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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 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.

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

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.

New CSI Video Features Research Fellows


LAF Research Fellows are leading the way in helping students find funded research opportunities and providing critical professional development through LAF’s Case Study Investigation (CSI) program. The program’s benefits extend beyond research assistants, and also provide savvy marketing and advocacy tools for practitioners making the case for sustainability.  

In a new video, LAF Research Fellows discuss CSI, and highlight some of its merits for students, researchers, firms, and the landscape architecture discipline. Click here to view.

It’s not just an academic conversation, and it’s not just a practice conversation. This is the time, not to sit on the sidelines, but to get in.
 - Kristina Hill, PhD, Associate Professor, Univeristy of California Berkeley

We need to prove to the rest of the world that we can do those other functions well, and successfully, and over time, and just as reliably as a hard solution.
 - Alexander Robinson, Assistant Professor, University of Southern California

You are upraising a new generation of experts on understanding and measuring performance.
 - Jessica Canfield, Assistant Professor, Kansas State University

Academia can help make that bridge, to make research more readily available to the profession and to clients.
 - Nancy Rottle, Associate Professor, University of Washington

It’s a unique bridge between practice and education –  for students, and for the faculty, and for the firms.
 - Bo Yang, PhD, Assistant Professor, Utah State University