CSI supports designers in assessing and documenting the performance of exemplary landscape projects.
Through CSI, select practitioners work with LAF-funded faculty-student research teams to produce Case Study Briefs for the Landscape Performance Series. This online database of over 150 case studies is used by designers, students, researchers, policy-makers, and advocates to find precedents and make the case for sustainable landscape solutions.
To participate in CSI, designers apply with a particular project to be studied. For design firms, the applicant must be the landscape architect of record for the project. Nonprofit organizations, government agencies, facilities departments, and other entities that engage landscape architects are also eligible, provided that they played a primary role in the design and implementation of the project.
Proposed projects must be built and operating/in use for at least one year by the time the CSI program begins in February. Completed phases of a multi-phase project are eligible, as are discrete, easily distinguished portions of a larger project. Projects completed more than 10 years ago are not recommended for CSI because landscape performance should be measured against the project's design goals and intent, and over time this information is often lost and/or the built project is modified.
For 2021: If a proposed 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.
Benefits of Participation
For designers, CSI is a unique opportunity to document and showcase exemplary work, expand capacity to capture performance information, build relationships with academic researchers, and support an unparalleled professional development experience for students. It also allows firms to demonstrate leadership in performance-based design and strengthen relationships with clients and other project stakeholders.
Although design firms are not compensated for their participation in CSI, Firm Liaisons can earn up to 20 course equivalency Professional Development Hours (PDHs) through the Landscape Architecture Continuing Education System (LA CES).
Participation in CSI requires ongoing involvement and commitment from the design firm, particularly the Firm Liaison who serves as the point person for the CSI academic team. The liaison must be responsive and engaged with the research team throughout the CSI program. Specifically, the Firm Liaison is expected to:
- Provide key project information including goals and design intent, site features, challenges, lessons learned, photos, and illustrative plans/drawings
- Provide access or serve as the liaison between the academic team and key project personnel such as firm leadership, colleagues, clients, collaborators, and other project stakeholders
- Assist the research team in identifying potential performance benefits and methods to quantify them
- Participate in CSI program webinars
Firms devote an average of 20-35 staff hours to the CSI program between February and August. The exact time commitment depends on availability of information and previous work done to document the project.
Proposed projects should have the potential to generate a range of quantified environmental, social, and economic performance benefits. They should reflect innovation in design, materials, policy, partnerships, and/or process for the given project type and geographic region. Projects that yield the most successful case studies have compelling benefits and a compelling narrative that shares not only successes but also challenges, failures, and lessons learned.
CSI research teams are more readily able to produce a set of comprehensive benefits when project goals and design intent have been clearly articulated, baseline information has been collected, and aspects of performance have been modeled during the design process (such as stormwater management) or tracked through operations (such as site use/attendance).
Additional consideration will be given to projects with a strong narrative, goals, and benefits related to: (1) climate change and resilience, and/or (2) diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Contact Megan Barnes at mbarnes [at] lafoundation.org.
Case Study Investigation (CSI)
CSI Research Fellows
CSI Firms and Projects