News & Events

LAF News

Stay up to date on LAF!

Subscribe to RSS Feed

Three New Opportunities for Faculty

LAF is delighted to offer three opportunities to support academic research related to landscape performance. Accepted works will be included in the Landscape Performance Series. For more information, contact Linda Ashby at

LAF Fellowship Program for Faculty

Proposals due April 18

LAF is offering a new and exclusive fellowship opportunity for select faculty with achievements related to landscape performance. LAF Research Fellows receive funding to support a graduate assistant and work with leading firms to produce case studies of exemplary high-performing landscapes. Fellows will lead this unique collaboration, providing guidance to collect post-occupancy information and quantify environmental, economic and social benefits.

For more information and to apply, download a Fellowship Announcement & Proposal Form. To be considered, completed proposals must be submitted to by April 18.

Call for Case Studies

Letter of Intent due April 15; Case Study due June 1

The LPS Case Study Briefs showcase exemplary built projects with quantified environmental, economic, and social benefits. LAF offers an opportunity for faculty and researchers to contribute to this online database while earning authorship through a double-blind peer-review process. To do this, authors submit a case study following LAF’s online guidance along with two additional requirements:
      -  Literature Review / Best Practices Review
      -  Document on Applicability to the Profession

To participate, submit a Letter of Intent to by April 15. The one-page letter should contain an abstract of the proposed case study with information about the project, objectives, approach, key performance benefits and outcome.

Important Dates
April 15, 2011        Letter of Intent Due
June 1, 2011         Case Study Submissions Due
August 1, 2011      Review Committee Comments and Requests for Revisions Sent
October 1, 2011    Revised Submissions Due

Call for Scholarly Works

Due June 15

LAF is expanding the LPS Scholarly Works to include faculty research papers, journal articles, and conference proceedings related to landscape performance. Topics include research on the benefits of landscape, post occupancy evaluations, and applications of existing research to determine benefits for existing or proposed projects or policies.

Reseachers may submit any of the following to by June 15 to be considered for inclusion in the LPS:
      -  Abstract of your published paper with link to access full text through the publisher’s database
      -  Conference proceedings of which you hold the copyright
      -  Peer-reviewed paper of which you hold the copyright

All submissions must be relevant to landscape performance and will be reviewed to ensure they meet LAF standards.

Important Dates
June 15, 2011         Scholarly Works Submissions Due
August 15, 2011      Notification of Acceptance

Jobs Bill for Landscape Architects: EPA Stormwater Ruling

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is drafting new stormwater regulations to modernize stormwater management, scheduled for release this fall. The new rules are likely to focus on locally appropriate performance standards for capturing stormwater onsite, giving a strong impetus for LID and green infrastructure techniques. Current regulations simply require cities to use best management practices with no performance goal.
This rule change would not only promote sustainable practices, but would deliver the largest jobs bill for landscape architects of our time.
EPA needs to make the case to Congress that green infrastructure meets stormwater performance objectives as well as creates jobs and costs less. We know this is true but we need to show it.  The case studies in LAF’s Landscape Performance Series achieve this, but we need more – more case studies, in more geographic locations, and with more land use examples.
Please support ASLA’s effort to collect 300 LID case studies by March 31st, and then develop your case study further to submit to LAF to be a part of the Landscape Performance Series.  
With budget cuts, program eliminations, and upcoming legislation, we need to make the case for sustainable landscape solutions now more than ever, so please make the time to document your good work accordingly.

Olmsted Scholar Feature: Waste Landscapes

by Caitlin Harrigan, 2010 National Olmsted Scholar Finalist

Simultaneously fascinating and repelling, waste landscapes reveal much about the ways in which we order and respond to our environments, and how we will evolve with those environments in the future. I believe that landscape architects have much to offer to the design of waste landscapes. By shaping these typically marginalized places in an ecologically revealing way, we can begin to unveil and recognize the destructive effects of our consumptive lifestyles. But more importantly, we can create spaces that inspire people to contemplate and recognize the value of environmental quality as well as the development of strategies that enhance ecological function. As places that facilitate meaningful human interaction and activity focused on recycling, waste and reuse operations can galvanize a group of people around a common cause. They can help facilitate the paradigm shift from mindless consumption to thoughtful conservation. There is immense potential for waste places to act as local rallying points – spaces that remind us that there is such a thing as enough.

harrigan-image-1-bsmThe Marpole WasteWorks: An eco-revelatory precinct

As a graduate student, I studied the intersection between waste, landscape, and design while working on my thesis, The Marpole WasteWorks. I considered an alternative way of thinking about waste landscapes by viewing garbage as a potential, rather than a problem. I proposed redesigning a municipal waste transfer station into an eco-revelatory materials recovery precinct that diverted refuse into economically-viable reuse and recycling ventures. The benefits of the redesign included increased public awareness regarding consumption and waste generation, reduced waste transport costs, reduced greenhouse gas emissions, reduced demand for landfill space, and improved site ecological functioning.

harrigan-image-2The Marpole WasteWorks: Elevated walkway / viewing gallery constructed out of repurposed shipping containers

The redesign acted as a publicly visible and accessible model of sustainable municipal infrastructure. It employed eco-revelatory design principles to highlight currently hidden processes as a means of reconnecting community members to solid waste and operational systems. The precinct addressed the need to embrace a paradigm shift – one that champions sustainability principles and reconnects people’s behaviours and actions with their physical consequences.

This past September, I traveled to South America to stretch my legs and explore a continent that has fascinated me for as long as I can remember. While in Boliva, I passed through the small town of Uyuni, a once-crucial mineral transport junction high in the Andean plateau. When Bolivia lost its seaports to Chile in the Pacific War, the national railway col- lapsed, and with it, Uyuni’s economic importance.

harrigan-image-3-m81Train graveyard in Uyuni, Bolivia

Locomotives rolled to a final stop in the outskirts of town, where the skeletal remains of hundreds of rusted-out steam engines still sit. Every year, this train graveyard is visited by thousands of tourists, including myself. While I walked the old tracks and explored the corroding train carcasses, the surreal beauty of this entirely unique waste landscape struck me. To think, this place has become both an attraction and amenity by virtue of the waste that sits here.

Waste landscapes come in all forms — landfills, transfer stations, train graveyards — and all possess qualities that can provoke, inspire, and delight.  Their inherent disorder is compelling. As landscape architects, we have the ability to illuminate the significance of the disarray through sensitive design intention. The aesthetic, ecological, and educational opportunities buried within are remarkable. Let’s dig in.

Caitlin Harrigan received her Masters Degree in Landscape Architecture from the University of British Columbia in May. She is now back in Canada after four months of traveling in South America and is currently updating her portfolio.

Olmsted Scholar Feature: Movement as Experience

by Elise Hubbard, 2010 Olmsted Scholar

Streets are influential public spaces that hold potential to positively affect people’s daily routines.

ehubbardimage1-6czBeing a recent graduate from Kansas State University, and new to the working professional world at BNIM in Kansas City, my walk to work has become one of the most valued parts of my day. I love the simple morning atmosphere filling my lungs and stimulating my senses. As my body moves, so also does my mind to engage in the world around me. Walking to work is a part of my day that supports “an expanded state of awareness, accountability for daily actions, and the potential for a richer spectrum of experience for individuals and communities” (SlowLab).

ehubbardimage2I am passionate about the role of streets in urban life because I see how much the street environment can affect people’s daily lives. I believe bicycle and pedestrian circulation is a slower-pace transportation mode that allows for deeper, more meaningful human experience and perception of the world outside ourselves. For these qualities to surface in human experience, bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure must be an integral part of the transportation network. As integral parts of the transportation network, safe and enjoyable bicycle and pedestrian circulation can foster meaningful time in transit through more natural speeds of engagement and active presence.  

It is my hope that Landscape Architects and other Planning and Design Professionals can strengthen meaningful experience in transit. Elizabeth Meyer says, “I do not believe that design can change society, I do believe it can alter an individual’s consciousness and perhaps assist in restructuring her priorities and values” (Meyer 2008). Movement corridors should be wonderfully designed landscapes because they are public places used by people every day. I believe the design of these public places holds great potential to positively influence people’s mind, body and spirit.

Although I do believe design can inhibit or assist in positively impacting people’s lives, improving the quality of people’s lives ultimately comes down to being aware of the world outside ourselves. As we become more aware of the world outside ourselves, we begin to meet the needs of people and improve the quality of life around us. I appreciate how Allan Jacobs describes community: “people acting and interacting to achieve in concert what they might not achieve alone” (Jacobs 1993). We should strive to live in greater community, engaging with and serving people around us. I believe that landscape architects, as a body of designers who love, respect and care for the environment, have the power and responsibility to assist in re-centering human consciousness to see, hear, taste and feel the beauty of life within and around us.


Olmsted Scholar Feature: Community Engagement: A Design Tool for Cultural Landscape Networks

by Denise Wood, 2010 Olmsted Scholar

wood-pic-1-c9sDenise Wood and Justin Barnett note the pros and cons of Harborview Park schematics.

During my senior studio, I had the honor of working on a project with the City of Cape May, NJ.  We redesigned three underused parks and developed a city pedestrian and bike trail. We held a series of four community meetings at different stages of the design process to determine the program that would best fit the community. This was our first opportunity to design based on feedback from community members; the lessons that transpired during this journey were truly remarkable. I realized how important community engagement can be during the design process.

Throughout this experience we learned about building relationships while listening to the end users and responding with design solutions. Members of the community learned from the experience, too. They learned more about what made their city special, and about aspects of sustainable design. We led discussions about rain gardens, native plants and the ecological uniqueness of this special town, which helped many citizens to better understand what landscape architects do. Even community members who were unable to attend meetings in person were able to participate, as each meeting was covered in the local newspaper. It was a very profound and touching experience to get to know this community and it influenced my own goals and desires.

wood-pic-2-r96Kali Whyte and Denise Wood lead a break out group discussion.

I have known all along that I wanted to be a landscape architect to make a difference in people’s lives by creating sustainable communities. Once I was engulfed in the magic of this Victorian beach town and its heartwarming community members, I knew that I had found my calling and I would strive to listen to what the community wanted in the future when designing public spaces. Taking this approach, I can reach many people within a community, and help them better understand their special and unique local ecology. Also, I want to educate the public on the role of landscape architects in creating sustainable communities, and help members of those communities realize what they can do to make a difference, even in their own backyards.

Community engagement in the design process benefits everyone.  It’s crucial we listen to what the end users want in order to best serve their needs. Community engagement can be a powerful educational design tool.

Denise Wood earned her Bachelor of Science in Landscape Architecture from Temple University School of Environmental Design in May.  She is currently residing in Reading, PA as a sustainable landscape designer. Click for more information on this project and the City of Cape May, NJ.