Ecological designer Nina Marie Lister named winner of UBC's $50,000 Margolese National Design for Living Prize 2021

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      A Canadian ecological designer who addresses biodiversity and climate resilience has won a national design award from a Vancouver post-secondary institution.

      The UBC School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture announced that the $50,000 Margolese National Design for Living Prize for 2021 will go to Toronto-based ecological designer, urban planner, and educator Nina Marie Lister.

      The award honours an Canadian citizen who uses design to improve built environments.

      From over 50 nominations, Lister was chosen for her commitment to design that helps to connect the coexistence of landscapes, people, and wildlife.  

      Her interdisciplinary research and work has ranged from exploring safe passageways for wildlife and humans over highways to being an advocate for natural gardens and native plants in urban settings.

      She is a professor and graduate director at the urban and regional planning school at the to-be-renamed Ryerson University, where she founded Canada’s first community-based research lab for applied urban ecology and design.

      In addition, she is the founding principal of Plandform, which involves ecologists, engineers, landscape architects, artists, and planners in collaborative projects that endeavor to change thinking about and interactions with natural and built environments.

      “Nina-Marie Lister’s body of work has never been more relevant than today, in a climate context that requires us to better connect with nature in order to find more sustainable and resilient solutions,” architect and jury member Tudor Radulescu explained in a news release. “Her significant academic work, complemented by a successful design practice that focuses on biophilic design, make her a deserving recipient of the Margolese Prize. This recognition will hopefully contribute to the dissemination of her work and ideas, bring to light our unbalanced relationship with other species and their habitats, and develop sensitive solutions for the future.”

      A presentation of Lister’s work and a panel discussion involving Lister, design professionals, and scholars will be held at 6:30 p.m. on October 22 at the Vogue Theatre (details are available at the award website).

      The prize, which was originally established in 2012 with an estate gift to UBC from the late Leonard Herbert Margolese, was relaunched in 2020 after a three-year hiatus, and has been revamped to recognize that, in addition to aesthetics, design needs to incorporate elements of social, cultural, and ecological well-being.

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