UBC Names Nina-Marie Lister as 2021 Margolese Prize Winner

Designer, planner and educator honoured for her commitment to biodiversity and climate resilience

The University of British Columbia’s School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture has named Nina-Marie Lister as the recipient of the 2021 Margolese National Design for Living Prize. An ecological designer, urban planner and educator, she was selected from over 50 nominations for the $50,000 prize.

Nina-Marie Lister at work with two members of her design team. Photo credit: Marta Brocki 

Lister’s transdisciplinary research and practice involves design that connects landscapes, people and wildlife. As Professor and Graduate Director at the School of Urban and Regional Planning at Ryerson University (renaming in process), she founded the Ecological Design Lab, Canada’s first hands-on community-based research incubator focused on applied urban ecology and design. Lister engages, trains, and supports students working directly with professionals and communities to develop tangible ways to address climate resilience, urban biodiversity, and human wellbeing.

Detail of Hillcrest Garden project in Toronto. Photo credit: Nina-Marie Lister

She is also the founding principal of PLANDFORM, which engages ecologists, artists, landscape architects, engineers, and planners in collaborative projects aimed at transforming the way communities think about and interact with natural and built environments.

“We were above all impressed by Nina-Marie’s ability to design spaces that were both beautiful and that made a difference,” says Aaron Betsky, Director of Virginia Tech’s School of Architecture + Design and one of the 2021 Margolese Prize jurors. “Moreover, she does so as part of a larger field of action, building an argument for ecological infrastructure that will make our cities better places to live.”

Liberty Canyon Crossing, a proposed route for wildlife to safely cross the Pacific Coast Highway in California, by Living Habitats.

“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,” adds architect and KANVA co-founder Tudor Radulescu, another jury member.  “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.”

The Margolese Prize will be celebrated with a presentation of Lister’s work and a panel discussion between Lister, design professionals and scholars at the Vogue Theatre in Vancouver on October 22, 2021 at 6:30pm. Information on the prize and future updates on the celebration will be available here.