Top navigation Resources to Demonstrate Impact

by Heather Whitlow

LPS-logo.220The Landscape Architecture Foundation (LAF) is pleased to announce the launch of its new website. With 90 Case Study Briefs, over 100 Fast Facts, and dozens of Benefits Toolkit calculators, is sure to become your go-to place to find design precedents, show value, and make the case for sustainable landscape solutions.

In an era of shrinking budgets and competing priorities, land development projects must serve multiple functions, address multiple issues, and provide multiple benefits. On top of that, decision-makers, investors, and policymakers are increasingly seeking proof that projects perform and provide return on investment. Landscape performance is a way to provide this evidence for landscape solutions. No matter how sustainability is defined – zero carbon, net zero water, biodiversity, quality of life – it cannot be achieved without considering landscape.

The Chicago Botanic Garden Lake Shoreline Enhancement Project is one of the 90+ Case Study Briefs in LAF’s database. Photo courtesy of Chicago Botanic Garden.

Measuring Benefits, Sharing Results

Launched in 2010, LAF’s Landscape Performance Series is an online portal and set of initiatives to build capacity to achieve sustainability and transform the way landscape is considered in the design and development process. It focuses on the measurable environmental, social, and economic benefits of landscapes, bringing together information and innovations from research, industry, academia, and professional practice. It is not a rating system, but rather a vehicle for research, information-sharing, and dialogue.

The new plays a central role. The primary components are:

  • Case Study Briefs – Database of exemplary built landscape projects with quantified environmental, economic, and social benefits
  • Fast Fact Library – Short summaries of the benefits of landscape derived from published research
  • Benefits Toolkit – Compilation of online calculators and tools to estimate landscape performance
  • Collections – Themed LPS highlights curated by LAF and leading thinkers

Search by Benefit or Feature

These award-winning resources can be explored and searched by Landscape Performance Benefit (e.g. flood protection, educational value, job creation), Feature (e.g. green roof, onsite energy generation, trail), and Tag (e.g. resilience, active living, learning landscapes).

The Case Study Briefs cover a wide range of project typologies, scales, and geographic locations. They are produced by LAF, working in conjunction with designers and academic research teams to assess performance and document each project. Each case study includes a variety of environmental, social, and economic benefits along with a Methods document explaining how the benefits were determined.

Case Study Briefs, like this one of the Willow School in Gladstone, New Jersey, are produced by faculty-student research teams working with designers. Photo courtesy of Back to Nature.

One of the newest Case Study Briefs is the Thomas Jefferson Visitor Center and Smith Education Center at Monticello. Photo courtesy of Landscape Architecture Foundation.

Other sections of the new website include: Training with landscape performance-related presentations and webinars, Resources for Educators with university teaching materials, and a soon-to-be-released Guide to Evaluate Performance.

Use the resources to help you:

  • Find precedents, show value, and advocate for sustainable landscape solutions
  • Explore metrics and methods to quantify environmental, social, and economic benefits
  • Earn professional development hours (PDHs) by attending a presentation or webinar
  • Browse and share teaching materials to integrate landscape performance into design curricula
  • Stay current on landscape performance news and trends

Case Study Briefs, like this one of the Willow School in Gladstone, New Jersey, are produced by faculty-student research teams working with designers. Photo courtesy of Back to Nature.

The Landscape Performance Series is an initiative of the Landscape Architecture Foundation, made possible with support from Founding Partner: JJR|Roy Fund; Lead Sponsor: Landscape Structures; Annual Sponsors: AECOM, DeepRoot, Hunter Industries, AILA/Yamagami/Hope Fellowship, CLASS Fund/Ralph Hudson Environmental Fellowship; and Promotion Partner: American Society of Landscape Architects. is intended to grow over time with user input and participation. If you have information or suggestions on topics, content, or resources that you’d like to see, please get in touch at

About the Author

Heather Whitlow is the Director of Programs & Communications with the Landscape Architecture Foundation (LAF), a national non-profit founded in 1966 to support the preservation, improvement and enhancement of the environment. LAF invests in research and scholarship to increase our collective capacity to achieve sustainability and support the next-generation of design leaders.