Nan Fairbrother was an English writer and lecturer on landscape and land use. She was a Member of the UK Institute of Landscape Architects, now the Landscape Institute. Her brother was also a landscape architect. Fairbrother was born in Coventry, England, and attended the University of London, graduating with honours in English. After graduation, she worked as a hospital physiotherapist, before settling in London. In 1939 she married William McKenzie, a physician. Their son, Dan McKenzie, was a Cambridge geophysicist instrumental in developing plate tectonics. During the Second World War, Fairbrother left London with their two sons for the safety of the Buckinghamshire countryside, and wrote her first book, Children in the House, about the experience of living there while her husband was away serving with the Royal Air Force. Her most celebrated work is New Lives, New Landscapes, a visionary account of the challenges facing land-use planning in the United Kingdom.
Fairbrother's influence on planners, landscape architects, and educators continues today: in 2009, BBC Scotland Learning produced two programmes in their Industry series, titled New lives, new landscapes, an acknowledgment of Fairbrother's contribution. In 1987 the Fairbrother Group of urban wildlife organisations was established and named in her memory, which ultimately became the Urban Wildlife Network.