Lance M. Neckar, ASLA, Director
Lance is a professor of Environmental Analysis. He is a registered landscape architect with master’s degrees from the Harvard Graduate School of Design and the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where his master’s thesis focused on early suburban designs. He is a former editor of Landscape Journal, the North American peer-reviewed publication in that field. The broad bandwidth of his academic work mirrors the breadth of issues in sustainability education. His work springs from multiple foundations.
In the area of sustainability studies, he has focused on the development of systemic tools to induce greater resilience into the built and planted environment. His courses in the Environmental Analysis Sustainability and the Built Environment track examine design and planning approaches for resilience. While he was a professor at the University of Minnesota, he was co-principal investigator for interdisciplinary projects to develop conservation performance across the energy + water nexus. He was a principal investigator for the state’s conservation plan, a policy project of the Legislative and Citizen’s Commission on Minnesota Resources focused on ecosystems services and biodiversity. Building on that work, his particular focus in California has been on water, and especially storm water infiltration and reuse systems. He maintains a career-long scholarly interest in urban and suburban design issues. In particular he looks forward to bringing engaged focus on multifunctional infrastructural solutions to the sprawled landscape of Southern California that increase access and intermodality while also conserving water and air quality. Corresponding to student interest in food justice, he will also work to establish enhanced technical support for affordable edible gardens.
On another quadrant of sustainability, from his humanistic foundations in undergraduate study of modern European history and German, Lance has recently written about the relationship between the memorial landscape of postwar Berlin to the languages of its political, cultural and aesthetic formation. He has also published several scholarly articles and book chapters on the history and theory of landscape architecture.
Jesse Meisler Abramson, Sustainability Coordinator
Growing up in the Catskill Mountains of New York, Jesse learned to love and appreciate the earth’s abundance and complexities – this appreciation has translated into a commitment to the study of sustainability and resiliency. Jesse graduated from Pitzer in 2011 with a degree in Sociology, with an emphasis of study on earth-based architecture, and wrote his thesis on the applicability of earthen architecture as a post-natural disaster rebuilding strategy. While at Pitzer, he worked at the Shakedown, started the campus chapter of Food not Bombs, created the Free Room, went through the Ontario Program, and kicked back on the mounds. Jesse has studied at Cal-Earth, Earthship Biotecture, the Finger Lakes Permaculture Institute, and UC Berkeley’s College of Environmental Design.
As Pitzer’s Sustainability Coordinator, Jesse has a wide range of duties. He works as an advocate for student projects and groups; organizes the ReRoom reclamation project, a waste stream diversion program keeping reusable items out of the landfill and reintegrate them back into the community; keeps the school’s Green House Gas Emissions reporting up-to-date, collecting data and reporting to ACUPCC; brings events and lectures to campus; is part of the Environmental Analysis Field Group, and works as a staff member to The Robert Redford Conservancy for Southern California Sustainability.
Jesse spends his time away from work exploring LA – eating his way through it and also learning to surf. He spends time in the San Gabriel Mountains hiking and enjoying the swimming holes. Jesse likes to stay active – playing basketball, racquetball, hiking, and gardening – and firmly believes the more time spent outside the better.
Rachel Warburton, Arthur Vining Davis Urban Ecology Fellow
Rachel is a graduate of Pitzer College and holds a degree in Environmental Analysis in the Sustainability and the Built Environment track. She wrote her senior thesis on sustainable brownfield redevelopment in low-income areas of Los Angeles and hopes to pursue the field of landscape architecture, with specific emphasis on repurposing brownfields and industrial waste sites as parks and community spaces.
Her interest in landscape architecture and ecological design sprouted from an internship she had in high school at the Botanical Gardens in her hometown of San Antonio, Texas. Every job after that involved either the outdoors, design or food—her three main passions. While at Pitzer she integrated all of these interests into garden projects, in elementary schools around Claremont and within the greater Los Angeles area.
Now back at Pitzer she is working as the Urban Ecology Fellow under an Arthur Vining Davis Grant. For the 2013-2014 school year she will be assisting the Environmental Analysis Field Group and the Conservancy on various projects, grants and activities while also acting as a liaison between the students and Environmental Analysis faculty. She also plans to work with sustainable design projects around campus and within the Inland Empire, such as the EPA Rainworks Green Infrastructure design competition, which she will be co-leading. She is happy to be working at the place that helped her find her passion for sustainable design and landscape architecture and to be working with colleagues who will help her to pursue this passion.