Laura Musacchio

Associate Professor

How do people's experiences of urban nature influence their values about nature conservation and their relations with plants and wildlife? A key question like this motivates me to discover what plants and wildlife mean to people when they experience urban green spaces. I am intrigued by people's interactions with different types of urban nature (or urban natures) in green infrastructure, urban forests, remnant habitats, gardens, and so on. When people decide to transform landscapes, they live and work in, they create different types of urban nature (or urban natures) depending on their what nature and biodiversity means to them as well as their culture. I am also very interested in these topics: (1) how people reconnect to green spaces as a way to reduce stress and improve well-being; (2) how people's understanding influence their relationship with ecosystem services and disservices of biodiversity, food, and water; and (3) how changes in weather and climate might shift people's understanding of nature and biodiversity.

Read more

I teach several courses at the undergraduate and graduate level in these topics, and I encourage students to develop an interdisciplinary perspective that facilitates the integration of science, art, and practice. I also facilitate classroom experiences to help students explore the pluralistic meanings of ecology and culture and to delve into how these meanings might inform their approach to their studies. Students from a variety of disciplines take my courses including landscape architecture, architecture, urban design, conservation biology, natural resources, urban and regional planning, public policy, sustainability, humanities, and the arts. I am also affiliated with the Urban and Regional Planning program in the Humphrey School of Public Affairs and Conservation Biology program in the College of Food and Natural Resource Sciences.

My portfolio of projects also includes interdisciplinary work. My research projects include participation on an interdisciplinary research team-funded by NASA-that investigated how city size and shape influenced severe weather, urban pollution, and canopy transition patterns in the Great Plains. My work with this project looked at bridging land change science to green infrastructure practice for sustainable and resilient metropolitan regions. My fellowship with Institute on the Environment at the University of Minnesota investigated the topic of boundary management as an approach in the sciences to better connect theory and application in planning, policy, management, and design.

I am an emeritus editorial board member of Landscape and Urban Planning. I was also an editorial board member of Landscape Ecology and Biodiversity and Conservation. In addition, I am a member of the American Society of Landscape Architects.


B.L.A., Magna Cum Laude, State University New York, Syracuse

M.L.A., State University New York, Syracuse

Ph.D., Urban and Regional Science (Emphasis areas: Landscape Systems and Environmental Planning and Policy), Texas A&M

Expand all

Selected Scholarship


  • Musacchio, L. 2018. Ecologies as a complement to ecosystem services? Exploring how landscape planners might advance understanding about human-nature relationships in changing landscapes. Landscape Ecology 33:847–860
  • Musacchio, L. 2013. Key concepts and research priorities for landscape sustainability (introduction to special issue). Landscape Ecology 28:995–998
  • Musacchio, L. 2013. Cultivating deep care: Integrating landscape ecological research into the cultural dimension of ecosystem services. Landscape Ecology 28:1025–1038
  • Musacchio, L. 2011. The grand challenge to operationalize landscape sustainability and the design-in-science paradigm. Landscape Ecology 26:1–5
  • Musacchio, L. 2011. The world's matrix of vegetation: Hunting the hidden dimension of landscape sustainability. Landscape and Urban Planning 100:356–360
  • Musacchio, L. 2009. The scientific basis for the design of landscape sustainability: A conceptual framework for translational landscape research and practice of designed landscapes and the six Es of landscape sustainability. Landscape Ecology 24:993–1013
  • Musacchio, L. 2009. The ecology and culture of landscape sustainability (Introduction to special issue). Landscape Ecology 24:989–992


  • LA 3204 Holistic Landscape Ecology and Bioregional Practice
  • LA 5204 Metropolitan Landscape Ecology
  • LA 5705 Regreening Minds, Cities, and Regions seminar
  • LA 8301 Research Issues and Methods

Selected Honors and Awards

Laura Musacchio


145H Rapson
89 Church Street SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455
Map address