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The Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture (CELA) Conference gets underway in Baltimore later this week, running March 26-29.
This CELA conference is the first to feature a Landscape Performance track with sessions that “explore the impact of landscape projects of various types and scales through the observation and measurement of environmental, economic and social benefits.” A total of 18 presentations and panels will be part of this track.
LAF will present during two Concurrent Sessions, serve as a Research Funding Workshop panelist, host a meet-and-greet for CSI Research Fellows and Landscape Performance Education Grant Recipients, and give updates at the CELA Board Meeting and Administrators Meeting .
Research from and about LAF’s Landscape Performance Series and Case Study Investigation (CSI) program will be part of four sessions:
Concurrent Session 1- Thurs, 8:00-9:30am
Presentations Based on 2012 and 2013 Case Study Investigation (CSI) Research
Presentations: A ‘Texas Three-Step’ Landscape Performance Research: Learning from Buffalo
Bayou Promenade Klyde Warren Park, and UT Dallas Campus Plan
Taner Ozdil, PhD, University of Texas at Arlington
How Does It Change After One Year? A Comparison of Benefit Composition of
LAF’s Published Case Studies in 2011 and 2012
Yi Luo, Texas A&M University
Park Seventeen Residential Roof Garden: Landscape Performance and
Ming-Han Li, PhD, Texas A&M University
Assessing Residential Landscape Performance: Visual and Bioclimatic
Analyses through In-Situ Data
Bo Yang, PhD Utah State University
Concurrent Session 2 - Thurs, 11:00am-12:30pm
Waterfront Ecologies: Opportunities and Challenges of Assessing Site Performance
Panel with: Kristina Hill, PhD, University of California at Berkeley
Mary Pat Mattson, Illinois Institute of Technology
Aidan Ackerman, Boston Architectural College
Concurrent Session 3 - Thurs, 2:30-4:00pm
Landscape Performance Series Case Study Review and Analysis: Strengths, Weaknesses, and Prospects
Panel with: Heather Whitlow, Landscape Architecture Foundation
Mary Myers, PhD, Temple University
Bo Yang, PhD, Utah State University
Concurrent Session 4 - Thurs, 5:00-6:30pm
One Project at a Time: Measuring Social Performance for LAF Case Study Investigations
Panel with: Katharine Burgess, Landscape Architecture Foundation
Elen Deming, PhD, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Taner Ozdil, PhD, University of Texas at Arlington
By Doug Robb, MLA Candidate, University of Toronto
As landscape architects, we are faced with the challenge of situating our designs within a broader ecological and climatological context. A design proposal must invariably contend with the active forces of its environment, however these forces (such as rainfall, flooding, heat gain, wildlife migration, etc.) can be incredibly difficult to model through conventional CAD and BIM software. The strategy of simulation modelling is often employed, whereby multiple design iterations are compared and contrasted based on a standard rubric. Yet this form of exploratory design can be time-consuming, and is often problematised by the dual expectations placed on landscape architects to quickly represent their creative vision whilst simultaneously ensuring its performative functionality.
The Landscape Architecture Foundation (LAF) is continually looking for new tools and methods to evaluate landscape performance. LAF asked me to investigate how Vectorworks Landmark software could be used to estimate the performance of a given design.
For landscape architects, the greatest strength of Vectorworks Landmark lies in its ability to handle a wide variety of filetypes, and to modify these external files through the built-in Site Planning tool sets. These tool sets are analogous to pre-defined CAD blocks which cater specifically to the require- ments of landscape design, from an extensive library of plant material and irrigation heads to site modifiers and grading tools. When used in tandem, these features allow a designer quickly to import a survey shapefile, modify the topography through massing models, hardscape, or planting, then begin to calculate site metrics such as runoff, cut and fill, and shading.
For example, the Hardscape Tool Set can be used to assign different materials and classes to different components of a drawing. The software can then calculate site statistics, such as ratio of hardscape to softscape, site permeability, and potential runoff by “Creating a Report” and selecting from the preloaded lists of site metrics. Using this straightforward process, peak runoff rate can be calculated using the Rational Method. Vectorworks’ built-in libraries of blocks and calculation tools make quantitative landscape analysis easy and relatively straightforward.
Currently, Vectorworks Landmark is a powerful tool for landscape architects to assess the impact of their designs upon the environment. In the words of Carl Steinitz, this design-led approach to project evaluation is useful for conducting site analysis and generating project metrics, however it is a somewhat limited strategy for generating future design possibilities. It would be tremendously useful if the rigorous analytical functions of Vectorworks Landmark were better able to foster a decision-based approach to landscape design. For instance, a number of possible design outcomes could be generated by limiting certain variables such as site permeability or shade cover. This feature is partially available through the intelligent Massing Model tool set, which allows for data-driven design by appending building data and code requirements to flexible massing models, however an equivalent for landscape performance is not readily available. This process would not only provide landscape architects with a wider range of design alternatives, but also encourage a more participatory design process with non-specialised stakeholders, such as environmentalists or community groups.
While Vectorworks Landmark may not have the full capabilities offered by more specialized programs such as ArcGIS or Photoshop, its “jack-of-all-trades” approach to file management and site design makes it a powerful tool for the simulation modelling of multiple proposals within a single program. I believe this fast and flexible workflow is an invaluable tool for landscape architects who wish to efficiently test the environmental repercussions of their designs. In this sense, Vectorworks Landmark allows for the rapid prototyping of landscape futures as part of both a creative process, and an analytical device.
A total of 21 projects – submitted by 14 design firms, one organization and one institution – have been selected for LAF’s 2014 Case Study Investigation (CSI) program. CSI is a unique research collaboration that matches LAF-funded faculty-student research teams with leading practitioners to document the benefits of exemplary high-performing landscape projects.
Participants from each firm will work with the 2014 Research Fellows to evaluate the performance of one or more built projects and produce Landscape Performance Series Case Study Briefs. Projects are selected based on design innovation, availability of baseline information, potential for quantified performance outcomes and the firm’s commitment to the research collaboration.
The selected projects represent a wide variety of typologies, locations and climates. The various public parks include several prominent brownfield reclamations, as well as plazas, streetscapes, creek restorations, and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Learning environments include three university campus sites and two exemplar public schools designed to encourage student appreciation of the sciences. Among the selected projects, several have been recognized with SITES and LEED certifications, while others were awarded national research grants from the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Commerce.
The 2014 CSI program kicks off in March. Starting in the fall, look for the resulting Case Study Briefs from these participating firms and projects:
- City of Charlottesville and the Nature Conservancy
Meadow Creek Restoration
NOVA Southeastern University
Pompano Beach Streetscape
- Hargreaves Associates
Chattanooga Renaissance Park
- Jacobs/Ryan Associates
Sarah E. Goode STEM Academy
- Joy Kuebler Landscape Architect
Buffalo Public High School 305, McKinley High School
- Morton Arboretum
Meadow Lake Restoration & Permeable Main Parking Lot
- Perkins + Will
1315 Peachtree Street
Atlanta Belt Line Eastside Trail
- PWP Landscape Architecture
Nasher Sculpture Center
- Raymond Jungles, Inc.
1111 Lincoln Road
- Rhodeside & Harwell
James Madison University College of Integrated Sciences & Technology
- Rick Manning Landscape Architect
TREE Neighborhood, Eco Village at Ithaca
- Rios Clementi Hale Studios
Pete V. Domenici Courthouse
- Site Design Group
Henry Palmisano Park
AT&T Performing Arts Center
George “Doc” Cavialliere Park
- Michael Vergason Landscape Architects
Thomas Jefferson Visitor Center/Smith Education Center at Monticello
Plaza at Sundance Square
- Wolf Lighthall
Cornell University Nevin Welcome Center
Eight faculty Research Fellows have been selected for LAF’s 2014 Case Study Investigation (CSI) program. CSI is a unique research collaboration that matches LAF-funded faculty and student research teams with design firms to document the benefits of exemplary high-performing landscape projects as Landscape Performance Series Case Study Briefs.
Research Fellows lead the CSI collaboration, work with firms to identify performance benefits of select projects, develop evaluation methods, and oversee the case study production process. These select faculty members receive an honorarium and funding to support a student research assistant.
The selection process was highly competitive with proposals received from over 27 researchers across the U.S and abroad. The following LAF Research Fellows will lead the seven 2014 Case Study Investigation teams:
- Chris A. Martin, PhD, Arizona State University
- Michele Palmer, Cornell University
- Ebru Ozer, Florida International University
- Mary Pat Mattson, Illinois Institute of Technology
- Brad Collett, University of Tennessee
- Taner R. Ozdil, PhD, University of Texas at Arlington
- James P. Richards, University of Texas at Arlington
- Leena Cho, University of Virginia
Congratulations to this impressive group! Later this week, we’ll announce the projects and firms selected for participation — stay tuned!
The Landscape Architecture Foundation (LAF) is currently developing a new website to house its Landscape Performance Series and related resources. The goal of the redesign is to enhance the user experience with improved organization, new resources, and more ways to browse and search the content.
To help us create the most dynamic website possible, we are seeking input from a variety of LPS users, from the one-timers to the diehards. We’ve developed the following short surveys for different user groups.The surveys focus on your use of the LPS, what you find most useful, and what additional functionality and resources you would like to see. Please take a moment to complete the appropriate survey and tell us what you think!
- LPS Website Survey - For Practitioners
- LPS Website Survery - For Faculty/Educators
- LPS Website Survey - For Students
As a thanks for completing the survey, your name will be entered into a drawing to win LAF’s award-winning book, “Greening Cities, Growing Communities: Learning from Seattle’s Urban Community Gardens.”
LAF is also conducting phone interviews and focus groups for those wishing to provide more detailed feedback or engage in an open conversation about the website. If you are interested, please contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you in advance for your time, input, and assistance in making the Landscape Performance Series the best resource it can be!