Kathy Dunster

B.R.E. (U.B.C.), M.L.A. (Guelph), Ph.D. (Tor.)

Kathy Dunster, PhD Instructor of Urban Ecosystems

Kathy Dunster has an undergraduate degree in Recreation Education (BRE) from UBC with a focus on outdoor leisure spaces – from playgrounds to provincial parks and beyond. She obtained a MLArch degree from the University of Guelph where her thesis research examined the landscape ecology of regions and the reconnection of fragmented habitats across urban, per-urban, and rural landscapes. Her PhD in Biogeography & Plant Ecology is from the University of Toronto where her research and dissertation looked at the ecology and survival of Dwarf hackberry (Celtis tenuifolia Nutt.), a Canadian species at risk.

Kathy is a registered landscape architect (MBCSLA) and a registered professional biologist (RPBio) in BC and a registered member of the Canadian Society of Landscape Architects. Since 1987 her professional practice has focused on numerous projects that address the inventory, planning, conservation, and management of natural and cultural landscapes, ecosystem restoration, and integrated ecological landscape design at many different scales. She has extensive experience working with grassroots groups using community mapping as a technique for participatory action research in exploration of local community distinctiveness (what makes a place special) and local planning. She has a long history of involvement with community-based social and environmental justice organizations in various parts of Canada.

Her current research interests are the integration of food, health, and ecosystem wellbeing in urban environments and the everyday landscape which includes: social landscape design, living roof designs for all (but especially invertebrate habitat, species at risk, and food production); learning landscapes; bioregional ethnobotany; community mapping and green mapping; and exploring the wicked problem of how post-disaster landscapes can be better designed to meet human needs when temporary settlement becomes permanent. Her other research interests include feminist cartography, islands, conceptual art in the landscape, and good practices.

Her many other interests include letterpress printing, bicycling, graffiti & stencilling, appropriate technology and natural building construction, conservation of late-Victorian fruit and vegetable varieties; growing just about anything from seed but especially food, and collecting useful things from dumpsters and back lanes. 

Recent & Upcoming Courses

HORT1155 Introduction to Plant Identification
HORT3230 Urban Watershed Planning
HORT3250 Inventory, Assessment, & Monitoring of Plant Communities
HORT3251 Landscape & Environment 1

Other Affiliations

Adjunct Professor of Landscape Architecture, UBC School of Architecture & Landscape Architecture.
Sessional Faculty Lecturer and Course Developer, University of Victoria Continuing Studies, Native Species and Natural Processes Professional Specialization Certificate Program, NP502 Ecosystem Design through Propagation of Native Plants, which is now delivered on-line.

Selected Publications

Coffman, R. & K. Dunster (forthcoming, November 2014). Ecological Recruitment across Scales, Chapter 15 in Sutton, R. (ed.) Green Roof Ecosystems. Springer: New York & London. Dunster, K (2008) “Straddling Both Sides of the Coast: The Role of Landscape Architects in Nearshore and Inter-tidal Habitat Conservation.” pp 205-209 in W. Kuinert (ed). Transforming with Water IFLA 2008 – Proceedings of the 45th World Congress of the International Federation of Landscape Architects. Wageningen, Netherlands: Blaudruk & Techne Press. ISBN 978-90-8594-021-0.

Dunster, K (2007) The Garry Oak Gardener’s Handbook. Victoria: Garry Oak Ecosystems Recovery Team. ISBN 978-0-9732181-3-8

Harrington, S. and J. Stevenson (eds.), and K. Dunster (2005) Islands in the Salish Sea: A Community Atlas. Surrey: TouchWood Editions. K. Dunster contributed History chapter, Bowen Island chapter, and various maps and illustrations. ISBN 1-894898-32-X.

Dunster, K (2005) “Acting Locally: Mapping and Counter-mapping Towards a Grassroots Feminist Cartography.” Chapter 12 in Melody Hessing, Rebecca Raglon, and Catriona Sandilands (eds.) This Elusive Land: Women and the Canadian Environment. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press. ISBN 0-7748-1106-4. pp 243-265.