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A Case Study Method for Landscape Architecture

LAF has released a 20th Anniversary Edition so that this seminal document may continue to inform and inspire new generations to undertake this important form of inquiry.

Since its release in 1999, A Case Study Method for Landscape Architecture has raised the profile of landscape architecture research and helped to strengthen case studies as a form of knowledge building and sharing within the discipline and beyond. The 20th Anniversary Edition is a re-release of the original report updated with a very light touch to help contemporary readers access its core content while still serving as a historical record of author Mark Francis’ process and the state of case study research.




A Case Study Method for Landscape Architecture highlights the value of case studies and outlines a set of critical dimensions that should be addressed in a case study to critically document and evaluate projects and issues.

“The primary body of knowledge in landscape architecture is contained in the written and visual documentation — that is, stories — of projects, be it well-known ones such as New York’s Central Park, or more modest projects such as a small neighborhood park. Together, these cases provide the primary form of education, innovation, and testing for the profession. They also serve as the collective record of the advancement and development of new knowledge in landscape architecture.”

LAF commissioned the Case Study Method in 1997 with scholar Mark Francis of the University of California, Davis. Since it was published in 1999, the Case Study Method has been incorporated into the curriculum of many landscape architecture schools and is frequently cited in articles and publications. It directly influenced LAF's Land and Community Design Case Study Series of books published between 2001 and 2009, and it also informed the development of the format and method that LAF uses to produce the Case Study Briefs published on

See the original report in this 2001 article in Landscape Journal.

LAF is grateful to the many individuals and organizations that provide financial support towards fulfilling our mission to support the preservation, improvement, and enhancement of the environment.

Much of what LAF is able to accomplish would not be possible without the thought leadership and financial investment of our major supporters, including ASLA, which provides over $125,000 of in-kind support annually.