Drone photo of foggy UConn campus

Fostering Sustainable Landscapes at the Urban-Rural Interface

Connecticut is home to diverse landscapes, from vibrant urban centers to rural farms and miles of beautiful coastline. With this diversity comes the need for collaborative, cohesive, and strategic planning and an informed, environmentally aware citizenry to protect these priceless resources. With the College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources's (CAHNR) expertise in natural resource studies as well as landscape architecture and close ties to the community through our extension outreach, we are working towards holistic, sustainable landscapes that both preserve and enhance our ecosystems and meet society's needs.

  • Improve quality of the state’s waters, including the Long Island Sound
  • Develop environmentally aware citizens that participate in sustainable, healthy lifestyles
  • Optimize the sustainability of interconnected food, waste, housing, transport and energy systems
  • Sustain and enhance ecosystem services
  • Promote informed community development, landscape planning, and land use management
  • Advance small acreage, intensive agriculture to increase food production near consumers

Our Progress

People in hard hats in the forest

The strategic vision committee focused on sustainable landscapes identified areas of need and strength, which guided activities in the first year of work. During the second year and beyond, this group is working on two key areas:

  • Enhancing communication and collaboration within the College: To address this issue, our team has created a “Sustainable Landscapes Network” of faculty working on issues related to this area. To facilitate collaboration, the Sustainable Landscapes committee hosted “Lunch and Learn” seminar series, open to everyone in CAHNR. This platform allowed diverse faculty members to share aspects of their work, followed by interactive discussion. The series allowed connections to form which might otherwise not have been possible. In addition to hosting similar sessions in the future, the Sustainable Landscapes group will expand the series to include more interactive activities outdoors.
  • Large grant proposal: A team composed of Sustainable Landscapes committee members will seek to submit to a large proposal for extramural funding in order to expand resources for this focus area in CAHNR research, education, and extension outreach.

Moving Forward

People walking in field

As the College continues to explore needs, strengths, and potential partnerships related to sustainable landscapes, this strategic vision implementation committee will seek to:

  • Establish capacity for regional science
  • Organize a standing group of unbiased experts that can advise policy makers and regulators regarding development, water quality, and land use policy decisions
  • Form advisory group to consolidate and coordinate existing environmental justice efforts and grow our efforts here


Support CAHNR's Strategic Vision

CAHNR faculty and staff are strongly encouraged to join one of the strategic vision implementation committees to lend their perspectives and ideas to this College-wide initiative


Contact the Committee

David Dickson

Extension Educator, UConn Extension


Jill Desimini

Director & Associate Professor, Plant Science & Landscape Architecture