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"Readers' Choice" for 2012

The start of a new year would be incomplete without some reflection on the last. In 2012, LAF continued to grow its reach and expand the dialogue on sustainable landscape solutions, as evidenced right here on the LAF website. Below is a summary of that growth, complete with links to some of the compelling content you may have missed — a “Readers’ Choice” list, of sorts.

Compared to 2011, LAF’s overall website traffic has grown by 50%. International interest is up, with the proportion of international visits (those outside the U.S. and Canada) up from 18% in 2011 to 29% in 2012.

Traffic to the Landscape Performance Series increased substantially, with pageviews more than doubling and the number of unique visitors nearly tripling. The LPS Case Study Briefs continue to be the highlight of the series, and the five most-visited reflect the growing interest in global practice and international projects:

  1. Cheonggyecheon Stream Restoration Project in Seoul, Korea
  2. Uptown Normal Circle and Streetscape in Normal, Illinois
  3. Shanghai Houtan Park in Houtan, China
  4. Tianjin Qiaoyuan Park: The Adaptation Palettes in Tianjin, China
  5. Thomas Jefferson University Lubert Plaza in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Use of both the LPS Benefits Toolkit and Fast Fact Library is up, with the most popular searches being for tools related to stormwater management and Fast Facts on recreational and social value.

Our most-viewed blog articles were the guest posts from the 2011 and 2012 Olmsted Scholars. Here are the top five:

  1. The Los Angeles Riverscape: An Urban Estuary by Tina Chee, 2012 National Olmsted Scholar Finalist
  2. Transgressing the Grid by Alison Hirsch, 2011 National Olmsted Scholar Finalist
  3. A Landscape Architect in Coal Country by Marin Braco, 2012 National Olmsted Scholar Finalist
  4. Landscape Architects and the Microbrewery Renaissance by Lee Streitz, 2012 Olmsted Scholar
  5. An Urban Farm in Downtown Orlando by Chris Merritt, 2011 Olmsted Scholar

Other popular blog content were the announcement of the 2012 Sustainable Destination Sweepstakes winner , the 2011 winner’s trip report from Crosswaters Ecolodge & Spa in Guangdong Province, China, and reflections from the 2012 Case Study Investigation (CSI) teams.

Happy reading, and remember to vote with your clicks to see what will be the most popular content in 2013!

LAF Events at the ASLA Annual Meeting

If you’ll be in Phoenix for the ASLA Annual Meeting & EXPO, we hope you’ll join us for one or more of the following events to support and raise awareness about LAF programs. We’ll celebrate the fifth year of our acclaimed Olmsted Scholars Program, showcase the new resources in the Landscape Performance Series , and promote the 2013 Case Study Investigation (CSI) progam.

lafatasla1Sonoran Celebration, LAF’s 27th Annual Benefit
Fri, Sept 28, 7:00-10:30pm
Join top designers and leaders from practice, academia, and industry for a vibrant and memorable evening at the Phoenix Art Museum. Enjoy cocktails, fine food, and live music all while raising money for LAF’s research and scholarship programs. We’ll celebrate the fifth year of LAF’s Olmsted Scholars Program by recognizing the 2012 scholars and $25,000 winner, catching up with past Scholars, and making a special announcement about the program’s future.

lafatasla2LAF Booth in ASLA Expo Hall (#446)
Sat-Sun, Sept 29-30, 9:00-5:00pm
Visit our booth to learn more about LAF, register for the Sustainable Destination Sweepstakes, meet the 2012 Olmsted Scholars, and learn how you can participate in our 2013 Case Study Investiga- tion (CSI) program to document the benefits of high-performing landscape projects. On Sunday, we’ll be conducting video interviews, so come prepared to share your thoughts for inclusion in our Conversations with Leaders in Landscape series - we’d especially like to hear from past Board members, scholarship winners, and research grantees.sweepstakes-e-announce

Sustainable Destination Sweepstakes
Sun, Sept 30, 4:30pm
Join us at our booth in the ASLA Expo Hall as we announce the winner of our one-of-a-kind trip for two to New York City, featuring a day of private tours led by Michael Van Valkenburgh and staff. 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.

aslaedsessionAssessing Performance Education Session
Mon, Oct 1, 8:00-9:30am
Don’t miss Assessing the Performance of Landscape Projects presented by LAF’s Heather Whitlow, Kurt Culbertson of Design Workshop, and Bill Wenk of Wenk Associates. Learn methods and tools to identify and quantify performance benefits based on two years of success, challenges, and lessons from the Landscape Performance Series and Case Study Investigation (CSI) program. Then hear how Design Workshop and Wenk Associates are using landscape performance in their respective practices to set goals, develop design strategies, assess the effectiveness of designs, and show value of landscape solutions to clients and other stakeholders.

LAF and Landscape Performance at CELA

We’re looking forward to the upcoming Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture (CELA) Conference March 28-31 at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. 

Four sessions on Landscape Performance will kick off the Research & Methods track with presentations and panel discussions from LAF staff, 2011 CSI Research Fellows, and other key leaders in the movement to set performance objectives and quantify benefits.

cela-conferenceLAF will also have an exhibitor table, hold a training for the soon-to-be-announced 2012 Case Study Investigation (CSI) Fellows, and host a roundtable discussion on developing a national research agenda. More details are below.

We hope to see you there!

 

Research & Methods Track

Session 1 - Wed, 2:00-3:20pm
Landscape Performance: Documenting the Benefits of Sustainable Landscape Solutions

Panel with:      Barbara Deutsch, ASLA, Landscape Architecture Foundation
                          Linda Ashby, ASLA, Landscape Architecture Foundation
                          Forster Ndubisi, PhD, ASLA, Texas A&M University
                          Christopher D. Ellis, PhD, University of Maryland

 

Session 2 - Wed, 4:30-5:30pm
Landscape Performance: Methods to Quantify Benefits

Presentations:   Lessons from LAF’s Landscape Performance Series
                              Heather Whitlow, Landscape Architecture Foundation

                              The Salvation Army Kroc Community Center Case Study
                              Mary Myers, PhD, RLA, ASLA, Temple University

Panel with:          Heather Whitlow, Landscape Architecture Foundation
                              Christopher D. Ellis, PhD, University of Maryland
                              Elen Deming, PhD, University of Illinois
                              Mary Myers, PhD, RLA, ASLA, Temple University

 

Session 3 - Thur, 8:30-9:50am
Presentations Based on 2011 Case Study Investigation (CSI) Research

Presentations:   Water Conservation in Master-Planned Communities in the Intermountain West
                              Bo Yang, PhD, Utah State University

                              Assessing Social Benefit of Green Space: POE of Lubert Plaza
                              Mary Myers, PhD, RLA, ASLA, Temple University

                              Performance benefits: The case of the Kresge Foundation Headquarters
                              Byoung-Suk Kweon, PhD, University of Maryland

                              Measuring Landscape Performance at Uptown Normal Circle and Streetscape
                              Christopher D. Ellis, PhD, University of Maryland

 

Session 4 - Thur, 10:00-11:20am
Moving Forward: Integrating Landscape Performance in Academia and Practice

Panel with:         Barbara Deutsch, ASLA Landscape Architecture Foundation
                             Kristina Hill, PhD, University of Virginia
                             Nancy Rottle, ASLA, University of Washington
                             Kurt Culbertson, FASLA, Design Workshop

csi-v2158x129

 

2012 CSI Research Fellows Meeting

Wed, 3:30-4:20pm
Meet & Greet and Training
Case Study Investigation (CSI) program overview from LAF staff for faculty members selected as 2012 LAF Research Fellows.

 

Research Agenda Roundtable

Thurs, 1:00-2:00pm
Toward a National Research Agenda
Work session with LAF, Design Workshop, invited academics and pratitioners to discuss the benefits, pros, and cons of a national research agenda for the profession.

Landscape Performance in Design Education: UW's Sustainable Urban Landscapes Seminar

by Nancy Rottle, 2011 LAF Research Fellow | Associate Professor, Department of Landscape Architecture, University of Washington | Director, Green Futures Research and Design Lab

How is landscape performance best incorporated into the LA curriculum? How might LAF’s Landscape Performance Series (LPS) contribute to landscape architecture education and the future practice of our current students?

These are questions that underlay incorporation of the LPS and Case Study Investigation (CSI) model into the graduate curriculum at the University of Washington during the 2011 autumn term. Collaborating with LAF, my Landscape Performance seminar tackled the production of a dozen case studies for projects that ranged from parks to schools to zoo exhibits, in the Pacific Northwest and in China.

The case study work replaced the usual term paper for my Sustainable Urban Landscapes course, which has focused on landscape performance for the last two years. The seminar readings and discussions examine concepts and practices related to the design of sustainable urban landscapes, engaging such theories as green infrastructure, green and sustainable urbanism, landscape urbanism, regenerative and closed-loop design and landscape metrics. The twist of working within the CSI collaborative model immersed students into a more interactive approach to studying performing landscapes.

fallcsi-class

Preparation for the class began over the summer, as LAF Research Assistant Pam Emerson and I met with several firms to identify and vet candidate projects for case studies. A primary qualification was the existence of performance data to adequately quantify benefits of a built project. We narrowed our list of applicable projects to the most promising, and collected as much data in advance as the firms could supply. Pam also learned the processes, resources, and issues the students would face by developing two case studies of her own.

During the autumn seminar, students worked in pairs, assisting one another in gathering data and learning the various landscape evaluation tools. They received regular feedback from me, our Teaching Assistant Delia Lacson (also a LAF Research Assistant), from each other, and from LAF. An invited guest panel of experts described various tools, resources and metrics systems, including Mithun/LBJ Wildflower Center’s carbon calculator, valuation of ecosystem services from Earth Economics, components in the i-tree suite, Seattle parks maintenance data, and Sustainable Sites program resources, especially those related to human health and well-being. The case studies went through three phases of review, including a penultimate review by the sponsoring design firm, before students submitted their final versions to LAF.

Our learning from tackling these case studies underscored, yet transcended, student awareness of the value of incorporating landscape performance goals in the design process. Students in the seminar expressed that it was valuable to learn about the tools and parameters used to design and evaluate high-performing landscapes, to gain in-depth knowledge about a particular designed landscape and its actual benefits, and to learn lessons not only from successes but also from the failures that are unfortunately so common in built landscapes (such as from soil compaction or introduction of weed seeds). The process was also a first-hand lesson in how critical it is to have adequate baseline data and inside knowledge from those involved in the design process.

Measuring and documenting the performance of landscapes is required to reshape the teaching and practice of landscape architecture so that our built landscapes actually provide the desired benefits we hope to achieve. Such measurement and communication are critical to the acceptance and culture of new landscape aesthetics, within the profession and in value formation and demands from our public and private clients. We found the pilot of this model, though still evolving, to be a critical first step in introducing students to this discussion.

LAF appreciates the dedicated work of all those involved with the 2011 UW LARCH 561 course: 2011 LAF Research Fellow Nancy Rottle, Research Assistants Pam Emerson and Delia Lacson, Ximena Bustamante, Sue Costa, Peter Cromwell, Dafer Haddadin , Chen Hai, Taj Hanson, Manami Iwamija, Jo Ming Lau, Audrey Maloney, Jessica Michalak, Haruna Nemoto, Roma Shah, Karin Strelioff, Tao Xu, Xiaobing Wang, Virginia Werner, Ying-Ju Yeh.

LPS on the Road: South Central Region

Meet representatives from LAF, network with other landscape architects, and learn about the Landscape Performance Series at one of these upcoming events:

College Station, Texas

Thursday, February 2, 2012
4pm

tamulogoJoin students and faculty from Texas A&M’s Department of Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning for an overview of LAF’s scholarship and fellowship programs, followed by a presentation and discussion on the Landscape Performance Series.

Texas A&M University
Location details coming soon

 

Houston, Texas

Friday, February 3, 2012
4:00-5:30pm

laf-swa-invite-2012sFollowing a short reception, LAF Executive Director Barbara Deutsch will present the Landscape Performance Series . Cocktails start at 4pm, and the program starts at 4:30pm. This event is open to the all, but please RSVP by Mon, Jan 30 to mamador@swagroup.com.

SWA Group
1245 W. 18th Street
Houston, TX 77008
Phone: 713-868-1676



Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Saturday, February 4, 2012
2:05-2:55pm

lcaslallogoLAF Executive Director Barbara Deutsch will present the Landscape Performance Series at the Louisiana Chaper of ASLA 2012 Annual Meeting. This day-long event starts and 8:30am and includes Educational and Technical Sessions, LARE Review, and an Awards Banquet. CEUs are available.

LCASLA Annual Meeting
Shaw Center/Manship Theatre
Downtown Baton Rouge