The Institute of Landscape Planning and Ecology was founded in 1966 at the Faculty of Architecture and Urban Design by Professor Dr. Walter Rossow. As one of the most famous landscape architects of his day, he had a lasting influence on urban design in Germany with his call for “landscape must become the law”. To this end, he developed new landscape planning methods that posited a landscape-oriented approach to development and which became a mandatory part of the architectural studies curriculum at Stuttgart University. His research activities, conducted together with his staff, resulted in some of the first landscape plans which were introduced as pilot and model projects for various municipalities in Germany.
In 1975, the department was taken over by Professor Dr. Giselher Kaule who headed the department until 2010. In cooperation with many national and international partners, he successfully steered the orientation of the institute towards fundamental research into nature conservation and ecologically-oriented planning methods. Together with several other institutes at the Faculty of Civil and Environmental Engineering, he founded the “Master of Infrastructure Planning” programme in 1983, the first English-language, internationally-oriented postgraduate degree course of its kind in Germany. He was instrumental in establishing the institute as part of an interdisciplinary network of partners, both within the university as well as with the University of Hohenheim and other partners throughout Germany.
Professor Antje Stokman headed the institute from 2010 to 2017. Together with the Deputy Director of the institute, Dr. Hans-Georg Schwarz von Raumer, she developed two collaborative units covering the fields of “Landscape Planning and Ecosystem Design” and “Landscape Analysis and Modelling”. She continued the work of her predecessors with strong links to other institutes and universities, as well as collaborations with professional practice in the fields of nature conservation and landscape planning. For example, the initiation of a German-Egyptian study programme – Integrated Urbanism and Sustainable Design (IUSD) – and the subject of “Geodesign” build on existing institute activities. These focal points were continued with the interim Professor Dr.-Ing. Jan Dieterle in a transitional phase after Prof. Antje Stokman was appointed to the chair of “Architecture and Landscape” at the HafenCity University Hamburg.
In October 2019, Prof. Dr. Leonie Fischer (Technical University Berlin, Department of Ecosystem Science/Plant Ecology) was appointed head of the institute. She will continue her current focus in research and teaching in the fields of urban ecology and related human-nature interactions, linking it with the institute's expertise in the fields of species and biotope conservation, geodesign, landscape analyses and modelling. The focus will be on the analysis of human-nature relationships at different spatial levels and their integration into sustainable planning strategies.