Patsy Owens

Patsy Owens

Position Title

  • Human Ecology
  • College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Dean's Office

Patsy Eubanks Owens joined faculty at UC Davis in 1990 as an assistant professor in landscape architecture. She is a product of the land grant university system, beginning with her 4-H membership at an early age. Her 4-H landscaping project evolved into her university studies and a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture from the University of Georgia. After several years of private practice in Philadelphia, she continued her education and received a Master of Landscape Architecture at University of California, Berkeley. She began her teaching career at Virginia Tech.

Owens’ research focuses on the relationships between people and the outdoor environment. Specifically, her work examines the role of the physical environment in the development, health and well-being of youth and methods of community involvement in design decision-making. Her academic work uses a model of engaged scholarship where the boundaries between research, teaching and outreach are blurred. She frequently leads her students in community-based projects that apply current research thinking. Early in her teaching career, her desire to bring university and professional expertise to communities was realized through establishing the Community Design Assistance Center at Virginia Tech, which has been in operation for the past 30 years. For this effort, Owens received the Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture—Award of Distinction. Her research on youth includes international studies in rural, urban and suburban communities. Owens is a member and past chair of the Children, Youth Environments Network of the Environmental Design Research Association (EDRA). She also served on the EDRA board.

Owens’ interest in understanding and creating places supportive of local communities and varied populations is reflected in her teaching. Her lower-division course, “Place, Culture and Community,” examines the cultural landscape and helps students interpret the world around them. She also teaches a graduate course, “Environment and Behavior,” in which students explore place preferences, behaviors and influences of the built environment on everyday lives. Owens was the inaugural chair of the Human Ecology Department at UC Davis. For her leadership skills and contributions to the profession, she received the Outstanding Administrator Award from the Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture (CELA) and the Legacy Award from the Sierra Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects.