Ten faculty Research Fellows will evaluate and document ten high-performing landscape projects as part of LAF’s 2021 Case Study Investigation program. We look forward to working with this accomplished group!
2021 CSI Research Fellows Jennifer Birkeland, Cornell University Jacky Bowring, PhD, Lincoln University New Zealand Jenny Hill, PhD, University of Toronto Vincent Javet, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey A. Haven Kiers, University of California, Davis Claire Latané, Cal Poly Pomona TJ Marston, Florida International University Nicholas Serrano, Louisiana State University Halina Steiner, The Ohio State University Jamie Vanucchi, Cornell University
The Case Study Investigation (CSI) program is a unique research collaboration and training program for faculty, students, and practitioners.
Through CSI, LAF funded faculty-student research teams work with leading practitioners to document the impacts of exemplary, high-performing landscape projects. Teams develop methods to quantify the environmental, social, and economic benefits of built projects and produce Case Study Briefs for LAF’s Landscape Performance Series.
Faculty and design firms apply to CSI in partnership to produce a case study of a specific built landscape project.* Each research team is led by a faculty CSI Research Fellow and supported by a student Research Assistant. The academic team interfaces with a Firm Liaison, who provides information about the project goals, design, design and construction process, and intended performance. Clients, site managers, and other project stakeholders may also contribute data and insights.
The CSI program runs annually from February to August. During the spring, faculty-student teams work with firm liaisons to develop the research plan and case study narrative. Site visits and field data collection are primarily conducted during the summer. The academic teams use this information to craft the performance benefits and document the project in the online Case Study Brief format. Throughout this process, LAF provides training, iterative feedback, and opportunities for interaction among teams. Final case studies undergo a peer review process and are published to the Landscape Performance Series in the fall.
*LAF may be able to assist in matching prospective CSI Research Fellows with prospective firms/projects based on geographic proximity, common interests, and relevant expertise. Potential applicants wishing to be matched should contact LAF well in advance of the application deadline to discuss.
Applicants are responsible for understanding any limitations and adjustments that will be necessary to complete their CSI work in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic’s impacts on both universities and CSI projects. The application form requires that applicants consider the below factors and explain how they plan to successfully participate in the CSI program under the current circumstances.
Site performance. The COVID-19 pandemic has wrought many changes in the way the built environment is used and the benefits it offers. Evaluating a project during this unique time offers opportunities and limitations for understanding site performance. It is important that applicants have considered this and can speak to it in the application.
Site access. Because ground truthing is an important part of the performance evaluation process, it is preferable that CSI Faculty Fellows and Student Research Assistants are located geographically near their site or able to travel to it. This year, it is understood that CSI Faculty Fellows and student Research Assistants may be in different locations so that only one member of the research team is able to visit the site.
Site operating status. If a prospective CSI project site is not open to the public/its typical user group at the time of application due to the COVID-19 pandemic or related circumstances, we recommend that the project not be submitted for CSI this year.
Faculty and student status. Due to uncertain academic schedules and circumstances at many universities regarding virtual and in-person learning, faculty and students should be prepared to undertake CSI work during the entire period from February 3 to August 4 under shifting circumstances if necessary. Aside from site visits, all CSI work may be completed remotely.
The CSI program is highly collaborative and helps to bridge the gap between research and design practice. By investing in this research, LAF is generating much-needed information and precedents to evaluate performance, demonstrate value, and make the case for sustainable landscape solutions. The Landscape Performance Series database of over 150 case studies is used by designers, students, researchers, journalists, policy-makers, and advocates.
Because resources (including time, expertise, and funding) are often limited for performance evaluation, the CSI program seeks to identify valid, defensible, and replicable metrics and methods that can be used within a short timeframe by non-experts with limited resources. This makes the 6-month CSI program an ideal testing ground for new methods.
As a training program, CSI is an important impetus in moving the landscape architecture discipline toward designing every project with specific performance objectives, documenting project goals and design intent, routinely collecting performance data, and integrating landscape performance in design education.
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.