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© 2014 Department of Landscape Architecture, Cornell University

Landscape Change Lab

The Landscape Change Lab (LCL) is a new collaborative design research framework based within the Cornell University Department of Landscape Architecture. The LCL supports design research and investigation in both the studio setting and real landscapes with devices and instruments useful for modeling and monitoring landscape change ranging from demographic changes in human communities to phenotypic shifts in plants to sedimentary morphogenesis. The focus of the LCL is to provide the technical and institutional support for ongoing design research and engagement with concepts and issues related to landscape change at a range of temporal and spatial scales. This includes an emphasis on dynamic forms of physical and digital modeling, data visualization, and other forms of representation as well as fieldwork and 1:1 scale installations.

As a fundamentally synthetic concept, landscape demands an integrated approach to design research. The LCL enables us to integrate different types of expertise across disciplines through the development of pragmatic working methodologies and representations, with a goal of establishing long-term collaborations with a range of fields including architecture, hydrology, environmental engineering, and horticulture, among others. In landscape design research new methods need to be developed, adapted, and combined for each project, so the LCL facilitates moving between different modes of modeling and types of representation in order to test and develop design ideas. Our emphasis is on studying and understanding dynamic aspects of landscape, so our instruments enable fieldwork as well as simulation and 3D modeling of the processes of change.

While we believe instruments are a critical part of the process, we emphasize the use and development of tools and techniques that are both broadly applicable and understandable. The intent is to enable the delivery of high-quality information while encouraging dissemination of results, and to develop sophisticated design research approaches that are relatively fast, inexpensive, and appropriately scaled. These are intended to be part of a suite of technologies that are applicable in difficult environments, such as informal communities or post-disaster situations, as well as making them broadly available to communities and in professional practice.

Here you can find a brief overview of some of the individual projects that the LCL has been involved with. If you have further questions please feel free to contact professor Brian Davis.


[Students in the LA 7010 graduate studio run scenarios on the geomorphology table, testing how shape changes to the banks of the Buffalo River might affect sedimentation patterns over time]


[Students in the LA 7010 graduate studio doing low-altitude aerial photography of the Tifft Nature Preserve in Buffalo, NY to map and study plant distribution patterns and circulation systems]