Landscape architecture study places value on Klyde Warren Park, other urban spaces

December 19, 2013
Taner Özdil, an associate professor of landscape architecture and associate director for the Center for Metropolitan Density, reviews case studies with Dylan Stewart (left) and Sameepa Modi. Both Stewart and Modi are master's students in landscape architecture. Credit: UT Arlington

A UT Arlington landscape architect and his graduate students have published three case studies for the 2013 Case Study Investigation Series for the Landscape Architecture Foundation that help show environmental, economic and social benefits of notable projects in that sector.

The case studies analyze the benefits of Klyde Warren Park in Dallas, the University of Texas at Dallas Campus Landscape Plan and Buffalo Bayou Promenade in Houston. In the case of Klyde Warren Park, the research team said the park has contributed to increased property values for nearby property, increased physical activity among patron and helps reduce in its urban setting.

Taner Özdil, an associate professor of and associate director for the Center for Metropolitan Density, was named a fellow of the Landscape Architecture Foundation this year. He directed the studies as part of the foundation's Landscape Performance Series, an online, interactive set of resources and tools that help designers, agencies and advocates make the case for sustainable landscape solutions.

"There is a growing call to explain the impact of landscape architecture and what it does," said Özdil, whose team included landscape architecture master candidates Sameepa Modi and Dylan Stewart. "We are a part of that call."

Each project was noteworthy for the way it creates a sense of place and asserts economic viability within its context, Özdil said. Researchers said they hope that the knowledge and lessons discovered through examination of these landmark projects will inform future landscapes in other urbanizing areas.

Don Gatzke, dean of the UT Arlington School of Architecture, said that establishing value for public projects such as parks is a relatively new area of research and study for the design community.

"The world will begin to use this area of study more and more as entities try to tell public and private shareholders what a project is worth," Gatzke said. "We're ecstatic that Dr. Özdil is a leader in this area of study in its beginning stages."

In the case of Klyde Warren Park, Özdil and his team showed that 69 percent of park users surveyed said visiting the park increased their outdoor activity. The also showed that the park mitigates 18,500 pounds of carbon dioxide annually through newly planted trees.

Another finding showed increases in property values near the park. The nearby 21-story 2000 McKinney Tower saw a 65 percent increase in value for 2013 compared with 2008 values, for example.

The case studies of Buffalo Bayou Promenade and the UT Dallas plan measured similar criteria.

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