New research conducted by a faculty and student team from Temple University’s Department of Landscape Architecture and Horticulture seeks to quantify the benefits of “high-performing” landscape projects in the region, developing empirical data about a given site’s level of “landscape performance.”
“Measuring landscape performance examines the way the elements in a landscape function,” said Landscape Architecture Chair Mary Myers, who is conducting research this summer on three locations with Master of Landscape Architecture (MLArch) student Allison Arnold, supported by a grant from the Landscape Architecture Foundation (LAF). “We are proving whether a site is a sustainable landscape; what are the positive things they are doing and what could they be doing better.”
Myers and Arnold are one of just 10 Case Study Investigation Research teams in the nation selected to conduct comprehensive analysis of sites throughout the United States as part of LAF’s Landscape Performance Series, an online interactive set of resources designed 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.”
According to Dr. Myers, this is the second year that Temple was selected — after a rigorous peer review process — to participate in the Landscape Performance Series. The case study results from 2011 are available at the Landscape Architecture Foundation website, where the 2012 research will also be posted.
For this year’s research, Arnold and Myers are currently studying the Black Rock Sanctuary in Phoenixville, designed by the KMS Design Group; Pennswood Village, a retirement community in Newtown, Bucks County, designed by Wells Appel Land Strategies; and the Old Stone Mill at the New York Botanical Garden, designed by Darrel Morrison.
“Our goal is to determine the social, ecological, economic and environmental benefits of each site and to place some real numbers behind it. All three of the locations have strong ecological designs, which resonated with the focus of our master’s program,” Arnold said. “For me as a student, it is these real world studies and experiences that made me choose the Temple MLArch program. Our program focuses on the health of the environment above all else.”