Guide to Evaluate Performance

A key step in evaluating the performance of any landscape project is determining what to measure and how. Our new guidebook outlines this process and presents over 100 metrics in 33 benefit categories as potential ways to gauge environmental, social, and economic impacts.

Evaluating Landscape Performance: A Guidebook for Metrics and Methods Selection

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The guidebook was developed 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. By presenting possibilities, not a prescriptive list, it is intended to be a starting point for the selection of metrics and methods tailored to each individual project and its particular goals.

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

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

In total, there are 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 performance benefit from an actual project.

The guidebook also provides 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 environmental, social, and economic metrics and the corresponding methods and datasets.

Since 2010, the Landscape Architecture Foundation (LAF) has worked with faculty-student research teams, designers, and clients to produce over 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. Thank you to everyone who has been on this journey with us over the years.

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

LAF would love to know how you are using the guidebook and hear your thoughts on how the guidebook can be strengthened and how it contributes to the ongoing discourse on what should be measured and how. Get in touch with us at (email hidden; JavaScript is required).

Help build the LPS: Find out how to submit a case study and other ways to contribute.