Photo credit: Robyn Wishna Photography

Joshua F. Cerra, ASLA

Associate Professor Cerra has practiced as a designer and ecologist for over 25 years combined. His work investigates relationships between urban ecosystems, communities and site development processes, and their implications for climate-adaptive design and urban ecological design. His studio-based efforts have received award recognition from the national American Society of Landscape Architects, the Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture, and Cornell University.

Cerra directs the Climate-adaptive Design (CaD) studio, which in partnership with New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Scenic Hudson and others links design students with flood-prone Hudson riverfront municipalities to develop alternative design strategies for more climate-adapted and connected waterfront areas.

Cerra also directed the YardWorks Studio, which in partnership with the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology developed urban ecological design techniques that enhance urban ecological conditions in ways that are compatible with social norms, interests and needs.

Cerra is a principal investigator for the Climate Change Garden, an interpretive research installation on Cornell campus that uses a high tunnel to create a comparative environment for enhancing visitor awareness of changing temperature variables associated with climate change projections and their possible impacts on plants. The environmental, phenological, and visitor experience data being collected are being used to tune the installation’s performance and interpretive benefits.


Master of Landscape Architecture, University of Minnesota, 2003

B.A. in Biology, Vassar College, 1993



Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies

Cornell University Department of Landscape Architecture

July 2017 – Present


Assistant Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies

Cornell University Department of Landscape Architecture

2011 – July 2017


Adjunct Professor

University of Oregon Department of Architecture

2008-2010 (3 quarters)



Designer and Senior Ecologist

Herrera, Inc.

2007 – 2011


Visiting Guest Studio Instructor

University of Oregon Department of Architecture

2006-2010 (7 quarters)


Designer and Project Ecologist

David Evans and Associates, Inc.

2003 – 2007


Restoration Project Manager

Habitats, Inc.

2002 – 2003


Metro Habitat Planning Assistant

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

2001 – 2002


Regional Planning Research Assistant

University of Minnesota Department of Landscape Architecture

1999 – 2001


Biological Technician / GIS Technician

United States Bureau of Land Management

1995 – 1999