People

Elizabeth K. Meyer

Faculty Director, Merrill D. Peterson Professor of Landscape Architecture, FASLA

Since Meyer’s graduate studies in landscape architecture and historic preservation, she has been fascinated by the thick description of landscapes—places replete with cultural memories and biophysical processes. This perspective has afforded her opportunities to research, interpret, plan and design significant projects such as the UVA Academical Village (with EDAW 1980s), Bryant Park in NYC (with Laurie Olin 1980s), the Wellesley College campus outside of Boston (with MVVA 1990s), and the St. Louis Gateway Arch Grounds, a modernist memorial landscape designed by Saarinen and Kiley (with MVVA 2000s).

Meyer founded the UVA Center for Cultural Landscapes as a collaborative hub for scholars and practictioners seeking to create new models for cultural landscape research, interpretation, preservation and adaptive use. Her first projects included a collaboration with The Cultural Landscape Foundation on “What’s Out there Richmond," a two-day workshop celebrating the varied urban cultural landscapes of the Commonwealth’s Capitol, and The Cultural Landscape Atlas of Virginia, a multi-year initiative to graphically document and  interpret the varied landscape mosaic of monumental and everyday, urban and rural, designed and found places that reflect our past interactions between humans and the non-human world, and provides the spatial matrix within which our future health and well-being will unfold. The atlas is intended as a proactive means to alter Virginia’s citizens’ and leaders’ perceptions of the value of the cultural landscape before contested issues about development or conservation occur. She welcomes the involvement of many students and colleagues in this project.

Jessica Sewell

Jessica Ellen Sewell

Co-Director, Associate Professor in Urban and Environmental Planning

Associate Professor Jessica Ellen Sewell has a deep background in cultural landscape studies, going back to her graduate work at UC Berkeley, where she received her PhD in Architecture in 2000. Sewell’s work has focused particularly on questions of gender and difference, which are central to her 2011 book, Women and the Everyday City (University of Minnesota Press). In this book she explores San Francisco's public spaces at the turn of the century through an analysis of the relationships between imagined, experienced, and built gendered landscapes. 
 
Sewell joined UVA as an Associate Professor in Urban and Environmental Planning in January of 2016. In addition to exploring the cultural landscapes of American cities, she has also brought her cultural landscapes approach to Chinese cities during the 3½ years she was Head of the Department of Urban Planning and Design and Chair of the Built Environment Cluster at Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University in Suzhou. In collaborations with colleagues there, she created an app, Exploring Suzhou, that students and scholars can use to explore the urban cultural landscapes of Suzhou, a city of 14 million that encompasses both historic gardens and traditional neighborhoods and modern new town development.