Living Laboratory: Sustainable and Resilient Ecological Landscape Design.

Living Laboratory: Sustainable and Resilient Ecological Landscape Design.


This VIP project will use the LA+ED Hunt Hall courtyard as a living laboratory to respond to a series of landscape ecology and landscape design questions. Three main areas of research are 1) flora and fauna interactions looking at the relationships between the plant community in the courtyard and the wildlife in the area with a particular focus on pollinators and migratory birds; 2) The ecosystems services of the courtyard, the social and environmental benefits of this landscape to people. This is an opportunity to incorporate behavioral and narrative research, gathering narratives, looking at the history of courtyard, and observing use; 3) An opportunity for design-based research examine opportunities for new systems for waste management, materials research, and water management.

Issues Involved or Addressed

The Landscape Architecture + Environmental Design (LA+ED) program has a long history of engaging undergraduate students in research. This involvement has included engaging student researchers directly in faculty research, as well as providing research opportunities through studio courses and group study courses. Additionally, students in our majors undertake independent student research leading to senior thesis, and capstone projects. The work of LA+ED faculty is also largely interdisciplinary, both in terms of the academic background of the faculty and their ongoing collaborations. VIP would be an excellent opportunity to formalize existing efforts with students, and provide additional opportunities to evaluate the impact of our work, and provide support to engage students in a wider variety of majors. The project could incorporate students in a wide variety of majors including Landscape Architecture, Sustainable Environmental Design, Plant Science, Animal Science, Environmental Policy, American Studies, Anthropology, Community Development, Art, Design, Biological Systems Engineering, Civil Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, and Wildlife and Fishery Conservation Biology

Methods and Technologies

  • Landscape design and monitoring
  • Environmental design
  • Designing plant communities
  • Studying and documenting flor and fauna interaction
  • Behavioral and narrative research
  • Waste and water management strategies

Academic Majors of Interest

  • Landscape Architecture
  • Computer Science
  • Industrial Engineering
  • Sociology
  • Psychology
  • Mechanical Engineering

Preferred Interests and Preparation

Students interested in ecological and environmental issues and designing new models and solutions to managing waste and water resources.

Team Advisors