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Case Study Investigation (CSI) Wraps Up

csi-v2158x129LAF’s Case Study Investigation (CSI) Initiative offically ended on Aug 12 with presentations from the 10 faculty-student research teams. The program generated 25 new Landscape Performance Series Case Study Briefs, dozens of detailed, replicable methods to quantify landscape benefits, and new insights on exisiting research, tools and calculators.

Publication of the new Case Study Briefs will coincide with the 1-year anniversary of the Landscape Performance Series. Starting Sept 10, LAF will publish one case study each weekday, culminating at the LAF Annual Benefit where the 10 Research
Fellows will be recognized. Stay tuned for the official roll-out schedule.

The Summer 2011 CSI program was a pilot for a new collaborative model to document the document the benefits of exemplary high-performing landscape projects and develop methods to quantify benefits. Here are some of the reactions from CSI participants:

csi-millenniumpark “This is such a powerful model — LAF Research Fellow, Research Assistant, and Firm participant(s).”

“CSI engages more people in actively thinking about how to determine, study, report on, and promote landscape performance, rather than just passively agreeing it is a good thing.”

 “The greatest strength of CSI is its potential to bridge the gap between academia and the professional world. Educating about landscape performance is a critical component of good landscape architecture curriculum, because that is csi-southparkultimately what we want to achieve as designers.”

 “I think the CSI program will just keep getting better and better, and more influential, and that means very exciting things for the field of landscape architecture.”

This fall, LAF will pilot another variation of CSI with faculty and students at the University of Washington: The goals and approach are being incorporated into an upper-level MLA graduate seminar course, linked to a landscape performance studio.

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.

Case Study Investigation (CSI) Underway

LAF’s new Case Study Investigation (CSI) initiative kicked off this week with orientation webinars for participants. This unique program, which runs from June 1 to August 15, matches LAF-funded faculty and student research teams with design firms to document the benefits of exemplary high-performing landscape projects.

A stand-out cast of Research Fellows will lead the ten teams, using their expertise to guide the production of Landscape Performance Series Case Study Briefs and develop methods to quantify environmental, economic and social benefits. LAF-funded student research assistants work with the faculty and firms to gather data, information, and images to produce the case studies.

csi-v2158x129Participating design firms include AECOM, Andropogon, Conservation Design Forum, Design Workshop, Hoerr Schaudt, HOK, JJR, Mia Lehrer + Associates, Millennium Park, Inc., SWA, and WRT. These firms provide the case study narrative for their projects and identify known or likely performance benefits. They also give the research teams access to key project personnel, clients, stakeholders, and information.

Projects to be documented include Chicago’s Millennium Park, the Kresge Foundation Headquarters, South Park Streetscape in Los Angeles, Philadelphia’s Thomas Jefferson University, and the Seattle Children’s PlayGarden.

The CSI program is highly collaborative with the goal of better integrating the innovative work being done by academia and practice to advance our knowledge of landscape performance. By investing in this research, LAF hopes that CSI can be a key impetus in moving the landscape architecture profession toward routinely collecting performance data, designing every project with specific performance objectives, and integrating landscape performance in design education.

Ten Research Fellows to Lead LAF Case Study Investigation (CSI) Initiative

Participants have been selected for LAF’s new Case Study Investigation (CSI) initiative. This unique research collaboration matches LAF-funded faculty and student research teams with design firms to document the benefits of exemplary high-performing landscape projects. Teams will develop methods to quantify environmental, economic and social benefits and produce Landscape Performance Series Case Study Briefs.

LAF Research Fellows lead the case study preparation, develop methods for data collection, and receive funding to support a student research assistant. These select faculty members provide expertise in quantifying landscape benefits, and the academic rigor that is needed to support designers, policy-makers, and advocates who are making the case for sustainable landscape solutions.

The following ten LAF Research Fellows will lead the Summer 2011 Case Study Investigation program:

  • csi-graphic-v2Jessica Canfield, Kansas State University
  • Dennis Jerke, Texas A&M University
  • Mary Myers, PhD, Temple University
  • Bo Yang, PhD, Utah State University
  • Chris Ellis, PhD, University of Michigan
  • Byoung-Suk Kweon, PhD, University of Michigan
  • Kristina Hill, PhD, University of Virginia
  • Nancy Rottle, University of Washington
  • Ken Yocom, PhD, University of Washington
  • Alexander Robinson, University of Southern California

The number of proposals and highly-competitive selection process shows the strong level of support and enthusiasm for the CSI program. Depending on the results of the summer pilot program and available funding, we hope to offer another round of CSI in the fall to engage and support faculty, students and firms in landscape performance research.

LAF Case Study Investigation (CSI): Design Firms Needed

This summer LAF kicks off Case Study Investigation (CSI), a unique research collaboration among select practitioners, LAF Research Fellows, and student research assistants to produce new Landscape Performance Series Case Study Briefs.

csi-graphic-v2To support firms in documenting high-performing landscape projects, LAF is awarding Research Fellowships to leading faculty and will match firms with student-faculty teams. During the Summer 2011 under the guidance of an LAF Research Fellow, research assistants will work with firm project leaders to produce Case Study Briefs by quantifying economic, social and environmental benefits, collecting post-occupancy data, and compiling methodologies.

Design Firms are needed for participation.

If you have 3-5 exemplary built projects with quantified or quantifiable landscape benefits and can commit to work with an LAF student research assistant, please return the Proposal Form by April 18 to lashby@lafoundation.org to be considered for the program.

Upon selection, we will pair your firm with a faculty-student team and work with you to set objectives and a schedule for the initiative. The faculty-student team may identify topical performance benefits or project conditions for additional, published research.

Your documented work is critically needed by designers, policy-makers, advocates, and other professionals both inside and outside the profession who are working toward sustainability and affecting change. Inclusion in the Landscape Performance Series shows your thought leadership to a world-wide audience, as the LPS becomes the go-to place for resources to quantify benefits and make the case for sustainable landscape solutions.