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New LAF Guide to Evaluate Landscape Performance

Are you measuring impact?

The Landscape Architecture Foundation (LAF) is pleased to announce the release of its new resource “Evaluating Landscape Performance: A Guidebook for Metrics and Methods Selection.” The PDF document is available for free download on LAF’s LandscapePerformance.org website.

Five years in the making, LAF developed the guidebook as a primer for landscape architecture practitioners, researchers, agencies, park and land managers, instructors, students, and others interested in assessing the performance of built landscape projects. It presents more than 100 metrics in 33 benefit categories as potential ways to gauge environmental, social, and economic impacts.

With its focus on metrics that are meaningful to key decision-makers and emphasis on the process of determining what to measure, the guidebook serves a complement to the recently-published LATIS paper “A Landscape Performance + Metrics Primer for Landscape Architects: Measuring Landscape Performance on the Ground,” which offers more technical guidance for conducting field measurements.

By presenting possibilities, the LAF guidebook is intended to be a starting point for the selection of metrics and methods tailored to each individual project and its particular goals. The guidebook begins with an overview of the performance evaluation process and three printable worksheets for evaluators to use at the outset of a landscape performance assessment to brainstorm potential metrics, methods, and datasets.

At the heart of the guidebook are the 33 benefit categories, each spanning two pages that include a brief introduction to the topic, assessment considerations, a list of potential metrics and methods for measuring performance, resources, and an example of a quantified performance benefit from an actual project.

Four main criteria were used in selecting the metrics and methods:

  • Ease of use for a non-expert
  • General applicability for a range of project types and scales
  • Measurable in a relatively short time frame with limited budget
  • Defensible

Since 2010, the Landscape Architecture Foundation (LAF) has worked with faculty-student research teams, designers, and clients to produce more 150 case study briefs documenting the environmental, social, and economic benefits of high-performing landscape projects. The content and format of the guidebook draws upon the case studies and lessons learned during the case study production process. LAF would like to thank everyone who participated in this process over the years.

LAF would also like to thank its Landscape Performance Series sponsors, including the JJR | Roy Fund (Founding Sponsor) and Landscape Structures (Lead Sponsor), as well as Design Workshop, OLIN, Turenscape, and EDSA whose financial support and leadership helped with the launch and distribution of the guidebook.

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