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CELA Conference Session Wrap-Up

Last week at the annual Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture (CELA) Conference in Austin, Texas, LAF presented new insights on landscape performance gleaned from the Landscape Performance Series (LPS) and the Case Studies Investigation (CSI) program.

cela2013Executive Director Barbara Deutsch and Programs Manager Linda Ashby participated in four sessions, presenting alongside past CSI Research Fellows, student Research Assistants, and other colleagues. LAF’s sessions at CELA included panels on evaluating landscape performance for environmental, social, and economic benefits, as well as a panel on applying science to design for and evaluate performance. These sessions offered participants an introduction to both the LPS and CSI research programs, and a critical look at the research methods employed.

The first session introduced CSI and the concept of quantifying performance benefits. The session offered the opportunity for audience members to discuss the program’s approach, as well as participants’ strategies for quantifying specific social, environmental and economic benefits. Participants introduced their own experiences: for example, Jessica Canfield (Kansas State University) presented her CSI research evaluating the Frontier Project, a demonstration project in California which seeks to encourage visitors to incorporate energy efficient and water-wise practices in their homes. Canfield’s team studied the site’s rainwater infiltration, irrigation water needs and projected carbon emissions and analyzed attendance records and surveys with on-site employees. Canfield and others, including Mark Storie (University of Maryland), also discussed their strategies for obtaining data and the varying levels of data availability at different types of sites.

Many of landscape performance sessions focused on research methods. At the panel on environmental performance, Barry Lehrman (Cal Poly Pomona) described his experience “measuring the (not so) unmeasurable,” introducing the tools used by his CSI research team, including affordable temperature gauges and water quality meters. In response to presentations by Lehrman and his fellow panelists, moderator Kristina Hill, PhD (UC Berkeley) described the recent context for measuring landscape performance, noting that until recently many metrics were discipline-specific, leading to “very little synthesis.” She challenged those attending the session to “be critical in our reflection on these metrics” so researchers could continue to advance their strategies and obtain a holistic understanding of the benefits of landscape design.

cela-panel1Participants in CELA sessions also discussed means of communicating the concept of landscape performance benefits to policy makers, other design professionals, and the general public. Presenting in a panel on economic benefits, Dennis Jerke (Texas A&M) noted that “we have to be good communicators… and explain what the metrics mean and how the value has been generated.” Similarly, Mary Myers, PhD (Temple University) noted that comparing a project’s performance to its initial goals can be a helpful strategy for engaging clients and others in the discussion. To Myers, “the metrics should measure the extent to which goals were met” whether in terms of stormwater mitigation, improved biodiversity, economic development or public access.

LAF looks forward to continuing the dialogue started at CELA Conference and bringing the new insights to the 2013 CSI program and its participants.

LAF Awards $22,500 to Analyze LPS Case Study Briefs

LAF has awarded $22,500 in cooperative agreements to researchers at Utah State University, Temple University, and Kansas State University to analyze the collection of 50+ Case Study Briefs in the Landscape Performance Series (LPS). The researchers will conduct both a content analysis and a quality assessment to: (1) identify gaps in the benefits and methods that are being addressed, (2) identify metrics that could be used to fill those gaps, and (3) make recommendations to improve the validity and reliability of the methods used to enhance the rigor of future LPS case studies.

lps-grant-anncmnt-350The content analysis will be led by Principal Investigators Bo Yang, PhD, Utah State University and Mary E. Myers, PhD, Temple University, who will review the Case Study Briefs, create a database of case study information, identify missing or under-investigated benefits, and conduct a literature review of empirical studies to uncover available methods/metrics/tools that could be used to quantify the missing benefits. Products include a database and illustrative guide to the LPS Case Study Briefs and their associated benefits.

The quality assessment will be led by Principal Investigators Bo Yang, PhD, Utah State University, Jessica Canfield, Kansas State University, and Tim Keane, PhD, Kansas State University, who will evaluate the methods used to quantify performance benefits in the Case Study Briefs. The researchers will evaluate the methods for their technical merit, applicability in a professional context, and overall strengths and weaknesses. The team will also solicit practitioners’ input to better understand what types of data firms are capable of capturing, from what sources, and through what processes. Based on this information, the researchers will make recommendations to improve the rigor of the quantification of benefits and develop guidance on appropriate methods for future landscape performance assessments.

The research conducted as part of these cooperative agreements is expected to take about a year. The results will be published on the LAF website, presented at professional and academic conferences, and disseminated through other peer-reviewed venues.

LAF Staff Changes

kathlinda2Program powwow: Katharine and Linda

Linda Ashby, ASLA will be leaving LAF at the end of the month, after 2.5 years with the organization. She began working on the Landscape Performance Series and various communication efforts, before taking on her primary role as manager of LAF’s Case Study Investigation (CSI) initiative. Linda was instrumental in the development of CSI and in taking it from concept to pilot to the signature program that it is today.  We are delighted that she will continue to stay involved as a member of the LAF Research Committee. We wish her all the best as she and her family relocate to the Seattle area and she looks for her next opportunity.

While we will miss Linda’s energy, we are pleased to announce that Katharine Burgess, AICP is already on board to manage the CSI program, bringing expertise in urban planning, research, and writing and an international perspective on landscape performance. Katharine joins LAF after seven years in private practice, where she managed projects ranging from university campus plans to large-scale, mixed-use developments to recovery planning charrettes on the post-Katrina Gulf Coast. Welcome Katharine!

LAF and Landscape Performance at CELA

LAF, CSI, and landscape performance will be well-represented at the upcoming Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture (CELA) Conference March 27-30 at the University of Texas at Austin.

cela2013LAF will participate in four panel sessions on various aspects of evaluating landscape performance. There are also a number of presentations from past LAF Research Fellows and student Research Assistants on their Case Study Investigation (CSI) program research and projects. In addition to these Concurrent Sessions, LAF will host a morning meet-and-greet for the 2013 CSI Research Fellows and give updates at the CELA Board Meeting and Administrators Meeting .


Research & Methods Track

Session 1- Wed 3:20-4:30pm (Room: AT&T 203)
Presentations Based on 2012 Case Study Investigation (CSI) Research

Presentations:   Do Social, Economic and Environmental Benefits Always Complement Each
                              Other? A Study of Landscape Performance
                              Yi Luo, Ming-Han Li, PhD Texas A&M University

                              On the Research Front: 2012 CSI and the Case of Streetscape
                              Bo Yang, PhD, Yue Zhang, Pamela Blackmore, Utah State University

                              Quantifiable Landscape Performance Benefits: The Case of Brent Elementary
                              Mark Storie, Byoung-Suk Kweon, PhD, Chris Ellis, PhD, University of Maryland

                              Strategies for Developing Landscape Performance Case Studies
                              Jessica Canfield, Kansas State University, Bo Yang, PhD Utah State University


Session 2 - Thurs, 8:30-9:40am (Room: AT&T 107)
Evaluating Landscape Performance: Economic Benefits

Panel with:          Barbara Deutsch, FASLA, Landscape Architecture Foundation
                              Bo Yang, PhD, Utah State University
                              Yue Zhang, Utah State University
                              Dennis Jerke, Texas A&M University


Session 4 - Thurs, 1:30-2:40pm (Room: AT&T 108)
Evaluating Landscape Performance: Environmental Benefits

Panel with:          Kristina Hill, PhD, University of California - Berkeley
                              Mary Myers, PhD, Temple University
                              Barry Lehrman, Cal Poly Pomona
                              Ming-Han Li, PhD, Texas A&M University


Session 5 - Thurs, 3:10-4:30pm (Room: AT&T 107)
Applying Science to Design for and Evaluate Performance

Panel with:          Barbara Deutsch, FASLA, Landscape Architecture Foundation
                              Mark Simmons, PhD, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
                              Danielle Pieranunzi, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
                              Deb Mitchell, FASLA, SmithGroupJJR


Session 6 - Fri, 9:00-10:10am (Room: AT&T 203)
Evaluating Landscape Performance: Social Benefits

Panel with:          Linda Ashby, Landscape Architecture Foundation
                              Victoria Chanse, PhD, University of Maryland
                              Bo Yang, PhD, Utah State University
                              Byoung-Suk Kweon, PhD, University of Maryland


Session 7 - Fri, 10:40-11:50am
Two sessions include presentations on 2012 CSI projects:

                             Perception of a Functional Wetland Landscape in a Senior Living Community
                             Mary Myers, PhD and Allison Arnold, Temple University (Room: AT&T 107)

                             Cross Creek Ranch Master Planned Community: Landscape Performance
                             Ming-Han Li, PhD, Bruce Dvorak, and Yi Luo, Texas A&M University and Matt
                             Baumgarten, SWA Group (Room: AT&T 202)


2013 CSI Research Fellows Meeting

Friday, 8:00-8:50am (Room: AT&T 104)
CSI Meet & Greet
Faculty members selected as 2013 LAF Research Fellows and any past CSI program participants are invited to this casual gathering to meet LAF staff, network with colleagues, and exchange information as the 2013 CSI program gets underway.

We Moved!

In line with the organization’s growth, LAF has moved to a new office in downtown Washington, DC, just a few blocks from our old one. We’re proud to be in the LEED Gold-certified Liberty Building and hope that you’ll stop by if you’re ever in the neighborhood!

staff-newofficePlease update your records with the new address:

Landscape Architecture Foundation
1129 20th Street NW, Suite 202
Washington, DC 20036

Phone (202.331.7070) and fax numbers (202.331.7079) are the same, though extensions have changed for Programs & Communications (Heather - x16) and Scholarships (Leslie - x14).

To download new vCards for the LAF staff, click on the links below. 

Barbara  |   Heather  |   Matt   |   Emily  |   Katharine