Lister is a Professor and Graduate Director at the School of Urban and Regional Planning at Ryerson University (renaming in process) in Toronto, where in 2006 she founded the Ecological Design Lab, Canada’s first hands-on community-based research incubator focused on applied urban ecology and design. Through the lab, funded by national research and foundation grants, Lister engages, trains and supports students working directly with professionals and communities to advance research and develop tangible solutions to complex, transdisciplinary problems such as climate resilience, urban biodiversity and human wellbeing.
Lister is a Senior Fellow of Massey College and was Visiting Professor of Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning at Harvard University, Graduate School of Design from 2010 to 2014. She will return to Harvard in 2022 to teach a graduate research course on (re)wilding landscapes. She is the editor of three books, including the highly-cited volume The Ecosystem Approach: Complexity, Uncertainty, and Managing for Sustainability, the ASLA-awarded Projective Ecologies, and the author of over one hundred scholarly research articles and professional practice publications.
As the founding principal of PLANDFORM, Lister engages in creative practice that emerges from collaboration across disciplines, working with ecologists, artists, landscape architects, engineers and planners to apply research and develop practices that support ecological design in urbanising landscapes to transition to climate-resilient communities. Through PLANDFORM, Lister collaborates on projects that are transforming the way communities think about and interact with the natural and built environments.
In recognition of her international leadership in ecological design, Lister was awarded Honourary Membership in the American Society of Landscape Architect and an inaugural Senior Fellow of the Society for Humans and Nature. She was named an “Inspired Educator” by the Canadian Green Building Council’s excellence and leadership awards and was nominated among Planetizen’s Most Influential Urbanists.