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CSI: The Evidence is Mounting

LAF’s 10 teams of Case Study Investigation (CSI) academic researchers and firm practitioners have been engaged in fast-paced data gathering and analysis to document the performance of important landscape projects in the U.S. and abroad.

csiprogressIn July, members of the Texas A&M team traveled to Chicago to conduct an in-depth, two-week study of Millennium Park, defining and calculating its social, economic, ecological and sensory benefits. Chicago has been a center of CSI activity, with three teams (including universities of Washington and Michigan) working with firms and/or projects there.

Utah State’s research team traveled to New Mexico to analyze post-occupancy data from two of Design Workshop’s “Legacy Design” community developments. In Los Angeles, SWA is lending support to the University of Southern California team in documenting the Cheonggyecheon River restoration project in Seoul, South Korea. From Seattle to St. Louis, and Denver to New York and Philadelphia – great works of landscape architecture are being documented through this collaborative effort, spearheaded by researchers at the University of Washington, University of Virginia, Kansas State, and Temple University.

Although the research continues into August, preliminary findings appear far-reaching. Many teams are documenting increases in biodiversity, often in urban areas, that result from incorporating native plant species into landscape design. Innovations in harvesting, purifying and reusing stormwater are being reported in a format meant to inspire and inform Landscape Performance Series users. Often, teams’ analyses of data collected in post-occupancy evaluations, coupled with field observations, provide in-depth perspectives on landscape performance and implications for sustainability through landscape solutions. The evidence is mounting to support these other unique landscape performance benefits:

  • Job creation, educational and skills-training opportunities
  • Microclimate management to offset the urban heat island effect
  • Local economic revitalization
  • Flood protection
  • Reductions in carbon emissions and toxins
  • Public safety through reductions in crime and accidents
  • Public health through improved air quality and pedestrian accessibility

This growing community of LAF landscape performance experts – currently 10 landscape architecture faculty members, 12 student researchers, and practitioners from 22 firms – are generating compelling evidence that demonstrates the critical role landscape solutions play in sustainable design and project construction.

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