A Landscape Performance + Metrics Primer for Landscape Architects: Measuring Landscape Performance

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This paper is published as a part of ASLA's Landscape Architecture Technical Information Series. It is a 112-page peer-reviewed paper, providing practicing landscape architects with technical information about new and evolving landscape performance practices and tools.

Landscape architecture is at a pivotal moment in its history as a discipline—where design
practice is becoming more reflective, adaptive and scholarly. As the need for sustainable
design grows, it has become imperative that professionals put their work under analytical
review and set higher standards for their work to perform environmentally, socially, and
economically. The field looks more to the integration of research and scholarly inquiry in
design as a solution to this growing need for high performance landscapes.

While the concept of landscape performance assessment is gaining attention within the
field, the availability of time, resources, and technical expertise remains an obstacle for
many designers in evaluating built work. More in-depth research investigations are best left
to academics and scientists, but methods exist that every landscape architect can utilize
to assess the performance of their own work for use throughout the planning, design,
construction, and post-occupancy phases. This paper aims to provide an introduction to
these metrics and methods that can be applied in the field. Less emphasis is placed on
models and web-based calculators, which are available through resources such as the
Landscape Architecture Foundation.
Distance Learning
Course Equivalency
Sustainable Development & Design
Health, Safety and Welfare
Learning Outcomes
1. Identify standardized methods for data collection for use in quantifying landscape performance benefits for environmental, socio-cultural, and economic performance.

2. Quantify the impact of landscape architecture projects on ecosystem and social services that protect the health, safety, and welfare of the public.

3. Identify data collection tools that can be employed at various stages in the design process, providing information that improves design and management of the landscape to maintain or improve performance over time.
Emily McCoy, ASLA
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American Society of Landscape Architects

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