principal consultant - full bio
Janet Loebach, PhD, P. Eng, M. Environmental Design
Dr. Janet Loebach is an environmental design researcher and consultant based in Ontario, Canada. She received her doctorate in Children’s, Health & Urban Geographies from Western University, focusing on healthy neighbourhood and community environments for children and youth. In 2014, Dr. Loebach was awarded a Post-Doctoral Fellowship with the Young Lives Research Laboratory at UPEI, where she continued to explore the environments and experiences of children, including facilitating collaborative research projects with local Indigenous youth.
A Professional Engineer (Ontario) with a Master of Environmental Design from Dalhousie’s School of Architecture and Planning, Dr. Loebach draws on her diverse, interdisciplinary background in design, project management, research, and community engagement to provide evidence-based programming, design and evaluation of environments for special users, such as children, seniors, and those with disabilities or health conditions. Areas of expertise include natural and built play environments, learning and child-care environments, healthcare facilities, residential environments or care facilities, and other community and recreational environments.
With training from the Natural Learning Institute (North Carolina State University – College of Design) and substantial field experience, Dr. Loebach is also one of the foremost Canadian experts in Behaviour Pattern Mapping, an innovative research/evaluation method which captures behaviour and directly links it to the built environment within a Geographic Information System (GIS). She also has extensive experience with innovative qualitative and mixed research methods that identify user’s environmental needs and preferences including: community focus and visioning groups, child-led and resident-led approaches, walk-along interviews, environmental audits and community mapping, Photovoice, GPS and video activity tracking, GPS-enhanced interviewing, and qualitative GIS.
Dr. Loebach also has substantial experience in the development and facilitation of participatory design, planning and building processes, particularly with youth or other special users. She has successfully employed participatory design/build processes with several communities in both Canada and developing countries; community play space projects have been completed in Peru and planning is underway for projects in Guatemala and Costa Rica.
Dr. Loebach has publications in several leading journals including: Environment & Behavior; Children’s Geographies; Children, Youth & Environments; Journal of Planning Education and Research; Visual Studies, Research in Comparative & International Education, PlayRights, and the Canadian Journal of Public Health. She recently co-wrote a chapter in the Handbook of Contemporary Indigenous Architecture focusing on the design of Indigenous Early Learning Centres, and is the co-editor of a forthcoming book entitled Fostering the inclusion of youth in the public realm: Design processes, practices and policies for the creation of youth-inclusive public outdoor environments.
Currently serving as the Vice-President on the Board of Directors of the International Play Association (Canada) and the Co-Chair of the Children & Youth Environments Network of the Environmental Design Research Association (EDRA). She also currently serves as an Advisor to the Bachelor of Environmental Design & Planning program at Fanshawe College and is a sitting member of the CSA National Task Force preparing guidelines for the development of Naturalized Playspaces.
Professional memberships include: Professional Engineers Ontario, Environmental Design Research Association, International Play Association and the Canadian Psychology Association – Environmental Psychology Section.