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Stephen Mainzer PhD
Assistant Teaching 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 from first-year introductory design to upper-level studio and electives. He encourages students to explore 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.
  • MS Landscape Architecture. 2011. Pennsylvania State University.
  • BLA. 2005. Pennsylvania State University.

Courses Taught

  • LARCH 497 Independent Study: Geodesign Inquiry
  • LARCH 450 Geodesign: Geospatial Technology for Design
  • LARCH 414 Design and Theory V: Advanced Landscape Architectural Design
  • LARCH 382 Professional Practice
  • LARCH 321 Design Theory Seminar
  • LARCH 311 Design and Theory III: Regional Planning and Landscape Systems
  • LARCH 115 Design I: Intro to Spatial Composition
  • LARCH Summer Intensive Program
  • GEODZ 826 Representation & Change
  • GEODZ 511 History, Theory, & Principles


  • Transdisciplinary research-activated design
  • Biosocial landscapes
  • Design studio pedagogy and innovation

Honors + Awards

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

Exhibitions + Presentations

  • 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. Pennsylvania State University. State College, PA.


Refereed Journals


Professional Reports

  • Bicycle and Pedestrian Mobility Plan. Brevard County, FL. 2013. Final report to Space Coast Transportation Planning Organization. Completed as an employee of Renaissance Planning Group.
  • Manatee County Complete Streets Policy. Manatee County, Fl. 2012. Final report to Manatee County Government. Completed as an employee of Renaissance Planning Group.

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


  • Ecology + Design center-in-development, Stuckeman School, 2017 - 
  • Graduate Affairs Committee, Stuckeman School, 2017 - 
  • Reviewer, Landscape Journal, 2017 - 
  • Reviewer, Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture (CELA) Conference, 2010 - 2012, 2017 - 
  • Reviewer, Environmental Design Research Association (EDRA) Conference, 2017 - 
  • Chair, Stuckeman School Career Day Faculty Committee, Penn State University, 2015 - 2016.
  • Career Adviser, Stuckeman School, 2015 - 2016. 
  • Judge, Penn State University Undergraduate Research Exhibition, 2015.
  • Webinar Panelist, Directions Magazine. Geodesign as a Methodology for Land Use Planning, 2013.

CV + Files + Links