 Representation I
  • LA 8206 Making Urban Landscape Space

Selected Honors and Awards

  • Curator’s Choice Award for ‘Temporal Archipelago’, 2015 Field Constructs Competition
  • Faculty Book Development Grant for ‘EXTRA; Approaching the edge’, Pennsylvania State University
  • Faculty Travel Research Grant for ‘Approaching the edge; a study into re-emergent land along the Great Lakes’, Pennsylvania State University
  • Faculty Travel Research Grant for ‘Crystal Palace Park; a study in community engagement and the design process’, Pennsylvania State University
  • Co-advisor role for UPenn student Wei Chen for ‘See Different, Think Different, Draw Different’, 2012 National ASLA Student Awards
  • Student Honor Award in Analysis and Planning for ‘Big Old Tree; New Big Easy’, 2011 National ASLA Award
  • Finalist for 2010 OLIN summer fellowship, University of Pennsylvania Faculty
  • 2004 Weingarden Award for Environmental Research, Brandeis University
Karen Lutzky


144 Rapson
89 Church Street SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455
Map address