Karen has a background in landscape architecture, rural planning and development, and cultural geography. She has had a design practice for over 20 years, and has worked as a County planner. Since 2002, she has been a full-time faculty member at the University of Guelph. In 2007, Karen was the recipient of the OAC Distinguished Professor Award.
Current research interests include green infrastructure, urban agriculture, local food systems, urban to rural linkages, and community landscape-stewardship planning. A registered professional planner (MCIP, OPPI), Karen is interested in the linkages between design and planning. She is a member of the Nourishing Ontario research teach, which recently published a Special Issue of Local Environment, entitled Local Food Spaces: Constructing Communities of Food (2013 Vol. 18, Issue 5, pp 521-641)
Teaching includes design studio, environmental planning, and plants in the landscape. Karen enjoys advising graduate students; recent student research has included urban forest planning, design guidelines for urban agriculture, ecological sustainability for rural towns, bee habitat in urban landscapes, and green infrastructure planning for intensification. She currently advises three Rural Studies PhD students who are researching ecological values, rural landscape change and peri-urban landscapes.