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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.

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.

Three New Opportunities for Faculty

LAF is delighted to offer three opportunities to support academic research related to landscape performance. Accepted works will be included in the Landscape Performance Series. For more information, contact Linda Ashby at lashby@lafoundation.org


LAF Fellowship Program for Faculty

Proposals due April 18

LAF is offering a new and exclusive fellowship opportunity for select faculty with achievements related to landscape performance. LAF Research Fellows receive funding to support a graduate assistant and work with leading firms to produce case studies of exemplary high-performing landscapes. Fellows will lead this unique collaboration, providing guidance to collect post-occupancy information and quantify environmental, economic and social benefits.

For more information and to apply, download a Fellowship Announcement & Proposal Form. To be considered, completed proposals must be submitted to lashby@lafoundation.org by April 18.


Call for Case Studies

Letter of Intent due April 15; Case Study due June 1

The LPS Case Study Briefs showcase exemplary built projects with quantified environmental, economic, and social benefits. LAF offers an opportunity for faculty and researchers to contribute to this online database while earning authorship through a double-blind peer-review process. To do this, authors submit a case study following LAF’s online guidance along with two additional requirements:
      -  Literature Review / Best Practices Review
      -  Document on Applicability to the Profession

To participate, submit a Letter of Intent to lps@lafoundation.org by April 15. The one-page letter should contain an abstract of the proposed case study with information about the project, objectives, approach, key performance benefits and outcome.

Important Dates
April 15, 2011        Letter of Intent Due
June 1, 2011         Case Study Submissions Due
August 1, 2011      Review Committee Comments and Requests for Revisions Sent
October 1, 2011    Revised Submissions Due


Call for Scholarly Works

Due June 15

LAF is expanding the LPS Scholarly Works to include faculty research papers, journal articles, and conference proceedings related to landscape performance. Topics include research on the benefits of landscape, post occupancy evaluations, and applications of existing research to determine benefits for existing or proposed projects or policies.

Reseachers may submit any of the following to lps@lafoundation.org by June 15 to be considered for inclusion in the LPS:
      -  Abstract of your published paper with link to access full text through the publisher’s database
      -  Conference proceedings of which you hold the copyright
      -  Peer-reviewed paper of which you hold the copyright

All submissions must be relevant to landscape performance and will be reviewed to ensure they meet LAF standards.

Important Dates
June 15, 2011         Scholarly Works Submissions Due
August 15, 2011      Notification of Acceptance