Distinguished Speaker Series: Bill Johnson

As part of the continuing Distinguished Speaker Series, Bill Johnson (class of 1954) discussed his career, philosophy, and ideas for the profession’s future.

Photo of Bill Johnson.
Bill Johnson, landscape architecture class of 1954.

As part of the continuing Distinguished Speaker Series, Bill Johnson (class of 1954) discussed his career, philosophy, and ideas for the profession’s future on October 24 at 6 p.m. in the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum.

Johnson has focused on issues of environmental design throughout his 50-year career as planner, designer, teacher, and academic administrator. A landscape architect by training, his early interests focused on broad-scale land development/protection strategies.

He pioneered cross-disciplinary ways-of-working by fitting land development programs to sensitive environmental conditions. His practice has ranged across projects of regional and community planning, urban design, long-range campus development, natural resources, and historic preservation. His contributions emphasize the balancing of social, cultural, and environmental values in problem-solving initiatives.

After graduating from MSU, Johnson went on to complete an MLA from Harvard after his military service. He co-founded Johnson, Johnson, and Roy in Ann Arbor, Michigan, in 1963, with his brother Carl and Clarence Roy. He held a teaching position as professor of landscape architecture at the University of Michigan from 1958 through 1989. He served as Dean of the University’s School of Natural Resources from 1975 to 1983. A Fellow of the American Society of Landscape Architects (1973), Johnson received the Society’s Gold Medal in 1986.

He was the 1992 President of the Landscape Architecture Foundation, an American Planning Association member, and remains a Professor Emeritus of the University of Michigan today.


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