Multifunctional Landscape Analysis and Design


Multifunctional Landscape for University of Illinois

Funded by the UIUC Student Sustainability Committee (SSC) and originally designed for the Orchard Downs student housing site, this project has been relocated to Allerton Park & Retreat Center and a future site at the UIUC Fruit Farm.  The original design included a "tour of trees" that would highlight the wide range of woody species producing edible fruits and nuts, with particular attention to species native to the Midwest US.  A pollinator strip was designated to provide the season-long flowering resources to draw in insects to pollinate fruiting plants.  Pathways for pedestrian circulation encourage interaction and education on the site.  This project will serve as a demonstration of sustainable landscape principles, representing the SSC's goals.  For more information or the latest updates, visit the dedicated project page: here.

Restoration and Education at Lincoln Quarry

The UIUC research team consisting of Sarah Taylor Lovell, DoKyoung Lee, Tom Voigt, and Jeff Matthews is developing a landscape plan for a quarry in Lincoln, IL.  The overall goal of the project is to preserve and encourage native plant communities, while educating the public about quarry restoration. The team will be surveying plant communities throughout the 2014 summer and proposing future enhancements for the site including new native plantings, control of invasive species, recreational pathways, and educational signage.  In September 2014, a project report was completed by all investigators for submission to the competition for the “Quarry Life Award”.  Our UIUC team was awarded second place in the National competition!  Photo credit: Jeff Matthews

Design for a three-lot urban farm
Multifunctional Buffers for Urban Agriculture

Multifunctional buffers on urban farms may serve to increase infiltration of stormwater, protect crops from drying winds, filter contaminated aerosols, improve aesthetics of the site, and provide additional marketable products from perennial plants. There has been no previous research on the use of multifunctional buffers on urban farms. Future studies will need to identify perennial species with marketable plant parts that are not exposed to or do not accumulate contaminants. Most woody crops (e.g., orchard trees and berry shrubs) would likely be safe for this application, unless excessive concentrations of contaminants are expected. Another potential consideration is the use of non-food crops, like perennial flowers, in multifunctional buffers to attract pollinators and reduce the likelihood of orally ingesting contaminants

Design for a proposed Research and Education Center
Multifunctional Landscape Alternative for the Field Research Station

The University of Illinois Field Research Station, known lo­cally as South Farm, is currently undergoing a redevelopment pro­cess.  The plan includes the relocation of the farm further south of the existing location, while still keeping the station close to the campus to promote student education, community outreach, and efficiency for researchers. The relocation of the South Farm offers a unique opportunity to create a program and design that will establish the station as a center of excellence in agricultural research and education on a global scale. This project explores novel design solu­tions for the expansion of the station, considering traditional and emerging research practices. A program was developed including an agroecology initiative, as well as opportunities to engage the public. The Master Plan seeks to develop an agricultural mission of the University to 1) reflect the importance of food produc­tion and security to the region, nation, and globe; 2) address emerging research questions of environmental and social sus­tainability of agricultural production processes; and 3) promote public understanding of modern farming techniques and issues.
Educational Landscape for Plant Science Building at University of Vermont

When a new LEED certified building was slated for Plant Sciences at University of Vermont, our group agreed to play an active role in planning the new landscape to support the mission of the department. Beginning with the development of initial concepts in the Sustainable Design Studio, the project moved from concept to design to implementation.  This landscape is now established with a food production system, edible ornamentals, plant collections, a mini-arboretum, and stormwater infiltration swales.  Students have been involved in planting and maintaining areas of the site through class activities and internships. This project is truly a "learning landscape".   Feedback from the administration suggests that the landscape (which cost a fraction of the total budget) is the most exciting new development!
Design for the landscape surrounding new LEED building
Landscape for 2011 Solar Decathlon House

Students were involved in the design and implementation of the landscape for the 2011 Solar Decathlon project, a U.S. Department of Energy challenge to design cost-effective and energy-efficient homes.  To participate, the home must be transported to Washington D.C., where it is evaluated on 10 major criteria over a 2-week period.  The UIUC submission, the Re_home, was designed for rapid assembly following a natural disaster such as a tornado.  The landscape included mostly edible plantings, that also had ornamental value, to ease the transition to a new home after a major event.  For more information, see the Re_home website, here.
Plantings for the installation of UIUC Solar Decathlon house