IFLA 2012 Congress : High Performance Landscapes and Landscape Research

The urgent need for the landscape architecture profession to engage with global climate change issues and to become involved in research and conversations around climate change issues and in turn to broaden its agenda to include and embrace performance metrics in its suite of tools was highlighted by Foster Ndubisi’s presentation “Quantifying The Benefits Of High-Performing Landscapes:Prospects And Challenges’‘  at the recent IFLA 2012 Congress in Cape Town, where he emphasised the lack of effective baseline measurements of projects and how this hampered the ability of the landscape architecture profession to back up its claims that landscapes have a value beyond purely aesthetics and concepts of “place making.”  His work with the LAF’s (Landscape Architecture Foundation) ‘Landscape Performance Series’ embodies the type of research and knowledge critically required in order to both deliver and prove the true value of green infrastructure improvements.

The Landscape Performance Series is 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.

The Landscape Performance Series (LPS) is designed to fill a critical gap in the marketplace and make the concept of “Landscape Performance” and its contribution to sustainability as well known as “Building Performance” is today. The LPS is not a rating system, but rather a hub that brings together information and innovations from research, professional practice and student work in the form of:

  • Case Study Briefs
  • Benefits Toolkit
  • Fast Fact Library
  • Scholarly Works

Coincidently I am reading ‘Landscape Architecture Research’ by Simon Swaffield and M. Ellen Deming who revue the state of recent landscape architecture research and whilst amongst the general themes that emerge, they identify Green Infrastructure as an important topic, they also comment ” Furthermore, some areas of major activity in related disciplines receive little explicit attention in landscape architecture literature. Most noticeable of these is the relative lack of attention to the challenge of climate change adaptation and mitigation at multiple scales. At the precise moment when the practice of landscape architecture is becoming vital to our collective survival, its lack of a coherent research agenda and its lack of relative impact in the wider field of published knowledge make it vulnerable to becoming sidelined in the global academy. The discipline clearly needs a broader and better organized professional research agenda to guide is initiatives, a cleared understanding of what it means to be research based, rather than a service driven profession, and stronger focus upon effective dissemination of the knowledge it creates.”

Foster Ndubisi also spoke about the LAF’s Case Study Investigation (CSI) program and that this is not solely a North american incentive but could be applied for by practitioners and academics world wide.

The Case Study Investigation (CSI) program is a unique research collaboration that matches LAF-funded student-faculty research teams with leading practitioners to document the benefits of exemplary high-performing landscape projects. Teams develop methods to quantify environmental, economic and social benefits and produce Case Study Briefs for LAF’s Landscape Performance Series.

The teams are led by LAF Research Fellows, select faculty members with demonstrated interest or expertise in quantifying landscape benefits. Fellows develop methods for data collection, provide academic rigor, and receive funding to support a student research assistant.

Participating firms apply with specific projects and are selected based on the quality of the project, availability of information to document performance, and commitment to participate in the CSI process.

The CSI program is highly collaborative with the goal of better integrating the innovative work being done by academia and practice to advance our knowledge of landscape performance. By investing in this research, LAF hopes that CSI can be a key impetus in moving the landscape architecture profession toward routinely collecting performance data, designing every project with specific performance objectives, and integrating landscape performance in design education.

For more information, contact Linda Ashby at lashby@lafoundation.org

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One thought on “IFLA 2012 Congress : High Performance Landscapes and Landscape Research”

  1. Excellent! Would’ve been nice to know a few months ago for thesis work. None-the-less, here is a link to my integrated high-performance landscape park system proposal for the Fargo-Moorhead area.
    CutSheet Summary on Behance: http://www.behance.net/vchefti
    ShortLink to Full Project Links: http://wp.me/p2b7mM-mD

    The work is entitled Holoscene: high-performance landscape systems!
    Feedback is always welcome!

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