Denise Buchanan, Ph.D., BA, MA, MLA, ASLA


Ph.D.: Psychoneurology and Integrative Health Beurin University - Woodland Hills, CA, USA Behavioral Psychology Master of Arts: Psychology University of Santa Monica - Santa Monica, CA, USA Studies in Psychology and Human Behavior MLA: Landscape Architecture University of Guelph - Guelph, ON, Canada Major in Landscape Architecture Minor in Urban Planning and Design Bachelor of Arts: Mass Communication University of the West Indies - Kingston, Jamaica Studies in Print, Radio and Television Communication

Dr. Buchanan is the Founder of “Sacred Garden Designs, Inc.,” an industry leader in creating sustainably designed and built environments; “,” a non-profit organization promoting tree planting for climate renewal and global food security and “The Get Business Smart Foundation” in Jamaica, which aims to improve the economic and social conditions of persons throughout Jamaica through education, life skills and financial training.

For over 25 years, Dr. Buchanan has been committed to minimizing the impact of drought, climate change, growing populations and deforestation in urban landscapes while maximizing the creation of more useful and livable environments with optimal water use, especially in the under-served areas of society. Dr. Buchanan is a talented landscape architectural designer and has been instrumental in providing leadership to community-based organizations, government departments and government stakeholders on various national parks, highway, tourism, urban renewal and master planning projects throughout the United States, Canada and the Caribbean. Dr. Buchanan is a Member of the American Society of Landscape Architects, an ASLA Environmental Justice PPN and is a Sustainable Business Council Nominee for the Best Public Advocate for Sustainability. She is also an Award-Winning Toastmasters International Public Speaker, published author and the only Jamaican Female Licensed Landscape Contractor in California.

Dr. Buchanan’s wide-ranging research and teaching interests include environmental justice, sustainable management of land and water resources, urban farming, food security, agricultural productivity and sustainability in marginal environments, urban forests for climate modification, desalination of sea water for agricultural crops, urban revitalization, sustainable rural development and cultural and psychological factors that influence human social behavior in public spaces. Her work has been featured on the Etherworks Production “Sold on Green”, on national television and in various industry publications. 

Related Links: Buchanan Portfolio

Currently Teaching
  • 538L
    Urban Plant Ecology- Cultural Perspectives
    Urban Plant Ecology- Cultural Perspectives

    Landscapes are living systems that can contribute to the health and success of urban environments. This course focuses on the liveness of plant matter as a primary design medium of landscape architecture. Focusing on the cultural, aesthetic and performative roles of plants, the course asks students to develop planting designs and design methodologies for sustainable urban landscapes that benefit the more-than-human world. Investigating urban forestry techniques and their effects will require students study trees as critical urban infrastructures that can help achieve urban landscapes with increased levels of habitat diversity and ecosystem services.

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