James Patchett FASLA, RLA, LEED AP
Founder and President


James Patchett, founder and president of Conservation Design Forum (CDF), is widely recognized as one of the nation's leaders in the promotion of sustainable land planning and design.  Jim applies his training and experience as a landscape architect, environmental planner, hydrologist, and restoration ecologist in the design and development of natural resource-based solutions that integrate state-of-the-art green building and site infrastructure measures to restore historical ecosystem functions in both built and natural environments.  Prior to founding CDF in 1994, Jim served as design lead and project manager on some of the Chicago region's most noted early examples of sustainable site planning and development including such award winning projects as Sears Prairie Stone, Tellabs Research and Development Facility, and AT&T/ Lucent Technologies.  Each of these projects showcased the integration of native landscapes with innovative green infrastructure measures.

Looking to further develop his ecological philosophy and "green" development focus, Jim founded Conservation Design Forum in an effort to establish a visionary collaborative environment that draws on the expertise of a wide range of planning, design, science, and engineering professionals.  As President of CDF, Jim oversees and participates in a broad range of CDF's planning and design projects, with particular emphasis in the areas of sustainable site planning and development, the advancement of innovative water resource management techniques, the integration of native landscape systems, and the promotion of ecological restoration strategies.

In addition to his duties as Founder and President of Conservation Design Forum, Jim is co-founder and President of the Board of Conservation Research Institute, a non-profit organization dedicated to furthering applied research and educational outreach in the areas of sustainable design, ecological restoration, and systems management for both built and natural environments.  A noted speaker and educator, Jim routinely travels throughout the country to conduct lectures, educational workshops, and design charrettes that promote an increased understanding and awareness of the scientific foundation and practical applications of diverse “green” design and development strategies, while at the same time pointing out with humor and remarkable clarity, the many liabilities associated with conventional land use practices.  Jim’s ability to communicate this understanding to a broad variety of practitioners, educators, students, decision makers, and the general public is what sets him apart in the field.


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James Patchett

(630) 559-2025




University of Michigan
Ph.D. Pre-Candidate, School of Natural Resources, 1984-86


Iowa State University
M.S. Civil Engineering, Major: Water Resources, 1985
M.L.A. 1981
B.S. Landscape Architecture, 1975



Landscape Architect - IL, IA, IN, MI, WI


LEED Accredited Professional


Professional Affiliations

American Society of Landscape Architects


U.S. Green Building Council


Associate Professor, Department of Landscape Architecture, Iowa State University


List Of Presentations

Soil & Water Conservation District (SWCD) Keynote Presentation: Design for Sustainable
Systems Low Impact Development Workshop. Dubuque, IA, 2008


University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Sustainable Stormwater Design Studio, Guest-Instructor. Urban-Champaign, IL. 2006, 2007, 2008


AIA Chicago Professional Development Conference: Green Urban Design. Chicago, IL. 2007


USEPA Midwest Sustainability Summit - Sustainable Redevelopment Principles and Best Practices. Springfield, MO. 2007


Water Environmental Research Foundation (WERF) Webcast and Expert Panel “BMP Strategies for Aesthetic Design and Public Acceptance.” Arlington, VA. 2006


Michigan ASLA Conference Keynote Address: “Why Sustainability Matters.” East Lansing, MI. 2006


Low Impact Development Conference. "Emulating Natural Systems: The Foundation for Sustainable Design." Arlington Heights, IL. 2006


Village of Orland Park Low Impact Development Conference Keynote and Panelist. Orland Park, IL. 2006


International Joint Commission of the Great Lakes, Urban Land Use Issues in the Great Lakes Basin. Chicago, IL. 2005


Environmental Professionals of Iowa Symposium, Emulating Natural Systems: The Foundation for Sustainable Design, Keynote Address. Des Moines, IA. 2005


Sustainable Stormwater Management - Taking it to the Next Level. Troy, MI. 2005


USEPA Green Makeover Conference Keynote Address. Milwaukee, WE. 2005


Midwest Summit on Sustainable Development of Brownfields. Rock Island, IL. 2005


Making Your Project Green: A Workshop on the Practical Approaches to Green Building—Low Impact Developments. Chicago Center for Green Technology; Chicago, IL. 2005


Growing Green Communities Technical Seminar and BMP Training, "Implementing the E-Factor." Des Moines, IA. 2005


The Congress for the New Urbanism - "Blocks, Streets and Buildings Today: The New City Beautiful", Techniques for Sustainable Urbanism. Chicago, IL. 2004


University of Georgia: 75th Anniversary of Landscape Architecture, Neil Reed Keynote Lecture: Design for Sustainable Systems. Athens, GA. 2004


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