Stephen Mainzer | The Penn State Stuckeman School Skip to main content
Stephen Mainzer Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Portrait of Stephen Mainzer
Penn State Landscape Architecture
229 Stuckeman

Stephen Mainzer is a designer, educator, and researcher whose work engages a socio-ecological systems approach to exploring decision dynamics of coupled human and natural environments. He studies ways in which the biophysical landscape – urban form, physiography, and ecology – intersect with the behaviors of individuals and communities toward energy use, conservation, planning, and pro-environmental voting actions. His methods build upon six years of professional practice and a transdisciplinary Ph.D. degree to employ geographic information systems, statistics, and qualitative techniques that advocate for evidence-based strategies. Mainzer's comprehensive approach has been recognized by Architectural Research Centers Consortium’s National Dissertation Award and Penn State's Distinguished Dissertation Award.

Mainzer has taught across a nationally-ranked landscape architecture curriculum, with a focus on introductory design and communication and landscape systems studios.

Education

  • Dual-title Ph.D. in Architecture and Human Dimensions of Natural Resources and the Environment in 2017, The Pennsylvania State University
  • M.S. in Landscape Architecture in 2011, The Pennsylvania State University
  • B.L.A. in 2005, The Pennsylvania State University

Courses Taught

LARCH Summer Intensive Program
LARCH 115 Introductory Design Studio I
LARCH 155 Skills Lab I: Hand & Digital Graphics
LARCH 216 Design IV: System Studio
LARCH 256 Skills Lab IV: GIS
LARCH 414 Design and Theory V: Advanced Landscape Architectural Design (Climate Change Studio)
LARCH 414 Design and Theory V: Advanced Landscape Architectural Design (Rivertown Resiliency Studio)

Research

Decision dynamics of coupled human and natural environments, specifically ways in which the biophysical landscape – urban form, physiography, and ecology – intersect with the behaviors of individuals and communities ttoward energy systems and pro-enviromental governance.

Honors + Awards

Grants & Funding Awards

  • Co-Principal Investigator, Sustainability Institute & Lightsource BP Living Labs Grant. 2020. Pennsylvania’s Solar Future: Comparing Potential between Urban and Rural Areas. ($10,000).
  • Principal Investigator, College of Arts & Architecture. Faculty Research Grant. 2019. Socio-Ecological Structure of Pro-environmental Governance in Pennsylvania Counties ($10,000).
  • Principal Investigator, College of Arts and Architecture. President’s Fund for Research in Undergraduate Education. 2019. Socio-ecological Structure of Governance in Pennsylvania. ($700)
  • Principal Investigator, Center for Human Ecology. Research Incentive Grant. 2018. Partnering with private sector agents toward framing the role of transdisciplinary design process in shaping landscapes and associated community environmental behaviors. ($1,000).
  • Co-Principal Investigator, College of Arts and Architecture. Faculty Research Grant. 2017. Deep Decarbonization and Renewable Energy in the Appalachian Mountains (DDREAM): A Pennsylvania Assessment. ($5,000)
  • Principal Investigator, College of Arts and Architecture. President’s Fund for Research in Undergraduate Education. 2017. Assessing the state of landscape, community, and behavior inquiry in landscape architecture practice ($800)
  • Lead Course Faculty, The Center for Pedagogy in Arts and Design Discovery Grant. 2017. Transdisciplinary Action Research Design Studio (TARDes) for Climate Change Intervention. ($700)
  • Principal Investigator, Department of Landscape Architecture & Ibberson Chair of Forest Resource Management. 2016. A community landscape theory of pro-environmental behavior: the effects of environmental values and community interaction on residential energy consumption in two Pennsylvania towns. ($1500)
  • Principal Investigator, Stuckeman Center for Design Computing Student Research Support Grant. 2015. Land cover verification in Pennsylvania using cloud-based mobile tools. ($499)
  • Co-Principal Investigator, Hamer Center for Community Design, Department of Recreation, Parks, and Tourism Management, Department of Rural Sociology, Department of Geography, & Department of Landscape Architecture. Community perceptions of local food: a mixed methods approach. 2015. ($3,900)
  • Alma Heinz and August Louis Pohland Graduate Student Fellowship 2010. ($5000)
  • Samuel T. Atherholt Scholarship 2010. ($1000)

Scholarly Awards

  • Architecture Research Centers Consortium Dissertation Award, 2018
  • Council of Graduate Schools/ProQuest Distinguished Dissertation Award Finalist, 2017 Distinguished Doctoral Scholar, The Pennsylvania State University, 2017
  • Best Student Paper Award, Environmental Design Research Association Conference, 2016 American Society of Landscape Architects, Student Honor Award, 2011
  • Penn State College of Arts and Architecture, Creative Achievement Award, 2011 Landscape Architecture Foundation, University Olmsted Scholar, 2011

Recognized Student Work

  • Oral and Performance Award, Second place. Undergraduate Research Exhibition, Penn State. Thomas Wert, College of Arts and Architecture. “Re-envisioning Johnston Square.” (Faculty sponsor). 2018.
  • Oral and Performance, Award Third place. Undergraduate Research Exhibition, Penn State. Lucas Tranchita, College of Earth and Mineral Sciences. “Potential Wetland Sites to Reduce Flooding along the Buffalo Bayou in Houston, TX.” (Faculty sponsor). 2018.
  • Library Literary Award, Third place. Undergraduate Research Exhibition, Penn State. Lucas Tranchita, College of Earth and Mineral Sciences. Cristina Frass, College of Arts and Architecture. “Tackling Flooding Issues in Houston.” (Faculty sponsor). 2018.

 

Exhibitions + Presentations

  • Mainzer, Stephen. Landscape Architecture Depth Studio: Adapting Drawdown Strategies for Local Climate Change Intervention. Research to Action: The Science of Drawdown. September 2019. State College, PA
  • Mainzer, Stephen, C.A. Cole, & Leslie Hendricks. DDREAM: Deep Decarbonization and Renewable Energy in the Appalachian Mountains: a socio-ecological systems approach to evaluating ecological governance. Environmental Design and Research Association Conference. May 2019. Brooklyn, NY.
  • Mainzer, Stephen, Kendall Mainzer, & Alexandria Chomyn. Assessing the state of landscape, community, and behavior inquiry in landscape architecture practice. Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture Conference. March 2019. University of California, Davis. Sacramento, CA.
  • Mainzer, Stephen & Kendall Mainzer. Team-teaching strategies and effectiveness in design pedagogy: a pilot study. Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture Conference. March 2018. Virginia Tech University, Blacksburg, VA.
  • Cole, Charles Andrew, Mainzer, Kendall & Stephen Mainzer. E+D: Ecology and Design - Improving the ecological function of the designed world. Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture Conference. March 2018. Virginia Tech University, Blacksburg, VA.
  • 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. The Pennsylvania State University. State College, PA.

Publications

Refereed Journals

Dissertation, Thesis, and Monographs

Selected Technical Reports

  • Space Coast Long Range Transportation Plan, Renaissance Planning Group, 2014.
  • Pompano Beach Vision Plan, Renaissance Planning Group, 2014.
  • Space Coast Bicycle and Pedestrian Masterplan, Renaissance Planning Group, 2013.
  • Manatee County Complete Streets Policy. Renaissance Planning Group, 2012.
  • Installation Design Guidelines at Fort Drum, Fort Meade, Fort McNair, & Tobyhanna Army Depot, PBS&J, Inc., 2009

Built Works

  • Potomac Yard Neighborhood, Alexandira, VA. LandDesign, Inc., 2008
  • The Alexan at Carlyle, Alexandria, VA. LandDesign, Inc., 2008
  • The Groveton, Owning Mills, MD. LandDesign, Inc., 2008
  • Long Bridge Park, Arlington County, VA. Hargreaves Associates, 2006

Service

Service

  • Ecology + Design, Stuckeman School, 2017-
  • Dean Search Committee, College of Arts and Architecture, 2018-
  • Ph.D. Affairs Committee, Stuckeman School, 2019-
  • Department Head Advisory Committee, Stuckeman School, 2019-
  • Graduate Affairs Committee, Stuckeman School, 2017-2019
  • Chair, Stuckeman School Career Day Faculty Committee, Penn State, 2015 - 2016. Career Adviser, Stuckeman School, 2015-2016.
  • Judge, Penn State Undergraduate Research Exhibition, 2015.
  • Webinar Panelist, Directions Magazine. Geodesign as a Methodology for Land Use Planning, 2013.

Reviewer

  • Landscape Journal, 2017-
  • Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture (CELA) Conference, 2010-2012, 2017-
  • Environmental Design Research Association (EDRA) Conference, 2017-

CV + Files + Links