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New Landscape Performance Track at CELA

The Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture (CELA) has announced that it will offer a new “Landscape Performance” track at its annual conference, starting in 2014. The CELA conference focuses on recent research and scholarship in all aspects of landscape architecture.

cela-logo“The decision to offer this track underscores the explosion in interest and number of proposals that CELA has seen in recent years on this topic,” said CELA President Sean Michael, PhD.

“Landscape performance should be fundamental knowledge in landscape architecture, though it is not highly developed yet,” said CELA Vice President of Research Ming-Han Li, PhD, PE, PLA. “The new track will help ensure that the latest research and thinking on landscape performance is a regular part of the dialogue at the CELA conference.”

Landscape Performance joins ten track categories used to organize the conference sessions and papers: Design Education & Pedagogy, Communication & Visualization, Design Implementation, Urban Design, Landscape Planning & Ecology, Research & Methods, Service Learning & Community Engagement, Sustainability, People-Environment Relationships, and History, Theory & Culture. Members of the academic community and others submit abstracts to each track for peer review which, when accepted, are presented at the annual conference and published in the proceedings.

LAF will co-chair the new Landscape Performance track along with a representative from CELA. The move is the latest step in an ongoing partnership between the two organizations. In 2011, the CELA Vice President of Research began serving on the LAF Research Committee, and last year, CELA and LAF leadership began serving on in an ex officio capacity on the other organization’s Board of Directors.

For more than 90 years, CELA has been concerned with the content and quality of professional education in landscape architecture and with generating high quality research. 

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)



csi-v2158x129

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.

Landscape Performance Research: The Economics of Change

By Jason Twill, LEED AP and Stuart Cowan, PhD

The built environment and building industry together account for about 50% of U.S carbon emissions and contribute to a web of significant, interconnected problems: climate change, persistent toxins in the environment, dwindling supplies of potable water, flooding, ocean acidification, habitat loss and more. Over the past decade, great strides have been made in terms of energy efficiency, water and waste consumption, and sustainable materials, and a critical mass of innovative professionals has emerged.

Yet a major barrier to the broad adoption of advanced green building practices is our 20th century real estate financial system. Current lending approaches, appraisal protocols, and valuation models do not reflect the true externalized costs of doing “business as usual” nor do they fully capture the additional environmental and social benefits created by building green. These barriers affect the perceived financial viability of environmentally sound projects and slow innovation and market growth. To fully realize true sustainability, a shift in assessing and evaluating real estate investment is urgently needed.

The Economics of Change is a groundbreaking effort to do just that.

The overarching goal of The Economics of Change is to shift mainstream real estate practices to document the full value of a built environment that is compatible with healthy, natural systems. Correcting real estate incentives and improving financial models will shift investment toward buildings and infrastructures that are financially rewarding, resilient, socially just and economically restorative.

eoc-shiftA project's integrated value includes its traditional market value AND the environmental and social value it provides. This research seeks to shift the investment barrier to the right through recognition of integrated value, potentially unlocking a trillion dollars of investment towards restorative building.

In the first phase, The Economics of Change team created a prototype tool to demonstrate how the ecological and social benefits of green buildings can be monetized in real estate investment models. The Phase 1 report The Economics of Change: Catalyzing The Investment Shift for a Restorative Built Environment provides an overview of ecosystems services that can be applied to the built environment, an analysis of current and future real estate investment frameworks, and a description of the prototype tool.

Phase 2 will expand and pilot the tool in an interactive and open-source format while deepening ties to leading practitioners within the financial industry to leverage the shift from theory into action. Next steps include researching and assembling economic case studies of a select group of high-performing developments, including completed Living Building projects to identify cost data, economic models, environmental/cultural/social benefits realized and analyze costs/benefits.

With the real estate market on the verge of recreating itself, the time to align valuation models with energy policy and to integrate ecosystem services into the economic framework is now. This is a bold project, but we believe that the world needs more bold ideas, and an overhaul of what we value and how we value is at the heart of the paradigm shift we need to move towards a restorative future.

The multidisciplinary research team behind The Economics of Change comprises experts in the fields of ecosystem services, real estate finance, appraisal and sustainable design. The International Living Future Institute serves as the lead agency on this project. Jason Twill is the originator of The Economics of Change project and President of Systems Economics LLC. Stuart Cowan is a research team member and the co-founder of Autopoiesis LLC. For more information, contact Richard Graves, Executive Director of the International Living Future Institute at richard.graves@living-future.org.

LAF To Offer LPS Research Grants Up To $22,500

The Landscape Architecture Foundation is pleased to announce an exciting research opportunity to analyze the content of the Landscape Performance Series Case Study Briefs.

Since 2010, LAF has sponsored research that evaluates landscape performance to make the case for sustainability through design excellence.  To date, 70 Case Study Briefs hlps-grant-anncmntave been compiled as a free online searchable database of exemplary high-performance landscape projects with quantified benefits.

LAF is now accepting Expressions of Interest from teams or individuals who would assess the metrics and methods for quantifying the benefits employed in current case studies, and make recommendations to improve the techniques used in future cases. Grantees will produce two significant documents: a guide to the case studies and their associated benefits, and an evaluation of the metrics and methods for assessing landscape performance. Researchers will be invited to present their findings at the annual CELA conference.

Expressions of Interest are to provide team qualifications and examples of related work, and address project intent, objectives, scope, project significance, and research design methods. A project plan is to be proposed that includes a timeline and the expected outcomes. EOIs are not exceed 1,200 words. EOIs will be evaluated for relevant experience, and clarity of stated goals, outcomes and timeline of project milestones that allows adequate review of interim products by LAF. Origniality, technical merit, effectiveness, and project feasibility will also be considered.

For details, please reference the full announcement here. Submit EOIs by email to Linda Ashby at lashby@lafoundation.org by December 15, 2012. Up to six successful applicants will be invited by December 31 to submit detailed proposals (which will be due January 31, 2013).  Grantees will be announced in February 2013.