Dr. Marcha Johnson

Dr. Marcha Johnson is a registered landscape architect and ecological restorationist, focused on the ecology of urban waterfronts. An in-house park designer with NYC Parks, she is currently working on a forest restoration in the Bronx, and recently led projects enhancing the ecological benefit of waterfront infrastructure along the Harlem River, East River, and Pugsley Creek, and the restoration of a rocky shore in Pelham Bay Park. She has been an adjunct professor in City College of NY’s school of architecture since 1992, teaching plant identification and ecology for landscape architecture students and an interdisciplinary course on sustainable soil and water. Some of the projects she has worked on with her students include revisioning the hard edge of Newtown Creek, alternatives to tradition seawalls, and floodable multiple-use recreation areas along NYC’s waterways. Her doctoral dissertation, supported by a Hudson River Foundation fellowship, explored opportunities to bridge the communication gap between the scientific community and architecture/developers regarding designing urban waterfronts with ecological value. Dr. Johnson co-edited Coastal Change, Ocean Conservation and Community Resilience, published by Springer in 2017: a series of essays and waterfront projects from the east and west coasts, linking the movement to rebuild city waterfronts with the need to conserve the ocean and to relocate at least portions of coastal communities inland. She was a founding member and served for roughly 30 years on the executive board of The River Project, an oceanographic field station in Tribeca. Her education includes a BS in biology from the U. of Illinois, a MLA in Landscape Architecture from Louisiana State U. and a PhD in City and Regional Planning from the U. of Pennsylvania.

On a personal note, she enjoys running, cross country skiing, watercolor painting; as an amateur pianist she regularly plays with several chamber ensembles, and blues harmonica with a variety of partners. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and cat.

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