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2013 CSI Firms and Projects Announced

A total of 20 design firms and 24 projects have been selected for LAF’s 2013 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 2013 Reseach 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, potential to produce comprehensive quantified benefits, availability of baseline information, and the firm’s commitment to the research collaboration.

The 2013 CSI program is just getting underway. You can expect to see new Case Study Briefs in the fall from these participating firms and projects:

  • Alameda County Surplus Property Authoritycsi-advocatelutheranhospitalCDF's Advocate Lutheran General Hospital
    Tassajara Creek Restoration
  • Conservation Design Forum
    Ann Arbor Municipal Center
    Advocate Lutheran General Hospital
  • de la fleur LLC
    One Drop at a Time
  • Design Workshop
    Capitol Valley Ranch
    Cascade Garden
    Riverside Ranchcsi-eriestplazaStoss Landscape Urbanism's Erie St Plaza
  • Fred Phillips Consulting
    Yuma East Wetlands
  • Ground, Inc
    Parc Nouvelle: A Tapestry of Experiences and Planting
  • Hitchcock Design Group
    Boneyard Creek Restoration: Scott Park and the Second Street Detention Basin
  • Jacobs/Ryan
    Museum of Science and Industry Smart Home: Green + Wired
  • Living Habitats
    Chicago Botanic Garden Lake Shoreline Enhancement Projects
  • MIG
    Napa River Flood and Watershed Protectioncsi-chicagobotanicgardenLiving Habitats' Chicago Botanic Garden Lake Shoreline Enhancement Projects
  • The Office of James Burnett
    Klyde Warren Park
  • OLIN
    Simon and Helen Director Park
  • PWP Landscape Architecture
    UT at Dallas Landscape Improvements
  • Richard Burck Associates
    Watch Factory
  • SmithGroupJJR
    Carmel Clay Central Park
    Millikin State Park & Harbor
  • Stoss Landscape Urbanismcsi-randallkidshospitalZGF Architects' Randall Children's Hospital
    Erie Street Plaza
  • SWA Group
    Buffalo Bayou Promenade
  • Terry Guen Design Associates
    63rd St Beach
  • WRT
    Dutch Kills Green
  • Zimmer Gunsul Frasca Architects
    Randall Children’s Hospital at Legacy Emanuel

Landscape Performance Research: The Economics of Change

By Jason Twill, LEED AP and Stuart Cowan, PhD

The built environment and building industry together account for about 50% of U.S carbon emissions and contribute to a web of significant, interconnected problems: climate change, persistent toxins in the environment, dwindling supplies of potable water, flooding, ocean acidification, habitat loss and more. Over the past decade, great strides have been made in terms of energy efficiency, water and waste consumption, and sustainable materials, and a critical mass of innovative professionals has emerged.

Yet a major barrier to the broad adoption of advanced green building practices is our 20th century real estate financial system. Current lending approaches, appraisal protocols, and valuation models do not reflect the true externalized costs of doing “business as usual” nor do they fully capture the additional environmental and social benefits created by building green. These barriers affect the perceived financial viability of environmentally sound projects and slow innovation and market growth. To fully realize true sustainability, a shift in assessing and evaluating real estate investment is urgently needed.

The Economics of Change is a groundbreaking effort to do just that.

The overarching goal of The Economics of Change is to shift mainstream real estate practices to document the full value of a built environment that is compatible with healthy, natural systems. Correcting real estate incentives and improving financial models will shift investment toward buildings and infrastructures that are financially rewarding, resilient, socially just and economically restorative.

eoc-shiftA project's integrated value includes its traditional market value AND the environmental and social value it provides. This research seeks to shift the investment barrier to the right through recognition of integrated value, potentially unlocking a trillion dollars of investment towards restorative building.

In the first phase, The Economics of Change team created a prototype tool to demonstrate how the ecological and social benefits of green buildings can be monetized in real estate investment models. The Phase 1 report The Economics of Change: Catalyzing The Investment Shift for a Restorative Built Environment provides an overview of ecosystems services that can be applied to the built environment, an analysis of current and future real estate investment frameworks, and a description of the prototype tool.

Phase 2 will expand and pilot the tool in an interactive and open-source format while deepening ties to leading practitioners within the financial industry to leverage the shift from theory into action. Next steps include researching and assembling economic case studies of a select group of high-performing developments, including completed Living Building projects to identify cost data, economic models, environmental/cultural/social benefits realized and analyze costs/benefits.

With the real estate market on the verge of recreating itself, the time to align valuation models with energy policy and to integrate ecosystem services into the economic framework is now. This is a bold project, but we believe that the world needs more bold ideas, and an overhaul of what we value and how we value is at the heart of the paradigm shift we need to move towards a restorative future.

The multidisciplinary research team behind The Economics of Change comprises experts in the fields of ecosystem services, real estate finance, appraisal and sustainable design. The International Living Future Institute serves as the lead agency on this project. Jason Twill is the originator of The Economics of Change project and President of Systems Economics LLC. Stuart Cowan is a research team member and the co-founder of Autopoiesis LLC. For more information, contact Richard Graves, Executive Director of the International Living Future Institute at

2013 CSI Research Fellows Announced

Nine faculty Research Fellows have been selected for LAF’s 2013 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 applications received from over 20 researchers and 32 firms from across the U.S. The following LAF Research Fellows will lead the eight 2013 Case Study Investigation teams:

  • Maria Bellalta, Boston Architectural College
  • Aidan Acker, Boston Architectural College
  • M. Elen Deming, PhD, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Jinki Kim, PhD, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • G. Mathias Kondolf, PhD, University of California, Berkeley
  • Mary Pat Mattson, Illinois Institute of Technology
  • Taner R. Ozdil, PhD, University of Texas at Arlington
  • Roxi Thoren, University of Oregon
  • Bo Yang, PhD, Utah State University

Congratulations to this accomplished group! Stay tuned for an announcement of the projects and firms selected for participation.

Nearly 50 Firms join the 100 Firm Campaign!

In October of last year, the Landscape Architecture Foundation launched the 100 Firm Campaign – a campaign to increase the number of firms participating in the work of the Foundation through their financial support and thought leadership. The LAF Board of Directors invites landscape architecture firms to invest with a gift of $1,000 or more to join the 100 Firm Campaign and the LAF Leadership Circle.

By pooling resources and working together, LAF can provide critical market development services at a scale greater than what can be done by individual firms alone. This includes supporting the next generation of landscape architects, developing the market for sustainable landscape solutions, investing in research, and creating resources to advance the profession. Support from the community of landscape architects allows LAF to continue to grow and make an impact both in and outside of the profession.

“What a privilege it has been to support, financially, the contributions LAF has made to the profession over the last several years,” says Jay Graham, FASLA of Graham Landscape Architecture. He adds, “I encourage more small firms to support the knowledge building role of LAF within our profession by sustained annual giving.”

In the coming months, members of the 100 Firm Campaign will be invited to provide input and feedback on LAF’s innovative programs. This not only builds accountability, but will also help the organization grow and attain its vision for the future.

LAF is grateful for all of its supporters and their commitment to give back to the profession and make a difference. As of January 24, the following 48 firms have joined the 100 Firm Campaign:

AHBE Landscape Architects
Andrea Cochran Landscape Architecture
Burton Landscape Architecture Studio
Clark Condon Associates
Cornelia Hahn Oberlander
Design Workshop
Forum Studio
Graham Landscape Architecture
Gustafson Guthrie Nichol
Hamilton Anderson Associates
Hart Howerton
Hoerr Schaudt Landscape Architects
James Corner Field Operations
Jeffrey L. Bruce & Company
JJR | Roy Fund
Landscape Technologies
Landworks Studio
Mahan Rykiel Associates
Mia Lehrer + Associates
Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates
Michael Vergason Landscape Architects
Oehme van Sweden
The Office of Cheryl Barton
The Office of James Burnett
Pamela Burton & Company
Peridian International Inc.
PWP Landscape Architecture
Quinlan + Quinlan
Reed Hilderbrand Associates
Rhodeside & Harwell
robert chipman landscape architect, inc.
Sasaki Associates
SiteWorks Landscape Architecture
Surfacedesign, Inc.
SvR Design Company
The SWA Group
TBG Partners
Ten Eyck Landscape Architects
Wallace Roberts & Todd

For more information or to join the 100 Firm Campaign, please contact Matt Alcide at

We're Hiring a Program Manager

The Landscape Architecture Foundation currently has an opening for a multi-talented Program Manager to lead our signature Case Study Investigation (CSI) program and support the Landscape Performance Series. The full-time, 40 hour/week position in Washington, DC offers a first-hand opportunity to guide transformative research and promote the “next practices” in sustainable design.

See the full job announcement on our Opportunities page for all the details.