Dan Ballard — Alumnus
City of Auburn, Alabama, Auburn, Alabama
Dan’s application of sustainability in his work is a remarkable study of how one person can make a difference through the creative and skilled application of knowledge. Dan’s extensive knowledge and skill at communicating sustainability, and his ability to educate regarding the complexities of stormwater and natural systems earns praise from his students, who have graduated and taken positions with firms around the world.
Dan demonstrates outstanding commitment to sustainability in his professional work, design work, and teaching. Dan is a big-picture thinker and detail-oriented designer, contributing and leading sustainable design initiatives for water in Auburn that have downstream effects all the way to the Gulf of Mexico. As Auburn’s Watershed Division Manager, Dan applies the principles and practices of sustainability to every project, including numerous stream restoration and stream bank stabilization projects, and urban revitalization projects that utilize low impact development and green infrastructure designs whenever possible.
Most recently he has spent much time envisioning, planning, promoting, and encouraging the development of an innovative Saugahatchee Greenway + Blueway Project. This project would create more than 6 miles of trails for hiking, biking, and jogging, and bring opportunities for kayaking to Saugahatchee Creek as an extension of the Alabama Scenic River Trail System. It would provide social connectivity and walkability between neighborhoods, schools, parks, and retail centers, along with increasing public appreciation of our local water resources.
Public involvement and collaboration in community decision-making are at the forefront of Dan’s approach. He uses a hands-on design visioning form of public engagement, involving local stakeholders in visioning sessions that offer inclusive participation to all socio-economic groups. He engages multiple cooperative efforts with architects, engineers, scientists, artists, civic leaders and academics.
As an adjunct in the AU landscape architecture program Dan uses real world projects to teach students about water quality and how to design for responsible stormwater management. His students design and model landscape systems that create better quality of life for communities through restoration of native habitats and use of low impact development systems and other green infrastructure designs that mimic nature’s restorative approach to stormwater.
Dan is a registered landscape architect and employed by the City of Auburn, AL as the Watershed Division Manager in the Water Resource Management Department. He earned a B.S. in Zoology (2004) and M.S. Landscape Architecture (MLA, 2011) from Auburn University, and currently teaches as an Adjunct Professor in Auburn’s Master of Landscape Architecture Program.