Susan Manske

Photo of Sue with dog outdoors

Susan Manske

Graduate Level
MS Student

I have a strong interest in interactive landscapes that build community and foster learning, whether through play for younger children or an outdoor classroom for K-12 students. My interest in children’s outdoor play spaces stems from my work as an exhibit graphic designer at the Madison Children’s Museum, developing interactive exhibit components and graphics that promote playful learning. Outdoor environments especially enhanced the learning experience.

I eventually wanted to broaden my ability to shape a more complete, sustainable environment and so I decided to study Architecture in Milwaukee and, afterwards, Landscape Architecture in Madison. I received a BS in graphic design from UWMadison earlier in my design career and recently received my Master’s degree in Architecture from UW-M. I feel that Landscape Architecture will perfectly complement and complete my design studies as well as continue to feed my love of the natural world.

My thesis involves the design of a greenway/public pathway that will provide a natural, biodiverse east-west connection within the community of Waunakee while providing access to and an appreciation of a significant natural feature. It will offer play nodes constructed of all natural materials along its length and will fit into a natural, unmanicured conservancy greenway that will invite exploration beyond the path. This greenway will be designed to be a linear landscape that goes beyond conservation, connecting not only ecological networks, but social networks as well. It will provide a synthesis of natural play spaces, a community bicycle/walking path and access to a conservation corridor, expressed in a greenway/play path design centered around the natural feature of SixMile Creek and its adjacent conservancy. This thesis will also explore the advantages of the presence of play nodes and the use of natural materials in these nodes rather than commercial play equipment to enhance both adults and children’s experience in a nature-based environment.

At home, you most likely will find me outside in my garden, at the dog park with our three beasts or reading. I have fostered dogs (and cats) for a local shelter for many years, so I am often in the middle of a pack when visiting the parks.