Brett Milligan

Profile image for Brett Milligan

Position Title

  • Human Ecology

Brett Milligan’s research focuses on critical investigation and design of new forms of infrastructure that are based on landscape processes and which foster ecological recovery and social equity. He is a founding member of the Dredge Research Collaborative, which implements transdisciplinary approaches to water infrastructure and the design of dredged landscapes and sediment management. His UC Davis research lab -  Metamorphic Landscapes – prototypes landscape adaptations to accelerated climatic and environmental change, focusing on applied fieldwork in floodplains, estuaries, urbanized deltas, and the dynamic interface between land and water.

Brett’s research approach is transdisciplinary, exploring ways to create new, integrative knowledge across disciplines and publics through design research, ethnography and extensive fieldwork methods.

Geographically, much of Brett’s research is based in California’s Bay-Delta. He was the lead organizer for DredgeFest California (2016); a core member of the 2017-2018 Bay Area Resilient by Design International Competition’s Public Sediment team; and has served as a design consultant to multiple state, federal and private agencies in the region. Within the Delta, he has conducted integrative, exploratory scenario planning efforts, and worked extensively on ecological restoration initiatives that seek to integrate cultural and place-based values within these landscape transitions.

-Follow him on Twitter (@freeassocdesign) and Instagram (freeassociationdesign)
-Public Sediment Resilient By Design International Competition Team Results (weblink)
-Graham Foundation awards (weblink)


Research Interests & Expertise
  • Climate Change Adaptation
  • Urbanized Deltas
  • Dredging and Sediment Management
  • Environmental Humanities
  • Political Ecology
  • New Modes of Socio-Ecological Conservation
  • Adaptive Land Management
  • Aesthetics and Affect Theory
  • Landscape Architecture
  • Infrastructural Studies
  • Socio-technical Systems
  • Industrial Ecology