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International Conference on Landscape Architecture Education

cela-sign2LAF's Barbara Deutsch, Heather Whitlow, and student volunteer extraordinaire Shuyi Yan

Two LAF staff members spent an incredible four days at the CELA/CLAEC International Conference on Landscape Architecture Education May 26-29 in Beijing. With the theme of “Bridging,” this conference is the first time that annual meetings of the Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture (CELA) and the Education Committee of the Chinese Society of Landscape Architecture (CLAEC) have been held jointly.

During the opening ceremony, LAF CEO Barbara Deutsch presented the New Landscape Declaration and participated in a  panel discussion with the conference co-hosts:

  • Katya Crawford, President, Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture (CELA), Professor, University of New Mexico
  • Jie Hu, Vice President, Tsinghua Urban Planning and Design Institute
  • Xiong Li, Professor and Vice-president, Beijing Forestry University, Secretary General of Chinese Steering Committee of Master of Landscape Architecture Education, Secretary General of Education Committee of Chinese Society of Landscape Architecture
  • Rui Yang, Professor and Chair, Department of Landscape Architecture, School of Architecture, Tsinghua University, Chair of Chinese Steering Committee of Landscape Architecture Education
  • Kongjian Yu, Professor, Chair of Academic Committee of College of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, Peking University

The panel was co-moderated by Xiaodi Zheng, Secretary General of 2017 CELA/CLAEC and Associate Professor, Department of Landscape Architecture at Tsinghua University.

cela-panelPanelists discuss the New Landscape Declaration during the opening plenary.

LAF also hosted a pre-conference workshop on landscape performance and presented The New Landscape Declaration documentary during the conference Film Track. The Landscape Performance Track included 24 concurrent sessions, with several discussing research conducted through LAF’s Case Study Investigation (CSI) program or grant partnerships.

All-in-all, the conference was a great opportunity for knowledge-sharing, a marvelous cultural exchange, and a wonderful chance to reconnect with faculty and students from the U.S., China, and elsewhere. Many thanks to CELA, conference organizer Xiaodi Zheng, our Chinese university hosts, and the many student volunteers who took care of us, especially Shuyi Yan of Beijing Forestry University.

Environmental Metrics for Washington, D.C.'s 11th Street Bridge Park

11th-street-bridge

The 11th Street Bridge Park will be Washington, D.C.’s first elevated public park and a new venue for healthy recreation, environmental education, and the arts. As a result of a unique partnership with the Landscape Architecture Foundation (LAF), park managers now have a set of metrics and recommendations to track performance towards the park’s key objective of improving the surrounding environment.

Expected to open by late 2019, the park will be built on the piers of the old 11th Street Bridge spanning the Anacostia River.  The park is being designed by OMA+OLIN, the team that won a seven-month design competition. The park vision, design, and desired impacts have been informed by an extensive community outreach and consultation process.

Over the past year, LAF partnered with the 11th Street Bridge Park staff to document environmental performance goals and objectives, make recommendations to collect baseline information, and propose a set of metrics and methods that can be used to effectively evaluate the Bridge Park’s performance once it is built and operating. Many of these metrics can also be used to test scenarios and inform the design of the space.

The 11th Street Bridge Park Landscape Performance Analysis: Environmental Metrics report can be accessed here or in the Resources section at: http://www.bridgepark.org/news-resources

The report draws on LAF’s seven years of experience measuring and documenting the performance of exemplary landscape projects for its Landscape Performance Series. It represents an important, but often overlooked, first step in the performance evaluation process: thinking about and documenting how success will be defined and measured. This should be done from the earliest stages of a project and refined throughout the design process.

LAF hopes that this partnership with 11th Street Bridge Park can serve as a model for how landscape performance should be integrated into the design and development process. LAF will continue to pursue similar collaboration opportunities through grants and fee-for-service partnerships.

LAF plans to stay involved with the 11th Street Bridge Park project as it moves through the design process and hopes to partner to evaluate the performance of the site and produce a Case Study Brief once the park is built and operating.

Research and Practice: Your Input Needed

research-banner

Landscape architecture is a practice of continual inquiry with investigation at its core. But how and why do we undertake research? How do we assess its legitimacy? Where does basic research fit in? And how might we better transform knowledge into practice?

On Friday, October 21 at the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) Annual Meeting, LAF will participate in a panel to consider these questions. Eric Kramer of Reed Hilderbrand, Kate Orff of SCAPE Landscape Architecture, and Heather Whitlow of the Landscape Architecture Foundation will discuss these issues in an interactive panel session that aims to probe and envision the next frontiers of landscape architecture research.

To prepare for the session, we want to know how practitioners are using and engaging in research. If you are a landscape architecture practitioner, please take a few moments to complete this short 6-question survey:

https://PollEv.com/surveys/0xPIroHHH/web

asla2016-120wWe appreciate your input, and look forward to sharing and discussing the results during #ASLA2016 in New Orleans. Mark your calendar:

Research and Practice: What Does It Mean? Why Do We Do It?
Fri, Oct 21, 10:30am-12:00pm
Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, Room 271

Dilemma, Debate and LAF in Salt Lake City

The Landscape Architecture Foundation (LAF) and its research initiatives will be well-represented at the upcoming Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture (CELA) Conference March 23-26 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Organized by Utah State University, the conference will also involve a day trip to the main campus in Logan, Utah.

cela-2016

LAF staff will present during two Concurrent Sessions, report to the CELA Board and Administrators during their respective meetings, and host a meet-and-greet for the 2016 CSI Research Fellows and past Landscape Performance Education Grant and Case Study Investigation (CSI) participants. The conference also features a number of presentations from LAF program participants, who will speak about their methods, findings, and further research.

In total, research from and about LAF’s various Landscape Performance Series initiatives will be part of seven sessions:

Concurrent Session 1, Thurs, 3/24, 8:00-9:20 am
Presentations:     Landscape Performance: A Bold Idea in a Change-Averse Town
                                Matthew James and Erika Roeber, South Dakota State University

                                Integrating Life-Cycle Costs with Landscape Performance
                                Yi Luo, Texas Tech University

                                Case Study Meta-Analysis: A Step Toward Informing Design
                                Mary Myers, Temple University
                                Bo Yang, Utah State University

Concurrent Session 2 - Thurs, 3/24, 9:30-10:50 am
The Role of Landscape Performance in Standardized Landscape Architecture Curricula
Panel with:            Andrew Fox, North Carolina State University
                                Kenneth Brooks, Arizona State University
                                Stephanie Rolley, Kansas State University
                                Emily McCoy, Andropogon and North Carolina State University
                                Arianna Koudounas, Landscape Architecture Foundation

Concurrent Session 2 - Thurs, 3/24, 9:30-10:50 am
Wadi Hanifah: Landscape Infrastructure for the 21st Century
Presentation by: Jean Trottier, University of Manitoba

Concurrent Session 5- Sat, 3/26, 8:00-9:20 am
Understanding Courtyards at U.S. Coast Guard Headquarters: Methods to Quantify Use and Density
Presentation by: Chris Ellis, University of Maryland

Concurrent Session 6- Sat, 3/26, 9:30-10:50 am
Looking Beyond Case Studies in Social Performance Research: Replicable Surveys and Generalizable Outcomes
Panel with:            Mary Myers, Temple University
                                Taner Ozdil, University of Texas at Arlington
                                M. Elen Deming, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
                                Heather Whitlow, Landscape Architecture Foundation

Concurrent Session 8, Sat, 3/26, 2:00-3:20 pm
U.S. Coast Guard Headquarters Heat Island Performance
Presentation by:   C. Dylan Reilly, University of Maryland

Concurrent Session 9, Sat, 3/26, 3:30-4:50 pm
Presentations:     Measuring the Social Performance of Food Production Landscapes
                                Ellen Burke, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo

                                Evaluating Performance of Campus-based Agriculture: Is Bigger Better?
                                D. Scott Douglas, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

U.S. Coast Guard Headquarters Study Complete

From October 2014 through September 2015, the Landscape Architecture Foundation (LAF) partnered with the General Services Administration (GSA) to evaluate the performance of the U.S. Coast Guard Headquarters site on the St. Elizabeth’s West campus in southeast Washington, DC, the largest federal redevelopment project since the Pentagon. This acclaimed project earned LEED Gold certification and features an extensive stormwater management system.

GSA is charged with providing workplaces for the federal government by constructing, managing, and preserving government buildings and by leasing and managing commercial real estate. Because GSA has committed to incorporate sustainability principles — including sustainable site design and management — in all of its real estate transactions, the agency was interested in studying the U.S. Coast Guard Headquarters site to test assumptions, assess materials, and understand the built condition.

uscghq-frontThe U.S. Coast Guard Headquarters (Hoachlander Davis Photography, LLC)

The collaboration followed the model of LAF’s award-winning Case Study Investigation (CSI) program, with an academic team (Professor Christopher D. Ellis, PhD and student research assistant C. Dylan Reilly of the University of Maryland) leading the research and members of the design team (Emily McCoy of Andropogon and Brandon Hartz of HOK) lending their insights. Because of the longer timeframe, the partnership provided the opportunity for a more expansive study than what is possible through the 6-month CSI program.

uscghq-transportationResearcher Chris Ellis counts commuters by mode of transportation.

The year-long partnership allowed the 31-acre site to be studied through all four seasons in order to achieve a more balanced and nuanced picture of its performance. The research looked at a variety of ecosystem services provided by the site’s most notable features: 985 new trees, over 400,000 sf of green roofs, and a 2.4-acre stormwater pond. It also assessed workers’ use of and satisfaction with the outdoor open spaces, and use of alternate modes of transportation.

The researchers used temperature loggers to record and compare surface temperatures on areas of conventional black rubber roof, sedum green roof, and green roof planted with tall grass. They also compared native plant species and average site surface temperatures to those at a traditional office landscape. For the two courtyards, they used time-lapse photography to quantify the number of people using the space and determine the most common uses. They also observed commuter traffic to document the modes used and conducted a survey of employees to determine their satisfaction with the outdoor spaces.

The products of this collaboration are a Landscape Performance Series Case Study Brief and an internal report for GSA that discusses performance, provides recommendations for site management and maintenance, and suggests areas for further research.

LAF was proud to be part of this important study and will continue to pursue opportunities for longer-term research partnerships to evaluate the performance of exemplary built landscapes.