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Isabel Mancinelli

Isabel Mancinelli
Charles Eliot Professor of Ecological Planning, Policy and Design
207-801-5714 |

Isabel MancinelliIsabel is currently the Charles Eliot Professor of Ecological Planning, Policy and Design. Prior to joining the faculty at COA she was a park planner and captain of the planning team for the General Management Plan for Acadia National Park. Isabel and her students work extensively with local communities on comprehensive land use and landscape plans, as well as with grassroots community planning groups.

B.S. Architecture, Catholic University of America, 1975
M.L.A. Landscape Architecture, Harvard University, 1981

Isabel holds the Charles Eliot Chair in Ecological Planning, Policy & Design
This Chair was endowed in honor the landscape architect and environmentalist, Charles Eliot, who was the first to analyze landscapes as layers of cultural, economic, and ecological systems, to devise scientific methods for recording them, and to implement political measures for conserving them. The establishment of the Chair signifies the College’s commitment to collaborative and interdisciplinary scholarship in all realms of environmental policy, planning and design, incorporating the arts, sciences and humanities.

Courses Taught

AD3010Architectural Design Studio

In this design studio students are introduced to the field of architectural design and the design process.  We examine various aspects of this functional art including scale, texture, volume, void, light, rhythm, and form.  Basic principals of architectural structures and a brief historical overview are presented.  Students attempt to apply these principals in solving practical problems.  They are expected to develop basic architectural drafting skills to represent three dimensional space in two dimensions.  The course includes model building skills and an actual design project.

Level: Intermediate.  Prerequisites:  Recommended Introduction to Arts and Design and/or Two-Dimensional Design.  Offered every other year.  Class limit: 11.  Lab fee: $25.  Meets the following degree requirements: ADS

AD3021Cities: Past, Present and Future

This intermediate course focuses on the architecture and physical form of cities through time. Rome has had a profound influence on the design of architecture and cities. In preparation for a 9-12 day field trip to this remarkable city, students will become familiar with its layers of history, the classic orders, the writings of Vitruvius, and the works of Michelangelo, among others. They will experience firsthand the city's famous monuments, ruins, buildings, piazzas, gardens, and neighborhoods, documenting their field observations in sketches, photographs and notes. Upon returning the focus will shift to an examination of the history of several major American and European cities, conditions, policies and technologies that shaped them, and various historic and current urban design movements. We will conclude with examples of recent and emerging international strategies to improve urban public space, transportation, provide local food, reduce emissions, and address impacts of climate change. Students will be evaluated on quality of their field notes and sketches, assignments, class discussions and presentations.

This course will be integrated with and requires co-enrollment in Advanced Food Policy. The third enrollment credit must be either Power and Governance or an Independent Study.

Level: Intermediate. Prerequisites: Permission of instructor.  Class Size Limit: 12.  Lab fee: $800.00.  Meets the following degree requirements: AD

HS543Community Planning and Decision Making

Albert Einstein once observed that "no problem can be solved from the same consciousness that created it. We must learn to see the world anew". If Einstein's idea is accurate about how humans understand the universe, it is likewise true of how we plan and manage our relationships with the environment. One of the primary aims of human ecology is to explore new ways to envision human environment relations. Within its integrative perspective, scientific knowledge and human aesthetics can be combined in ways that enrich human communities as well as value and protect the rest of the living world. The purpose of this course is to provide students with a foundation of theory and practical skills in ecological policy and community planning. A broad range of ideas and methodologies will be explored. Using real examples of current issues - such as sprawl, smart growth, gateway communities, watershed based regional planning, land trusts, and alternative transportation systems. We will be joined by the actual leaders of these changes locally and state wide in Maine. We will also examine emerging methodologies that emphasize participatory planning, community capacity-building, and empowering marginalized groups. These models and ideas will be further compared with prominent approaches and case studies from elsewhere around the country. As a part of current ideas about community planning and policy, the course also introduces small group collaboration techniques, and the use of computers to enhance complex decision processes. A field component will take advantage of varied external opportunities - including town meetings, conferences, and public events. Evaluations will be based on class participation, several short research papers, and end of term small group projects. Level: Introductory/Intermediate. Lab Fee: $40. *HS*

AD5022Form of the City

For the first time in history the majority of the Earth’s population lives in cities. Through books, films, lectures, and student presentations this advanced seminar will examine the evolution of several major cities and how key individuals from Louis-Napoleon to Jane Jacobs, Kevin Lynch, and contemporary critics continue to influence the design of urban centers. Students will undertake individual research projects on particular cities or aspects of planning and design such as public parks and open space, urban agriculture, or strategies to address climate change and issues arising from rapidly expanding informal urban settlements which they will document and present to the class. This course is open to students who have completed at least two courses in planning or design and are prepared to pursue in-depth research. Evaluations are based on documentation and presentation of individual research and participation in class discussions.

Level: Advanced. Prerequisites: Permission of instructor. Class limit: 10. Lab fee: $40.  Meets the following degree requirements: AD

AD1011Introduction to Arts and Design

This course is the fundamental course for students pursuing studies in Arts and Design, offering insights into the range of issues addressed in the arts and design curriculum while also helping students investigate their own creativity. This course has both studio and theoretical components.  Major directions taken by artists, designers, architects, and planners are explored.  Areas of investigation include gardens, shopping centers, town planning, perspective drawing, small structure design, color, and aesthetics.  Studio work involves both individual and team efforts.  Students are expected to observe, document, analyze, and make recommendations for the improvement of the designed world.  Students are expected to submit examples of studio work and to participate in the class discussions.  Evaluations are based upon the above.

Level:  Introductory.  Offered every fall.  Class limit: 25.   Lab fee $20.  Meets the following degree requirements: ADS

AD3016Land Use Planning I

In this course we will examine what key physical aspects make communities desirable places to live, work and visit and how principals of sustainability can be integrated into the planning process. New development often undermines a  sense of place and poses threats to environmental resources such as water quality.  Through  analyzing a local town in terms of its natural resources, cultural history, scenic quality and the built environment, students determine how new development and conservation may be balanced. They learn how to use computerized geographic information systems (GIS) as a planning tool in developing their recommendations. Students present their final class project to local community decision-makers. Offered every other year.

Level: Intermediate.  Prerequisites: Previous coursework in GIS is not required. Class limit: 12. Lab Fee $50.00.  Meets the following degree requirements: AD

AD3011Landscape Design Studio

This studio course introduces students to the profession of Landscape Architecture, the design process and skills.  Aspects to be covered include site analysis, program development, design concept, final site design and graphic representation.  Evaluations are based on understanding and interpretation of the site program, application of the design process and articulation of ideas and concepts through graphics and oral presentation.

Level: Intermediate.  Prerequisite:  Introduction to Arts and Design, Two-Dimensional Design, and Woody Plants, or signature of instructor.  Offered every other year.  Lab fee $25.  Class limit: 11.   Meets the following degree requirements: ADS 

AD384Plants in the Campus Landscape

This course adopts a workshop format, focusing on the management of living plant collections on the COA campus. Emphasis will be on planting and maintenance of woody plants, but some attention will be paid to perennial herbaceous ornamentals. Class activities will include hands-on projects, e.g. pruning campus trees, shrubs, and vines, planting new accessions for the campus-wide arboretum, identifying and labeling plants, developing a map and tour guide for campus plants, studying planting design principals and site requirements, and developing a plan for future additions to the campus-wide arboretum, strategies for dealing with invasive exotics, and replacement of specimen trees. This course may be especially appropriate for those interested in horticulture and landscape architecture. There are no course prerequisites, but some background in design or horticulture is helpful, such as a prior course in plant taxonomy, gardening, arts and design, or architecture. Students will be evaluated on class participation, completion of assignments and an individual project. Level: Introductory/Intermediate. Class limit: 16. Lab fee: $40.