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Stephen Mainzer PhD
Visiting Assistant Professor
Photo of Stephen Mainzer
Penn State Landscape Architecture
229 Stuckeman

Stephen Mainzer is a designer whose research, pedagogy, and practice engage the intersection of place, community, and natural resources.

Mainzer teaches across the spectrum of design curriculum including, introductory design studio, regional and landscape systems, and professional practice. He encourages students to approach design as a problem-solving process that is responsive to the socio-ecological environment.

His interests revolve around illustrating complex human dimensions of natural resources through mixed methods and deep collaboration with allied disciplines. Stephen strives to contribute to such collaborations by adding place-based and a community perspective to research inquiries by coupling spatial modelling to traditional quantitative and qualitative techniques. 

Mainzer has over 8 years of professional practice in a wide variety of offices throughout the United States. He has contributed to the design, planning, development, and construction of countywide mobility plans, multimodal policies, neighborhoods, university and military base plans, and multi-family housing projects.


  • Ph.D. (dual-title) Architecture and Human Dimensions of Natural Resources & the Environment. 2017. Pennsylvania State University.
    Advisers: Dr. C.A. Cole & A.E. Luloff. Dissertation: A community landscape theory of pro-environmental behavior: the effects of environmental values and community interaction on residential energy consumption in two Pennsylvania towns.
  • MS Landscape Architecture. 2011. Pennsylvania State University.
    Thesis: Measuring heterogeneity in neighborhoods: the relationship between ecologic principles and physical design attributes in Greendale, WI.
  • BLA. 2005. Pennsylvania State University.

Courses Taught

  • LARCH Summer Intensive Program
  • LARCH 115: Introductory Design Studio (current)
  • LARCH 311: Design and Theory III: Regional Planning and Landscape System (current)
  • LARCH 382: Professional Practice
  • GEDOZ 511: History, Theory, and Principles
  • GEODZ 826: Representation and Change Models


  • Transdisciplinary action research design
  • Human dimensions of natural resources 
  • Community and place interactions
  • Design studio pedagogy
  • Mixed methods landscape analysis

Honors + Awards

  • 2017 Council of Graduate Schools/ProQuest Distinguished Dissertation Award Finalist , Penn State University,
  • 2017 Distinguished Doctoral Scholar, Penn State University
  • 2016 Best Student Paper Award. Environmental Design Research Association Conference
  • 2011 American Society of Landscape Architects, Student Honor Award
  • 2011 Penn State University College of Arts and Architecture, Creative Achievement Award
  • 2011 Landscape Architecture Foundation, Penn State University Olmsted Scholar

Exhibitions + Presentations

  • Mainzer, Stephen. Community and Landscape Driven Pro-Environmental Behavior: preliminary findings of household energy consumption in two rural towns. Psychology of Architecture Conference. December 2016. Austin, TX.
  • Mainzer, Stephen. Towards a transdisciplinary action research design studio: adapting a human dimensions of natural resources education structure. Environmental Design Research Association. May 2016. Raleigh, NC.
  • Barrett, Austin, Lauren Abbott, Sarah Eissler, Carolyn Fish, Lacey Goldberg, Stephen Mainzer, & Max Olsen. 2015. Community perceptions of local food: a mixed methods approach. International Symposium on Society and Research Management. June 2015. Charleston, NC.
  • Zawadzki, Stephanie J., Stephen Mainzer, & A.E. Luloff. 2015. Close, but not too close: landmarks and their influence on housing values. International Symposium on Society and Research Management. June 2015. Charleston, NC.
  • Mainzer, Stephen & Timothy Murtha. 2011. Creating resilient neighborhoods: the relationship between ecologic principles and private development in Greendale, WI. Council of Educator in Landscape Architecture Conference. March 2011. University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA.
  • Mainzer, Stephen. 2010. Creating accessible suburbs: a background on suburban housing and public housing projects in the U.S. No)Boundaries Geography Student Conference. March 2010. Pennsylvania State University. State College, PA.


Refereed Journals

Built Works

  • The Alexan at Carlyle (built), LandDesign, Inc.
  • The Groveton (built), LandDesign, Inc.
  • Potomac Yard neighborhood design development (built), LandDesign, Inc.
  • The Duke (built), LandDesign, Inc.
  • Long Bridge Park (North Tract Park - built). Hargreaves Associates


  • 2017 Reviewer, Landscape Journal.
  • 2015–2016 Chair, Stuckeman School Career Day Faculty Committee.
  • 2015–2016 Career Adviser, Stuckeman School.
  • 2015 Judge, Penn State University Undergraduate Research Exhibition.
  • 2013–2015 Advisory Board Member, Geodesign Graduate Program , Penn State University.
  • 2013 Webinar Panelist, Directions Magazine. Geodesign as a Methodology for Land Use Planning.
  • 2010–2012 Reviewer, Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture Conference.
  • 2005 Graphic Workshop Coordinator, Department of Landscape Architecture, Penn State University.