He has authored and edited numerous publications, including Shaping the Postwar Landscape, the Modern Landscapes: Transition and Transformation series, Shaping the American Landscape, Design with Culture: Claiming America’s Landscape Heritage, Preserving Modern Landscape Architecture and its follow-up publication, Making Post-War Landscapes Visible, Pioneers of American Landscape Design, and The Guidelines for the Treatment of Cultural Landscapes.
In 1995, the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) awarded the HLI the President's Award of Excellence. In 1996, the ASLA inducted Birnbaum as a Fellow of the Society. He served as a Loeb Fellow at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design, during which time he founded TCLF. In 2004, Birnbaum was awarded the Rome Prize in Historic Preservation and Conservation and spent the spring and summer of that year at the American Academy in Rome. In 2008, he was the Visiting Glimcher Distinguished Professor at Ohio State University's Austin E. Knowlton School of Architecture. That same year, the ASLA awarded him the Alfred B. LaGasse Medal, followed by the President’s Medal in 2009. In 2017, Birnbaum received the ASLA Medal, the Society's highest award. Birnbaum has served as a Visiting Professor at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, a visiting critic at Harvard’s GSD, and currently serves as a Lecturer in Landscape Architecture at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design. He was also a frequent contributor to the Huffington Post (2011-18). In 2020 Birnbaum received the Landezine International Landscape Honor Award as well as the Garden Club of America’s Historic Preservation Medal.