Measuring the Success of a Landscape

From The Dirt a discussion  of the role performance measurement is taking in the built environment and the efforts to broaden this beyond simplistic meaurements of building efficiency and CO2 footprints; while these ar necessary they are not sufficient and a new more balanced model is needed, on its own I doubt that the ASLA Sustainable Sites Initiative  is enough, although it is a good step in the right direction.


At the national Brownfields conference, James Royce, ASLA, a landscape architect with Stephen Stimson Associates, explained how the Sustainable Sites Initiative (SITES), a new rating system now in the pilot testing phase, can be used to answer the question: How can we measure the success of a landscape? He added SITES may also help answer the question clients are now most concerned with: What do I get out of it?

The economy has changed, which means that the climate for sustainable solutions has also changed, argued Royce. Many commercial and residential clients still need to be sold on sustainability. However, he believes institutional clients mostly get it and now demand the most sustainable options they can afford.

SITES is a useful tool for understanding and quantifying the range of ecosystem services landscape provide. However, Royce added, areas like human health and wellbeing are still very difficult to quantify at the landscape scale. Continue reading