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Employee Spotlight: Q&A with Joni Giese

Q and A with Joni Giese

Our new Saint Paul office is opening soon and we’re profiling our office leaders in this series of Employee Spotlights. A Senior Associate in our Landscape Architecture and Urban Design practice, Joni will lead urban design and planning efforts from  Saint Paul. With 20 years of experience, Joni’s expertise includes urban planning and design, station area planning and transit-oriented development, green infrastructure, streetscape design, trail and pedestrian planning, and complete streets. Joni has facilitated numerous projects that require an integrated approach where community infrastructure requirements (such as water resources, parks/open spaces, utilities, land use, and multimodal transportation) must be synthesized into a vibrant and aesthetically pleasing public amenity. Read on to learn more about Joni…

Tell us about your role at SRF.
My work at SRF focuses on urban design and planning. My projects primarily focus on urban redevelopment, green infrastructure, and non-motorized transportation planning and design – this usually requires a synthesis of land use planning and landscape architecture with other design, engineering, and economic development services. I really enjoy collaborating with other talented SRF staff in our other offices and across all the services that we offer.

How did you did you get started in the field?
I’ve always had a love for the outdoors and design. When researching a new career in the 1990s, I came across the landscape architecture profession and discovered this was the perfect blending of my passions. Back in 1995, while completing my graduate degree, Barry Warner and I were on a committee together at the University of Minnesota. Barry was just starting up the landscape architecture studio at SRF, and I offered to work part-time while he established the practice.

What’s the most rewarding part of your job?
Being able to design solutions that incorporate natural processes while still meeting the functional needs of an urban environment. I believe urban design solutions that mimic natural processes, to the extent feasible, result in healthier environments for humans and other living creatures.

What are you most looking forward to with the opening of the Saint Paul office?
I’m looking forward to getting to know and working more closely with a great group of SRFers who will also be working out of the Saint Paul office. I’m also excited to use transit for my work commute, to attend meetings, and to access after-work activities along the Green Line.

What Saint Paul lunch or happy hour spot are you most excited to hit up?
The Happy Gnome – Good Food, Good Beer, Good Atmosphere – what more can you ask for?

What’s your favorite/most memorable SRF project?
The Heritage Park Redevelopment in Minneapolis. It was of those the rare opportunities to completely re-envision a 140-acre urban redevelopment site. It was an early project in the Minneapolis/Saint Paul area that incorporated green infrastructure and native plant communities. It’s rewarding to see neighborhood residents enjoy the new parks and wildlife come back to the site.

Joni Giese, ASLA, AICP
Landscape Architecture and Urban Design
Connect with Joni on LinkedIn