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Design Research: What Is It and How Is It Changing the Field of Practice?

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Recording from live webinar on 10/26/22


Design Research: What is it and How is it Changing the Field of Practice?

Within the design disciplines, the term “research” is commonly used to encompass a wide range of activities from knowledge gathering to experimentation to representation. There are seemingly competing calls to, on the one hand, strengthen research capacity and rigor, and on the other, expand the confines of what is considered research for landscape architects and others in the built environment. To have a productive dialogue about the role and potential of design research, a shared understanding of the term is important not only for faculty and students but also professional practitioners.

So what is design research and how should it be defined? What questions are being asked and answered (or not) through design research? What are current and emerging models and methods for design research?  

In this interactive webinar, three experts explore this thorny term with assistance from attendees. Through their particular lenses, the panelists frame design research, discuss its multiplicities and nuances, and provide examples of design research in action.



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Learning Objectives

  1. Understand the concept of design research as it applies to the work of landscape architects and allied professionals
  2. Explore examples of design research being conducted by academic institutions and private practice
  3. Understand emerging models and methods for design research


Continuing Education Credits

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This course is approved for 1.0 Professional Development Hour (PDH) through the Landscape Architecture Continuing Education System (LA CES) and meets the health, safety and welfare requirements (HSW). To earn 1.0 PDH (LA CES/HSW):

  1. View the full webinar above.
  2. Complete the short quiz by following the link below. (You must score 75% or higher.)
  3. Wait ~2 weeks to receive your confirmation email once the quizzes are graded and results submitted to LA CES.

Quiz for CEUs

By completing this quiz, you are also signing up to receive newsletters and program announcements from LAF. You can edit your subscription preferences or unsubscribe at any time.



Headshot of Sean Burkholder

Sean Burkholder
Andrew Gordon Assistant Professor, Co-founder of McHarg Center Environmental Modeling Lab (EMLab), University of Pennsylvania Weitzman School of Design
In addition to his teaching and research at Penn, Sean is co-founder of the research and design practice Proof Projects, a member of the Dredge Research Collaborative, and co-director of the Healthy Port Futures project.

Headshot of M. Elen Deming

M. Elen Deming, D.Des, FASLA
Director of the Doctor of Design Program and Professor of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning, North Carolina State University
Elen has taught design studios and explored research design methodology serving the needs of professional practitioners for nearly 25 years. She is co-author of the foundational book Landscape Architecture Research: Inquiry, Strategy, Design (2011).

Headshot of Upali Nanda

Upali Nanda, PhD
Global Practice Director of Research and Principal, HKS and Associate Professor of Practice, University of Michigan Taubman School of Architecture
Upali is an architect with extensive experience leading research projects in design practice with a focus on the impact of design on human health and perception. She is executive director of Center for Advanced Design Research and Evaluation (CADRE).

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