Alan Berger

Professor of Landscape Architecture and Urban Design

Alan M. Berger is Professor of Landscape Architecture and Urban Design at Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he teaches courses open to the entire student body. He is founding director of MIT's P-REX lab, a research lab focused on environmental problems caused by urbanization, including the design, remediation, and reuse of waste landscapes worldwide. All of his research, teaching, and practice emphasize the links between urbanization and the loss of natural resources and growth of waste, to help us better understand how to proceed with redesigning intelligent outcomes. Alan’s research spans a wide interdisciplinary range, including: sustainable cities and suburban forms, urban planning for autonomous mobility, resilient urbanism, growth boundary landscapes, reclamation of ecological systems, and stormwater wetland design. Unlike conventional practice, there are no scalar limits in his outlook or pedagogy: Projects are defined by the extent of the urban and environmental problems being addressed. He coined the term “Systemic Design” to describe the reintegration of disvalued landscapes into our urbanized territories and regional ecologies.

His most recent book is entitled A Blueprint for Coastal Adaptation: Uniting Design, Economics, and Policy (co-authors Carolyn Kousky, William Fleming), published in early 2021 by Island Press. Berger's award-winning anthology Infinite Suburbia (with Joel Kotkin, Celina Balderas Guzman) presents the global suburban expansion through the research of its 74 authors, and the coeditors' own perspectives and work. Previous award-winning books include Drosscape: Wasting Land in Urban America, and Reclaiming the American West, his other books include Designing the Reclaimed Landscape, The Infrastructural Monument and Scaling Infrastructure (with Alexander D’Hooghe), Nansha Coastal City: Landscape and Urbanism in the Pearl River Delta (with Margaret Crawford), Systemic Design Can Change the World, and Landscape + Urbanism Around the Bay of Mumbai (with Rahul Mehrotra), and LCAU’s 2013 Report on the State of Health + Urbanism (with Andrew Scott).

He was Director of the MIT Norman B. Leventhal Center for Advanced Urbanism (LCAU) from 2015-2020, and LCAU Research Director from 2010-2015. Prior to MIT Berger was Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture at Harvard-GSD, 2002-2008. He is a Prince Charitable Trusts Fellow of The American Academy in Rome. He is a Visiting Honorary Professor at Oslo School of Architecture (AHO).