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LAF Research Initiatives Win Two 2015 ASLA Professional Awards


Two of the Landscape Architecture Foundation’s signature programs have been honored with American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) 2015 Professional Awards, which recognize top public, commercial, residential, institutional, planning, communications, and research projects from across the U.S. and around the world. This year, ASLA received 459 entries for these prestigious awards.

The Landscape Performance Series received the 2015 Award of Excellence in Communications, the highest honor in this category. The Landscape Performance Series was developed to build capacity to achieve sustainability and transform the way landscape is valued in the design and development process. Redesigned and launched in 2014 as, this unparalleled platform showcases the measurable environmental, social, and economic benefits of landscape and has become a go-to place to find design precedents, show value, and make the case for sustainable landscape solutions.

                                   “It’s a living document essential to our profession.”
                                                              — 2015 Awards Jury

LAF’s Case Study Investigation (CSI) program received a 2015 Honor Award in Research, co-presented by ASLA and the Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture. CSI is a unique research collaboration that matches faculty-student research teams with leading design practitioners to measure and document the performance of their built projects as Landscape Performance Series Case Study Briefs. To date, 30 faculty, 35 students, and 57 design firms have participated, resulting in the publication of over 100 case studies.

                       “The more we say that measuring performance over the long haul
                                    is part of what we do, the more it’s going to happen.”
                                                              — 2015 Awards Jury

“We are thrilled to see our research programs achieve this level of recognition in the profession.” said LAF Executive Director Barbara Deutsch, FASLA. “Our work to promote landscape performance is changing the way landscape architects practice and the way others understand and appreciate the value of landscape solutions.”

The awards will be presented at the ASLA Annual Meeting and EXPO in Chicago on Monday, November 9 at McCormick Place. The complete list of award winners — along with project information, images, and criteria — can be viewed at:

LAF Events at the ASLA Annual Meeting

If you’ll be in Denver for the 2014 ASLA Annual Meeting & EXPO, we hope you’ll join us for one or more of the following events to raise awareness and support LAF programs. We’ll celebrate over $1 million awarded to students since 1986, honor our 2014 Olmsted Scholars, and launch the all-new, the next-generation of our award-winning Landscape Performance Series.

newheightsNew Heights, LAF’s 29th Annual Benefit
Fri, Nov 21, 7:00-10:30pm
The Studio Loft

Join top designers and leaders from practice, academia, and industry for a lively evening in the heart of Denver’s Theatre District. Enjoy cocktails, fine food, and amazing company, all while raising money to support LAF’s research and scholarship programs.

LAF Booth in ASLA Expo Hall (#1556)
Sat-Sun, Nov 22-23, 9:00am-5:00pm
Colorado Convention Center
Visit our booth to learn more about LAF, register for the Sustainable Destination Sweepstakes, and see the brand-new

Sustainable Destination Sweepstakes
Sun, Nov 23, 4:30pm
Colorado Convention Center
Join us at our booth in the ASLA Expo Hall as we draw the winner of our one-of-a-kind trip for two to Mackerel Beach, Sydney, Australia. You can make a donation to register to win right up until the drawing. Entrants need not be present to win. All sweepstakes proceeds support LAF’s research and scholarship programs.

Stormwater BMP Performance:
What Every Landscape Architect Should Know
Sat, Nov 22, 2:30-4pm
Colorado Convention Center
Don’t miss this Education Session moderated by LAF’s Heather Whitlow and featuring Bill Wenk of Wenk Associates, Jonathan Jones of Wright Water Engineers, and Jason Berner of the US EPA. This session will describe current initiatives to document performance, protocols for measuring performance, ways to design more effective systems, and the challenges the profession could face when levels of performance aren’t realized.

LPS Collection: Living Architecture

Curated by: Steven W. Peck


Steven W. Peck, GRP, Honorary ASLA, is the founder and president of Green Roofs for Healthy Cities, the North American green roof and wall industry association. Mr. Peck is also the Co-Founder of the World Green Infrastructure Network and publisher of The Living Architecture Monitor quarterly magazine. Since 1996, he has worked to advance the green roof and wall industry by facilitating research and demonstration projects, organizing conferences and workshops, building institutional capacity, lecturing, publishing, and advocating for supportive policies and standards at all levels of government.


Case Study Briefs

advocatelutheranAdvocate Lutheran General Hospital Patient Tower
Park Ridge, Illinois

“Views of the hospital’s intensive green roof helped reduced stress and make the hospital stay easier for half of cancer patients surveyed. This demonstrates how green roofs and other living infrastructure can help in the healing and coping process.”

underwoodUnderwood Family Sonoran Landscape Laboratory
Tucson, Arizona

“The southern exposure features a green façade of native vines, which shade and cool the building. This type of green wall offers a fairly low-cost way to beautify, screen, and add function to what would otherwise be disregarded space.”


garycomerGary Comer Youth Center
Chicago, Illinois

“This intensive green roof is a working garden that produces over 1000 lbs of organic food annually and functions as an outdoor classroom. The design showcases how green roofs can be integrated with other sustainable systems like light wells and passive climate control.”

klydewarrenKlyde Warren Park
Dallas, Texas

“Green roof systems can be used on a wide range of scales, from a residential roof to a multi-block, at-grade structure over parking or transportation infrastructure. This 5-acre green roof acts as a bridge, tunnel, and park all in one, transforming this part of Dallas.”

Fast Fact Library

The combination of green roofs and green walls can lower ambient temperatures in typical “urban canyon”-like streets, achieving up to a 12.8˚C (23˚F) ambient temperature difference in an arid climate, and 8.4˚C (15.1˚F) in a humid climate. This combination had the greatest effect compared to no vegetation, green roofs only, and green walls (walls covered in vegetation, such as climbing vines) only. Green roofs alone had the second greatest ambient temperature effect, likely due to roofs’ higher exposure to sunlight.

“This study illustrates how various forms of living architecture can be used together to increase impact.”

A green roof test plot at the University of Georgia retained 88% of precipitation for small storms (<2.54 cm), 48% for larger storms (>7.62 cm), and delayed the peak flow by an average of 18 minutes for 31 rain events between Nov 2003 and Nov 2004.

“This is one of many test plots and actual green roof studies that show how green roofs can significantly reduce the volume of stormwater runoff and delay peak flows.”

Benefits Toolkit

Green Roof Energy Calculator (v 2.0)
Green Roofs for Healthy Cities, Portland State University, University of Toronto

“Green Roofs for Healthy Cities (GRHC) collaborated with researchers at Portland State University and the University of Toronto to develop this free, easy-to-use tool. For GRHC members, we also developed the GreenSave Calculator, which allows users to compare the life cycle costs and benefits of up to three roofing designs.”

Coming This Fall: 20 New Case Study Briefs

This fall, LAF is rolling out 20 new case studies that showcase the environmental, economic, and social benefits of high-performing landscapes. The case studies are part of LAF’s award-winning Landscape Performance Series, an online, interactive set of resources to help you quantify benefits, show value, and make the case for sustainable landscape solutions. By year-end, the searchable database will contain over 100 Case Study Briefs.

2014casestudies-175wFrom the Atlanta Beltline to exemplar public high schools to the Visitors Center at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello, the new case studies represent a range of locations, scales, and project types. Documented landscape performance benefits include:

  • Influenced the housing choice of 76% of 51 survey respondents who live within one mile of the park. (Renaissance Park, Chattanooga, TN)
  • Reduces hardscape surface temperatures by 30-45°F and maintains playground surface temperatures under 82°F. (George “Doc” Cavalliere Park, Scottsdale, AZ)
  • Promotes physical activity with 70% of survey respondents saying they exercise more since the opening of the Eastside Trail. (Atlanta BeltLine Eastside Trail, Atlanta, GA)
  • Provides educational opportunities for an estimated 50,000 visitors per year. 68% of 71 survey respondents achieved the learning objectives, answering 7 out of 9 questions correctly. (Brian C. Nevin Welcome Center, Cornell Plantation, Ithaca, NY)
  • Contributed to an 85% increase in the values of properties that were located within a half-block of the streetscape. (1100 Block of Lincoln Road Mall, Miami Beach, FL)

These exemplary projects were documented through LAF’s 2014 Case Study Investigation (CSI) program, a unique research collaboration that matched 7 LAF-funded faculty/student research teams with practitioners from 15 participating design firms. The teams worked together to develop methods to quantify performance benefits and produce the Case Study Briefs. The next CSI program will run March – August 2015 with applications available starting in October.

Visit the LPS Case Study Briefs page to see the latest or follow us on Facebook , LinkedIn , or Twitter to get updates as each new case study is released.

Coming Soon: LPS Collections

collectiondetailTo bring the concept of landscape performance to new strategic audiences, promote next-generation infrastructure, and enhance the experience for the 60,000+ unique users, LAF is developing a new website to house its Landscape Performance Series (LPS) and related resources.

The new website will feature “Collections”, themed groups of LPS content curated by LAF and leading thinkers, as a new way to organize and share content. When the site goes live in November, the Collections will be fully searchable and follow the design at right. But in the meantime, we’ve put some together right here in our blog to give you a preview of this exciting new content.

So…. <drumroll>, here are our first Collections. We’ll update this list as we put together more over the coming months.

  • The Case for Street Trees
    Need to advocate for more street trees, better design tree space design, or preservation of existing trees? Here are some useful precedents and research.
  • Small But Mighty
    It doesn’t necessarily take a lot of space to have a big impact. Here we showcase some of the smallest projects in the LPS along with Fast Facts on the benefits of even modest amounts of green.

If you have ideas for themes you’d like to see addressed in the Collections, please send them to And be sure to mark your calendars for when the new Landscape Performance Series is slated to launch in November!