Reid Coffman, Ph.D.

College of Architecture & Environmental Design
Office Hours:
by appt.
Contact Information


Dr. Coffman is a global leader and distinguished figure in the area of living architecture whose research and publications have helped establish the understanding of green roofs as constructed ecosystems.

As a leader, he has been the primary force in growing North America’s capacity for scientific publication and the development of a U.S. academic network to deliver preprofessional education enabling students to join the green roof profession.  His intellectual contributions include pioneering the concept of vegetative roofs as urban ecosystems (2007); providing the concept of ‘biodispersing buildings’ in which buildings disperse vegetation for landscape restoration (2014); and offering a roof cultivation approach for rare plant species threatened by climate change (2020).

Currently, he is the North American Chair of Regional Academic Centers of Excellence program (GRHC), Executive Director of the Greater Ohio Living Architecture (GOLA) Center, and Director of the Novel Ecology Design Lab (NEDLab). He is the Past Editor of the Journal of Living Architecture and Past Chair of the International Research Committee on Living Architecture (GRHC). 

At Kent State, he is a Professor and Coordinator of the Master of Science in Architecture and Environmental Design. His teaching focuses on interdisciplinary coursework to aid students in the understanding, conceptualization, design, and construction of contrived ecological systems.

Dr. Coffman leads and advises doctoral and masters students in dissertation, thesis and graduate projects in CAED, Kent State and other institutions. 

Courses: Living Architecture, Green Roofs and Walls, Design Studio, Research Methods

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The Ohio State University, Ph.D., Urban Ecology and Environmental Horticulture, 2007 |, University of Colorado, Master of Landscape Architecture, 1998 , University of Missouri, B.S. Human Health and Physical Education, 1993


Urban Ecology | Vegetative Roof Systems | Performance Landscapes | Rain Gardens | Ecological Services | Living Architecture | Green Roofs | Constructed Ecologies | Novel Ecologies | Landscape | Green Infrastructure | Ecosystem Services


  • selected
  • Droz, A, Coffman R., Fulton T., and Blackwood C. 2021 Moving beyond habitat analogs: Optimizing green roofs for a balance of ecosystem services. Ecological Engineering 173 106422.
  • Droz, A, Coffman R., and Blackwood C. 2021 Plant diversity on green roofs in the wild: Testing practitioner and ecological predictions in three midwestern (USA) cities. Urban Forest & Urban Greening 60, 127079.
  • Coffman, R. and M. Blackson, 2020 Reintroduction of rare plant species for terrestrial restoration. Journal of Living Architecture Vol 7, Issue 2 pgs 81-95.
  • Bousselot, J., Coffman, R., Connors, S., Retzlaff, W., Celik, S. Russell, V., Buffam, I. and Tolander, L. 2020. Green Roof Research in North America: A Recent History and Future Strategies Journal of Living Architecture Vol 7, Issue 1 pgs 27-64.
  • Liu, R., and Coffman, R. 2016. Lightweight Aggregate Made from Dredge Material in Green Roof Construction for Stormwater Management. Materials, 9(8).
  • Klein, P., and Coffman, R., 2015. Establishment and Performance of an Experimental Green Roof under Extreme Climatic Conditions. Science of the Total Environment Volumes 512–513, 15 April, Pages 82-93, ISSN 0048-9697,
  • Coffman, R., Cech, S. and Gettig, R. 2014. Living architecture and biological dispersal. Journal of Living Architecture, 1(5) Pages 1-9
  • Sutton, R., Harrington, J., Skabelund, L., MacDonagh, P., Coffman, R., and Koch, G. 2012. Prairie-Based Green Roofs: Literature, Templates and Analogs. Journal of Green Building Vol 7, No 1 Pages 143-172
  • Oberndorfer, E., Lundholm, J., Bass, B., Connelly, M., Coffman, R., Doshi, H., Dunnett, N., Gaffin, S., Köhler, Liu, K., Rowe, B. 2007. Green Roofs as Urban Ecosystems: Ecological Structures, Functions, and Services. Bioscience, Vol. 57, issue. 10, No


Green Roofs for Healthy Cities | Council of Educators of Landscape Architecture | American Society of Landscape Architecture


  • Research Award of Excellence | North America | Green Roofs for Healthy Cities | 2020
  • Award of Excellence in Built Work | 'Bike Box Living Roof Lab' | Green Roofs for Healthy Cities | 2020
  • Honor Award, Research Category | Central States American Society of Landscape Architecture | 2011
  • Construction of Rain Gardens with Expanded Clay | Pisces Award | US & Region 6 Environmental Protection Agency | 2011
  • Experimental Green Roof (w/ L. Fithian and P. Klein) | Outstanding Research Faculty | College of Architecture, University of Oklahoma | 2011
  • Award of Excellence | Keep Oklahoma Beautiful | Experiment Green roof at the National Weather Center | 2010
  • Merit Award (w/ L. Fithian and P. Klein) | Research Category | Central States American Society of Landscape Architecture | 2010
  • Vegetative Roof Systems; A Multi-study Investigation | Merit Award | OKASLA | Research Category | 2008
  • Ecoroof Research Paper Compilation | Honorable Mention | OKASLA | Research and Planning Category | ‘Path to Peace’ | 2007
  • Design Award | United Cerebral Palsy | Open Category, ‘The Sea- A playground' | 2000
  • Honor Award | ASLA | Planning Category, ‘Pikes Peak Master Plan’ | Contributing environmental consultant w/Design Workshop as leading consultant | 2000

Research Institutes and Initiatives

Environmental Science and Design Research Initiative