Passings: Retired FES professor left an urban landscape legacy

Former York University Faculty of Environmental Studies (FES) Professor Michael Hough, who taught in the Faculty from 1970 until his retirement in 2005, died Friday, Jan. 25. He was 84.

Prof. Hough was a distinguished landscape architect recognized for the work he did with his firm, ENVision-The Hough Group, in addition to his accomplishments as a MichaelHoughprofessor and author. Prior to joining the Faculty of Environmental Studies at York University, he taught at the University of Toronto, where he founded the School of Landscape Architecture in 1963. He also taught at Harvard University.

Professor Michael Hough

Internationally renowned for his ecological approach to landscape architecture and planning, Prof. Hough viewed nature as an integral part of the city’s form and function and not something to be discarded or superficially added in a development. Applying this philosophy in his teachings at FES, Prof. Hough designed the certificate in Environmental Landscape Design – now the certificate in Urban Ecologies – as an alternative to traditional landscape architecture and planning.

“Michael Hough’s passion and dedication to the environment was unmatched. He challenged us to see urban ecology as an integrative process where the ecological is part of the urban and vice versa. Michael insisted on recognizing and reintroducing nature into the city,” said FES Professor Liette Gilbert.

Prof. Hough left a legacy of urban landscapes in Toronto, including Ontario Place, Osgoode Hall’s Courtyard, the grounds of Scarborough College and the University College Quad, Earth Sciences Courtyard and Philosopher’s Walk at University of Toronto, among many other pioneering projects in Canada and abroad.

He published several books concerning ecological design, environmental planning, urban ecology and landscapes, which include: The Urban Landscape (1971); City Form and Natural Process (1984); Land Conservation and Development (1984); Out of Place (1992); and Cities and Natural Process (1995, 2007). He also authored many influential reports, including “Bringing Back the Don” (1991).

Additionally, he was the recipient of several prestigious awards, including the 1991 City of Toronto Arts Award for Architecture and Design; Toronto Arts Award for Architecture and Design (1991); Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Conservation (1993); and the 2009 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Canadian Society of landscape Architects (CSLA). He was also a Fellow of the Canadian Society of Landscape Architects, having served as president, from 1985 to 1986.

To view videos of Prof. Hough’s memorial held Feb. 2 at Bloor Street United Church in Toronto, click here. To read a tribute to Prof. Hough, click here.

By Jessica Lamoglie De Nardo, FES media/communications coordinator