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Over the past month, LAF has presented the Landscape Performance Series to landscape architects, design researchers and other built environment professionals across the northeast, including conference visits in Providence and Rochester.
In Providence, LAF participated in the Environmental Design Research Association (EDRA) 44th Annual Conference, presenting on the Case Study Investigation (CSI) program as part of a panel with researchers from the University of Maryland and firm liaisons from EDSA, Reed Hilderbrand, and Sasaki. The presentation focused on the experience of these CSI participants, who worked together during the summer of 2012 to study and document the performance of three diverse projects:
- Central Wharf Plaza, a small urban park in Boston
- Castiglion de Bosco, a 4500-acre estate redevelopment in Tuscany
- The Avenue, a transit-oriented-development in downtown Washington D.C.
The panel discussed opportunities and challenges in evaluating landscape performance. The designers from each firm spoke about their approach to researching their project’s performance, their reaction to receiving the performance data, and how their work has changed since.
Eric Kramer, of Reed Hilderbrand, explained that prior to CSI, “we talked about how projects performed, but we didn’t use those words… The value of CSI, was in part, to give us the language with which to have these conversations.” Of particular interest to Kramer were the CSI research team’s findings on Central Wharf Plaza’s effect on traffic safety: The number of accidents decreased from six in the years prior to the project, to just one in the years after completion.
Derek Gagne, of EDSA, explained how the experience of trying to gather performance data for Castiglion de Bosco led his team to incorporate performance metrics into projects from day one. The panel also discussed the larger issue of translational research as it relates to landscape architecture.
The next week in Rochester, LAF led a half day workshop for the New York Upstate ASLA Chapter’s “No Excuses” conference. The conference focused on green infrastructure, with presentations from LAF and experts from design firms, engineering firms, and industry. NYU ASLA President-Elect Joy Kuebler explained that “our goal for this event was to provide every opportunity to equip as many landscape architects with the basic knowledge and confidence needed to become green infrastructure community leaders at a price point that was affordable – hence the name ‘No Excuses’.”
LAF’s workshop introduced participants to the concept of landscape performance, the resources in the Landscape Performance Series, and the process of evaluating performance to show impact. Each participant brought in a project and used the full-morning session to analyze it and develop a research plan to document its performance.
As Kuebler summarized, the intensive workshop covered “how to use this incredible online resource to not only inform design, but to showcase the work that high performance landscapes do.” The workshop enabled “the group to critically examine their own projects and review their environmental, economic and social performance… This was an amazing opportunity to see how the documentation of our work contributes to the body of knowledge that defends the role of landscape architecture in the built environment.”
If you are interested in engaging your colleagues in dialogue on landscape performance, LAF would be happy to visit or schedule a webinar with your firm, organization, or university. For more information, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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