Janet Loebach is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Design + Environmental Analysis. Dr. Loebach's academic, professional practice and advocacy efforts focus primarily on three areas: (1) the sustainable development of inclusive and child/youth-friendly environments and communities; (2) examining the impacts of children's everyday built and natural environments on their play and learning behaviors, mobility, and healthy development; and (3) the assessment and refinement of participatory approaches and research tools for examining the environments of young people, and effectively integrating youth into community research and planning initiatives. This work includes environment-behavior analyses at the community- and regional-level, as well as in individual settings such as parks, trails, schools, care facilities, community hubs, and play spaces. Much of her recent work has focused on outdoor and/or neighborhood-based play and mobility, and the assessment of outdoor and natural play spaces. Dr. Loebach's work often integrates child-led and/or digitally-enhanced methods such as behavior mapping, qualitative GIS, GPS tracking, participatory photography and videography, walkalong interviews, and place mapping.
Dr. Loebach received a Bachelor degree in Civil Engineering & Society from McMaster University (Canada), a Master of Environmental Design from the School of Architecture and Planning at Dalhousie University (Canada), and a PhD in Children's, Urban and Health Geographies from the Department of Geography at Western University (Canada). She was awarded Post-Doctoral Fellowships at both the Young Lives Research Laboratory at the University of PEI, and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health's Institute for Mental Health Policy Research. She is a registered Professional Engineer (Ontario) and the Principal Consultant for Thrive Design Consulting. Dr. Loebach currently serves on the Board of Directors of the International Play Association (Canada), the Editorial Board of the Children, Youth & Environments journal, and as the Co-Chair of the Children, Youth & Environments Network of the Environmental Design Research Association (EDRA)