Three Texas A&M researchers have joined an elite group of 10 research teams in an effort funded by the Landscape Architecture Foundation aiming to make the concept of landscape performance and its contribution to sustainability as well known as building performance is today.
The effort, called the Case Study Investigation program, was conceived by the foundation as a key impetus in moving the landscape architecture profession toward designing every project with specific performance objectives, routinely collecting performance data and integrating landscape performance in design education.
Ming-Han Li, associate professor of landscape architecture, Bruce Dvorak, assistant professor of landscape architecture and Yi Luo, an urban and regional science Ph.D. student, partnered with four landscape architecture firms, will be quantifying the benefits of four of the firms’ high-performance landscapes, a category broadly defined as landscapes providing environmental, economic or social benefits greater than conventionally designed or unimproved areas.
High-performances landscapes can include elaborate designs such as Beijing Olympic Forest Park, which includes a mountain and a lake, or Park Seventeen, a 7th floor deck between two Dallas high-rises that includes a swimming pool, shaded seating and an artificial lawn.
They will develop methods to quantify environmental, economic and social benefits and report their findings in an online, interactive set of resources to show the value of sustainable landscape solutions and provide tools for designers, agencies and advocates to quantify benefits and make the case for sustainable landscapes.
Li, Dvorak and Luo will work with the following firms and their landscape designs:
• Beijing Tsinghua Urban Planning & Design Institute: Beijing Olympic Forest Park and the Tangshan Nanhu Eco-city Central Park;
• SWA Group: Cross Creek Ranch and
• TBG: Park Seventeen.
Firms participating in the study applied with specific projects and were selected based on the quality of the project, availability of information to document performance and commitment to participate in the CSI process.
Li and Dvorak will be recognized as 2012 LAF research fellows at the foundation’s September gala in Phoenix.
Bo Yang, who earned a Ph.D in Urban and Regional Science degree and a Master of Landscape Architecture degree at Texas A&M in 2009, is also heading a CSI research team. Yang is an assistant professor in the Department of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning at Utah State University.