My creative work is the result of my professional practice as a Principal at oslund.and.assoc. landscape architects in Minneapolis. My work has focused on the design of landscape surfaces, in particular the interface between earthwork grading, material assemblies, and water systems. I have designed hundreds of projects in a career spanning over 2 decades. Among those, I have carried more than 100 projects forward to implementation. My academic interests evolve from my professional focus. I use my design and implementation experience to guide my teaching efforts, bringing real world examples into the classroom to frame larger questions.
I hold degrees in art and design and have a multidisciplinary practice that works across sculpture, installations, public art, site works, and social practice. In broad terms, all of my work deals with issues related to place and emotion. I disseminate my work through permanent and temporary public works and gallery shows. I am a co-convener of the international artist-academic network: Mapping Spectral Traces and a member of the UK-based group PLaCE, an artist-academic collective for place-based practice and research. Some of my recent presentations include: University of the West of England, Bristol, UK and University of Leeds, UK (2013), University of Ireland/Maynooth and University of Ireland/Galway (2012). My published work includes: Contemporary Landscapes of Contemplation (editor and contributor), Routledge, 2005.
Over my 35-year career as a practicing Landscape Architect and educator I have had strong interests in Native American Cultures and environmental science. This has led me to conduct landscape-based research on ancient Native American sites as well as pursue teaching and design opportunities that focus on environmental education, ecological restoration and reclamation.
Most recently I has been a co-principal investigator, along with Christine Carlson, Senior Research Fellow and Principal at Steve Durrant LLC, on the Laurentian Vision Partnership, a long-term project in The Mesabi Iron Range that promotes sustainable mining and the reshaping of mining sites into productive future landscapes.
I have worked with The Metropolitan Council, the McKnight Foundation, and the UMN Center for Urban and Regional Affairs to develop a landscape assessment process that local governments can use to facilitate smart growth in an environmentally responsible way. With several UMN colleagues, I am developing a systemic approach to GeoDesign, which integrates spatiotemporal modeling of landscape performance. A recent grant from the USDA-Conservation Innovation Grant program facilitates application of this work to the collaborative design of multifunctional landscapes in the Minnesota River valley. With internal UMN funding, we are constructing a GeoDesign decision lab to examine the ways in which the presentation of information, group dynamics, and social and individual learning affect outcomes of landscape planning decision making. I holds adjunct appointments on the faculties of Urban and Regional Planning as well as Forest Resources, and am a member of the Graduate Faculty in Water Resources Science.
My creative output is geared towards the residential landscape. I have provided design services across the greater Minneapolis-St. Paul region for 25 years via my company Constable-Steele Garden Design.
I find that the public, my clients, are increasingly aware of the impact that the environment has on their health and the general quality of their lives. My professional target has been to develop greater sensitivity to how these are explicitly linked and physically articulated. We are land dwellers that have a responsibility to develop vibrant social places for humans, while maintaining ecologically sustainable spaces, that are an investment in our collective future.
In my teaching I explore the onus of this responsibility, primarily that designers are tasked to develop highly functioning spaces for communities that appeal to evolving aesthetics, history and best case practices. My business allows me to pursue a living spatial laboratory at the site scale. People need to gather well on a private family level as well as in the public realm. This investment in place enriches the lives of our citizens. The job of the landscape designer is to build the stages that people act their lives on. We condition the environment to receive us so we can walk safely, sit comfortably, and be fed physically and emotionally, while stewarding the underlying natural processes that support us on a primary level.