Measuring Performance: Findings and Insights from LAF’s 2020 CSI Program

by Megan Barnes, Associate ASLA

Arizona State University
Arizona State University Orange Mall Green Infrastructure Project / image: Chingwen Cheng

No matter how sustainability is defined—carbon neutral, net zero water, biodiversity, quality of life—it cannot be achieved without considering landscape.

The Landscape Architecture Foundation’s Case Study Investigation (CSI) program is a unique research collaboration and training program for faculty, students, and practitioners. Through CSI, LAF-funded faculty-student research teams work with leading practitioners to document the impacts of exemplary, high-performing landscape projects. Teams develop methods to quantify the environmental, social, and economic benefits of built projects and produce Case Study Briefs for LAF’s Landscape Performance Series. This year marks the tenth anniversary of the Landscape Performance Series, which provides critical information to build capacity to achieve sustainability and transform the way landscape is considered in the design and development process. The Landscape Performance Series’ collection of over 160 Case Study Briefs created through CSI is an essential resource for educators, students, and practitioners seeking to assess progress toward environmental, social, and economic goals based on measurable outcomes.

The projects selected for the 2020 Case Study Investigation program represent a diverse geography and project types. Several projects have been recognized and awarded for their excellence in sustainable design and performance outcomes. Among the selected projects for the 2020 program are many that incorporate significant diversity, equity, and inclusion goals and address pressing challenges associated with climate change. Project types include an affordable housing project, a freshwater research lab, an adaptive use stadium converted partially into green roofs, and a series of fog collection and other interventions created in partnership with an informal settlement in Peru. The geographically diverse projects also include a rooftop garden in Sydney designed by and for indigenous users, a resilient university campus project in the Arizona desert, and two stormwater management and water conservation infrastructure projects that provide multiple layers of benefits.

Please join LAF’s 2020 Case Study Investigation Research Fellows and Research Assistants for a finale webinar in which they will present their process and most compelling findings from their efforts to quantify environmental, social, and economic benefits of exemplary landscape projects.

Upcoming LAF Webinar: Measuring Landscape Performance: Findings & Insights from LAF’s 2020 CSI Program (recording now available)
Wednesday, August 5, 2020
4:00 – 5:30 p.m. (Eastern)

Registration is required and space is limited. A recording of the webinar will be made available on the LAF website.

2020 CSI Teams:

Arizona State University + Colwell Shelor Landscape Architecture
CSI Research Fellow: Chingwen Cheng, PhD, ASLA, PLA, LEED AP
Student Research Assistant: Amanda Trakas, Student ASLA
Project: Arizona State University Orange Mall Green Infrastructure Project, Phase 1, Tempe, AZ

Auburn University + Nelson Byrd Woltz
CSI Research Fellow: C. Thomas Hogge, PLA, ASLA, CLARB
Student Research Assistant: Luis Jose Loaiza Pinto, Student ASLA
Project: Duke University Water Reclamation Pond, Durham, NC

George Mason University + LandDesign
CSI Research Fellow: Cynthia B. Smith, PhD
Student Research Assistant: MacKenzie Earl
Project: Potomac Science Center, Woodbridge, VA

Kansas State University + Jeffrey L. Bruce & Company
CSI Research Fellow: Lee R. Skabelund, BLA, MLA, PLA, ASLA
Student Research Assistant: Lekhon Alam
Project: Kansas State University Memorial Stadium Green Roofs, Manhattan, KS

The University of New South Wales (UNSW Sydney) + Jiwah
CSI Research Fellows: Linda Corkery, FAILA, International ASLA, and Sara Padgett Kjaersgaard, RLA, AILA
Student Research Assistant: Lisa Thomson
Project: South Eveleigh Community Rooftop Garden, Sydney, Australia

The University of New South Wales (UNSW Sydney) + Turf Design Studio
CSI Research Fellows: Catherine Evans; Sara Padgett Kjaersgaard, RLA, AILA, and Linda Corkery, FAILA, International ASLA
Student Research Assistant: Lei Zheng
Project: Sydney Park Water Re-use Project, Alexandria, Australia

University of Washington + Mithun
CSI Research Fellow: Catherine De Almeida, ASLA
Student Research Assistant: Jennifer Engelke, PLA, ASLA
Project: Liberty Bank Building, Seattle, WA

University of Washington + Traction
CSI Research Fellow: Leann Andrews, PhD, RLA
Student Research Assistant: Rebecca Bachman
Project: Fog Water Farm Park and Gardens, Informal Community of Eliseo Collazos, Lima, Peru

Megan Barnes is Program Manager for the Landscape Architecture Foundation’s research initiatives, including the Landscape Performance Series (LPS), Case Study Investigation (CSI) program, Deb Mitchell Research Grant, and the Green New Deal Superstudio. Megan’s background is in landscape architecture, international development, and the nonprofit sector.

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