College of Agriculture & Natural Resources
Landscape Architecture

MLA Student Thesis Projects

MLA Thesis Projects

Ever wonder what kind of thesis projects our students worked on while here in our program? Check out the topics our students, now alumni, explored!

Quicklinks: 2017-2018 | 2016-20172015-2016 | 2014-2015| 2013-2014 | 2012-2013| 2011-2012 | 2010-2011

2016-2017 [top]

Renee LaGue

Wild to Wildscape: Designing the Urban Wild

Urban wasteland, terrain vague, postindustrial site, urban wild and wildscape: these are but a few of the terms describing sites which have been disturbed by humans and contain novel or spontaneous vegetation. In this thesis, I investigate the literature for examples of how designers can act upon these sites such that they provide the social, environmental, and artistic benefits of being ‘designed’ without destroying existing vegetative wildness and historical traces. I organize 35 terms into three categories describing the spaces as either negative, empty, or by vegetation type. I find that most design suggestions lie along three axes: history, vegetation, and access/interactivity, along with a general principle of ‘minimal intervention.’ Finally, I synthesize the literature review and precedents and apply what I have found to a test design site, a portion of a former railroad right of way in Alexandria, Virginia.

Charles Dylan Reilly

Walk Along the River: Community Design Process for the Norton Riverwalk

The City of Norton, nestled in Southwest Virginia’s coal country, has a proposed 2-mile Riverwalk running along the Guest River and connecting to an existing Safe Routes to School sidewalk. The designer employed informal interviews, a design charrette, and formal presentations during the summer of 2016 to better understand the challenges and opportunities for the Riverwalk. Design ideas from the community engagement process were triangulated and compared against the site analysis, to better understand which ideas had the most support and were feasible. The resulting design from this process focused on improving pedestrian connectivity; improving quality of life for residents and attracting visitors; and telling Norton’s history, from towering chestnuts to coal mining. The community engagement process reached about 145 people and produced media buzz for the project with four front-page articles in local and regional newspapers. The charrette brought residents from diverse perspectives to the design table.

Che Wei Yi

Transforming Vacant Land: A Green Infrastructure Master Plan for the Neighborhood of Druid Heights, Baltimore

Vacant properties often become an invitation for crime, dumping, and other unwanted activities and are associated with lower property values; increased municipal costs; and poorer health outcomes. However, vacancy can be viewed as an asset for the community and an opportunity for productive reuse. Well-maintained urban green spaces can reduce crime, strengthen social ties, and improve physical and mental health. The green infrastructure master plan for the neighborhood of Druid Heights is a response to findings from the site inventory and analysis and the community and stakeholder engagement process, which indicate a lack of recreational and natural amenities, poor public health outcomes, and high crime rates. By improving access to recreational and natural amenities and creating a connected series of green spaces, the design of this thesis addresses the high vacancy rate of Druid Heights and promotes recreation and social interaction to improve the public health outcomes of neighborhood residents.

Katelin Posthuma

Kintsugi: A New Framework For Post-Industrial Transformation

This thesis uses the Morse Chain factory in Ithaca, New York as a testing ground for the development and exploration of the kintsugi framework as a method for transformation of large-scale postindustrial sites. Deindustrialization has had a profoundly destabilizing effect on many communities that were depended on industry. Abandoned industrial facilities are one of the primary visual markers of deindustrialization. Landscape architects employ two strategies for reclaiming these spaces - the conceal/camouflage approach or the reveal/reinterpret approach. These two approaches are typically presented in opposition to each other, which limits the design potential of these sites The kintsugi framework blends these two operating modes, creating an exciting and interesting operating field for the transformation of post-industrial sites. Based on the traditional Japanese method of repairing broken pottery with gold inlay. This technique incorporates damage as the central element for metamorphosis and change.

2015-2016 [top]

Nathan Allen

Mowing To Growing: Transforming A Municipal Golf Course to Urban Agriculture In Baltimore City

This thesis demonstrates how landscape architects can transform underused golf course facilities located within cities for urban agriculture (UA). In the last decade more than 1000 golf courses have closed in the United States. Municipal golf courses represent some of the largest pieces of open space in cities and because of their inherent infrastructure they can provide the ideal location to support large-scale UA. In Southwest Baltimore large food deserts are a serious health concern and represent a lack of access to healthy food options for residents. Carroll Urban Agriculture Park is a design response resulting from a detailed analysis of the existing Carroll Park Golf Course and the surrounding community of Southwest Baltimore. The design will create an urban farm in a park-like setting to provide readily accessible healthy food options and various educational opportunities, and to support current and future urban agriculture related businesses in Baltimore.

Kathleen Hayes

Regenerative Stormwater Conveyance: Design Implications Of An Urban Case Demonstration in Baltimore, Maryland

This research-design thesis explores the implementation of Regenerative Stormwater Conveyance (RSC) as a retrofit of an existing impervious drainage system in a small catchment in the degraded Jones Falls watershed in Baltimore City. An introduction to RSC is provided, placing its development within a theoretical context of novel ecosystems, biomimicry and Nassauer and Opdam’s (2008) model of landscape innovation. The case site is in Baltimore’s Hampden neighborhood on City-owned land adjacent to rowhomes, open space and an access point to a popular wooded trail along a local stream. The design proposal employs RSC to retrofit an ill-performing stormwater system, simultaneously providing a range of ecological, social and economic services; water quantity, water quality and economic performance of the proposed RSC are quantified. While the proposed design is site-specific the model is adaptable for retrofitting other small-scale impervious drainage systems, providing a strategic tool in addressing Baltimore City’s stormwater challenges.

Jun Jiang

A More Complete Street A Street For Everyone To Enjoy, North East Street, Frederick, Maryland - A Design Investigation Of Different Street Design Theories

This design-research thesis suggests that the improvement of North East Street performances by using Complete Streets, Green Street, Place Making and Context Sensitive Solution principles and practices. Heavily used by a variety of users, often conflicting with one another, University of Maryland Campus Drive would benefit from a major planning and design amelioration to meet the increasing demands of serving as a city main street. The goal of this thesis project is to prioritize the benefits for pedestrians in the right-of-way and improve the pedestrian experience. This goal also responds to the recent North East Street Extension Phrase I of economic renaissances. The goal of this design-research thesis will be achieved focusing on four aspects. First, the plans and designs will suggest to building mixed use blocks, increase the diversity of street economic types and convenience of people’s living. Second, design and plans will propose bike lanes, separate driving lanes from sidewalks and bike lanes by street tree planters, and narrow driving lanes to reduce vehicular traffic volume and speed in order to reduce pedestrian and vehicle conflicts. Third, plans and designs will introduce bioswales, living walls and raingardens to treat and reuse rain water. Finally, the plans and designs will seek to preserve local culture and history by adding murals and farmers market. The outcome of the design-research thesis project is expected to serve as an example of implementing Complete Streets, Green Street, Place Making and Context Sensitive Solution principles and practices in urban landscape, where transportation, environment and social needs interact with each other.

Amina Mohamed

Shifting Scales, Adjusting Lenses: A Framework For Investigating Baltimore's Urban Vacancy

This thesis addresses contemporary gaps of vacancy within literature by using qualitative and quantitative methods and tools to determine the quantity, location, and interspatial relationships of vacant buildings and lots located in Baltimore Maryland. Spatial analyses were conducted to answer three questions of vacancy: 1) how many vacant lots and buildings exist, 2) whether there are spatial patterns of vacancy, such as clustering around geographic locations or within watersheds, and 3) how to prioritize intervention opportunities that respond to the city's larger issues? Using the city’s vacant lot and building data-sets, two concepts emerged from these investigations. First, Utilized Landscapes as a classification system that identifies lands that serve a function but have un-traditional qualities that make them susceptible to being labeled “vacant.” Second, the development of Transitional Zones, geographical areas with a high density of vacant buildings or lots that should be prioritized.

George Sorvalis

Maximizing Landscape Performance At Advetist Hospital: Healing The People, Healing Sligo Creek

This paper answers the question of whether a design intervention on Washington Adventist Hospital’s Takoma Park campus can combine stormwater Best Management Practices with outdoor healing spaces, to improve the health of the local creek (Sligo Creek) while creating a restorative environment for the hospital community. To improve the health of Sligo Creek, a campus-wide stormwater analysis was undertaken, in addition to an intervention-site-specific stormwater analysis, and a literature review of stormwater best management practices. To create a restorative environment, a literature review of healing gardens was undertaken, in addition to a campus-wide site analysis, to uncover the most ideally suited site to create a restorative environment.

Nicholas Yoder

More than 1,400 golf facilities in the United States have closed permanently since 2001, part of a natural supply correction, as well as a reflection of the fluctuating interest in the game. Through their design, golf courses inherently preserve a singular form of open, green space. In their most dynamic form, they are culturally integral landscapes with vibrant ecosystems that provide wildlife habitat. They represent some of the largest ‘undeveloped’ spaces in United States’ cities. Each golf course closing represents a single patch of many that, with sound design, could be woven together through a common purpose, like a landscape quilt. Through a site-specific analysis, the resulting design proposal for Wakefield Wildlife Reservation is a new type of landscape for the city of Westminster, MD, serving as an example for future projects. It will provide valuable habitat and dynamic recreational space, while expressing site and regional history.

2014-2015 [top]

Robyn Edwards

There is a growing interest in evidence-based design in landscape architecture. This is an exploratory study of the choice experiment method: an economic approach used by many other disciplines but not yet landscape architecture, to collect empirical evidence on the public's preferences for different landscape design characteristics. A choice experiment was conducted for an open space development in downtown Baltimore. The outcomes of the experiment provided a basis for the design of a downtown surface parking lot into a public open space. Design decisions were made with better clarity and confidence that the design solution could maximize utility and value to the public.
 

Jonathan Gemmell

This thesis studies how playscapes and nature play offer alternatives to traditional playground designs by encouraging multiple facets of childhood development. Playscapes promote play spaces that integrate physical, mental, and educational features. Harnessing the malleability of the natural landscape provides clear developmental advantages that surpass traditional structure-based playground design and provide opportunities for building environmental literacy. After combining research with feedback taken from site users, a design will be proposed for the exterior of Riverdale Elementary School, in Riverdale Maryland. Anacostia Watershed Society has received a grant for implementing stormwater controls and improving the quality of the nearby Wells Run stream. The design of this project will show how it will be possible to combine playscape, nature play, and environmental literacy goals with stormwater storage and treatment to transform the school's environment.

Harris Trobman

The focus of this thesis is the design and implementation of a community health project at a new school campus for 600 students in St. Louis Du Norde, Haiti. The design harvests and filters rainwater to drinking water standards, grows nutritional vegetable crops on secure rooftops, creates social space, and recycles old tires, plastic bottles and rice sacks that otherwise pose a massive solid waste problem in Haiti. The processes are also taught to the students so they can take and use the planters at home. The materials for building the growing containers and the growing media are all free and made from local wastes (tires, plastic bottles, rice sacks, manure, soil etc.). They are easy to build and free to construct making them accessible to even to the poorest and neediest families in Haiti. The idea is to develop easily replicable and desirable solutions to the basic health needs.

2013-2014 [top]

Nancy Britt

By the nature of their shared locality, greenway corridors and the communities along them share a unique set of socio-cultural and ecological resources that are rooted in the greenway's landscape form and character. When unified, greenways and surrounding communities foster a sense place that is deeply site specific. This thesis explores the unique characteristics of greenway landscapes, using them as a basis for formulating cohesive design criteria for creating vibrant greenway-adjacent communities. These criteria offer solutions for balancing growth and conservation strategies to guide community design within the framework of the greenway, achieve community and greenway sustainability, and support the integrity of the landscape. Using a site along Maryland's Patapsco River Valley, this thesis demonstrates how these criteria can work towards achieving an ideal community form where design highlights unique site features to create awareness of and support for the greenway context.

Shoshanah Haberman

This thesis proposes affordable and adaptable modular balcony and patio gardens as a way to mitigate the increasing alienation between urban apartment renters and the land. These modules would adapt the concept of a garden to the compact reality of urban densification with an aim towards mitigation of urban stresses and improved well-being of apartment renters. Large-scale implementation would have environmental benefits, including stormwater capture and treatment, pollution control and heat island effect mitigation. This thesis design also has the potential to encourage renters, garden supply retailers, landscape professionals, architects and developers to incorporate private gardens, on a more extensive basis, into the fabric of the urban built environment.  

Paul Jester

A powerful tool currently being used by architects and planners, parametric design has yet to be embraced by landscape architects. Through research and design, this thesis seeks to answer two questions: what is parametric design and how can it benefit the field of landscape architecture? Looking at historical and present-day sources, the evolution of computer aided design has been drawn out leading to the emergence of parametric design. An explanation and analysis of parametric tools, including a series of case studies, has been conducted to show how these tools are presently being utilized by designers. Utilizing parametric methods and tools, a design proposal was created to renovate a waterfront site in Baltimore, MD that focused on highlighting the city history and promoting health for the local residents and inner harbor.

Amy Marin

Food deserts and food insecurity are public health concerns, associated with negative health outcomes for children and adults and connected to poverty, racial disparities, and other social inequalities. Urban agriculture offers one solution to the food accessibility issues in West Baltimore. Besides the initial purpose of food production, urban agriculture can play an important role in contributing at varying scales to the social interactions and economic viability of communities. These multifunctional landscapes can be used as design solutions for challenges posed by urban development. This thesis explores the roles that landscape architecture and urban agriculture can play in improving food environments for schools, families, and communities located in urban food deserts. This investigation examines urban agricultural planning strategies that address food accessibility issues and yield fresh produce, while also providing valuable public open space for community members. This project applies these strategies to the West Baltimore neighborhood of Poppleton to offer a critique of proposed urban agriculture solutions.

Adriana Mendoza

The essence of this thesis is to explore what form public art takes on in order to visualize Anacostia's community identity during the urban revitalization of the neighborhood. The current small and large-scale revitalization efforts by the City (Washington D.C.) are showing change in both the physical and social fabric of the community and neighborhood. As a predominantly African American community that has faced disinvestment and injustices--socially, economically, and politically--many residents are concerned that these City efforts will physically displace them, as well as the collective memory of the community. This thesis seeks to transform a vacant lot, slated for development, into a temporary, transient, multi-functional public art design for engaging the community in the process of exploration and expression of their community identity. Public art is used as a strategy to provide a platform for residents to effectively become present, visible and audible at a time when many residents feel as though they are not part of Anacostia's future.

Joshua Silverstein

Experiences of landscape journey are informed and mitigated by modalities of place-based practices. Historically, documentation and transmission of landscape knowledge was limited to narratives of those with power and influence. Today, the democratization of power and decentralization of knowledge, particularly as affected by technology, are projected to affect powerful changes for our future. This project creates innovation in place-based learning through an interdisciplinary approach combining landscape design for outdoor learning environments with collaborative curriculum development. Educators from Gesher Jewish Day School in Fairfax, VA were involved in this collaboration that has yielded an exciting, fresh approach to engaging student relationships to landscape. Students connect to narratives of landscape journey and experience in Jewish tradition while engaging in guided personal explorations of place. In the process, new wisdom, the "Torah of Place," is generated, documented and transmitted through both traditional sense-of-place activities and pedagogies integrating modern mobile technology such as smartphones and tablets.

Elisabeth Walker

Even though sustainability is defined by four parameters - ecological, economic, social and cultural, sustainable design is essentially reduced to ecological and economic aspects (Nadenicek et al., 2000). That narrowed focus ignores those, on whom sustainable development depends on: people and their physical manifestation, culture. Sustainable design depends on both economic and ecological health, cultural vitality (Lister, 2007) and stewardship. When sustainable development does not encourage stewardship, it is prone to fail in the long term (Nassauer, 2011). This design-research thesis focuses on the socio-cultural aspects of sustainable design and the role of participatory engagement in identifying the social and cultural layers of Whitmore Park. It explores how cultural and social factors can inform a sustainable redesign of the neglected 0.7-acre Whitmore Park in Annapolis, MD. The project also helps the community to save the park´s existence through creating a common, sustainable long-term vision for it. In order to create that vision, the designer used various community engagement methods to reconnect the communities to their plaza, and to explore socio-cultural sustainable design approaches. The park´s new aesthetics, functions and programming are driven by the results of the community engagements, as well as the SITEs (Sustainable Sites Initiative) design recommendations. The citizens´ involvement, as well as the socio-culturally sensitive and aesthetically pleasing design will foster a sense of community, and pride, which are important conditions for stewardship and therefore, sustainable development.

Travis Wierengo

Coastal communities along the Mid-Atlantic shoreline are facing difficult decisions moving forward into the 21st Century. The Rockaway Peninsula exemplifies many issues urban coastlines are facing. Environmental degradation, historic urban infill and development, a stagnant economy, and aging infrastructure, are only a few dilemmas communities along the Rockaway Peninsula are dealing with in the wake of the most current natural disaster that has left many questioning the future development of the area. This thesis explores what roles a Small Craft Harbor (SCH) could function as within an urban setting along the Atlantic coastline. The project will offer suggestions as to how programmatic elements within SCH development along the back bay shoreline of the Rockaway Peninsula, could serve to protect and enhance not only the human communities residing on the peninsula, but ecological systems fighting for survival within the back bay waters of the Jamaica Bay.

2012-2013 [top]

Risa Abraham

This thesis explores the direct and indirect role of landscape architecture in disaster risk reduction specifically focusing on designing and managing natural resources such as sun, wind and water as well as allocating infrastructure to improve the power and transportation system on the public, private and regulatory levels that can prove to endure the impact of a hurricane and promote a "culture of prevention." Every year a significant amount of damage is cause by natural disasters throughout the whole world. This highlighted the importance of mitigating the adverse impacts of disasters through the process of disaster risk reduction. The architecture, landscape architecture and urban design disciplines and the construction industry have a strong relationship with disaster management and therefore provide a high need in identifying how landscape architecture can contribute towards disaster risk reduction. This thesis focuses on the role of the design and construction industry, specifically the landscape architecture profession, in disaster risk reduction. A two-step approach was formalized to develop an understanding and to produce a design proposal based on the practice and theories of landscape architecture. The first step explores the definition of disasters and risk and provides a comprehensive literature review on disaster mitigation. The second step includes the systematic development and application of these policies, strategies and practices to limit or avoid the effects of hazards in the form of a three-tiered detailed design and mitigation plan. The findings from both steps will be applied to re-design the town of Christiansted, St. Croix, in the United States Virgin Islands.

Sarah Capps Ashmun

Characterized by pervasive symptoms of intrusion, numbing, and hyperarousal, coping with PTSD can be a tenacious and lifelong challenge for sufferers (Cahill and Foa 2010). Given the recent surge of war veterans resulting from Operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom with a high prevalence of PTSD, landscapes may provide a free and accessible means for veterans to successfully cope with their PTSD symptoms and seek treatment. The intention of this project is to merge holistic therapies for PTSD with successful landscapes for trauma patients into the creation of adaptable design principles. Guiding Principles for PTSD will be incorporated into the design of a Healing Woodland for wounded warriors at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, while also providing potential solutions for other sites aiming to incorporate holistic therapies for PTSD into the landscape.

Matthew Busa

Like many post-industrial cities in the Midwestern United States, Cleveland is shrinking. A decline in its manufacturing-based economy in the late 20th century has led to unemployment and outmigration, eroding the quality of life and economic stability of inner city neighborhoods. Traditional planning strategies that rely heavily on growth as a means of addressing shrinking city problems have proven to be somewhat ineffective. This thesis explores an alternative planning approach suggesting that Cleveland might successfully shrink into an archipelago of small, sustainable neighborhood islands while failed neighborhoods would be converted to productive "green belts". This project applies this approach to the site of an under-utilized municipal airport, proposing a new design that enhances the social, economic, and environmental sustainability of Downtown Cleveland. Specifically, the design solution promotes transit-oriented development, connects existing neighborhoods to the waterfront, cleans polluted water, and re-uses dredge material to create a recreational and ecological landscape.

Emilie Carroll Carter

Interpretive signage, murals, and art installations are an important element of passive outdoor education for those who do not have formal education or knowledge about how landscapes work. The inclusion of passive education in projects has become increasingly necessary as new types of green infrastructures such as rain gardens, bioswales, and floating wetlands, are introduced to the landscape. Landscape architects can contribute to educational efforts by including interpretive signage on a site. While this practice is being implemented among many sites around the United States, it is unclear how effective these installations are in educating the public - specifically adults. This thesis project takes an in-depth look at the effectiveness of interpretive signage located around low-impact design elements and proposes a set of best practices for designing sites with interpretive signage. To support the best practices, data is being collected at two sites with methods that include surveying site occupants, field observation of occupant interactions with signage, and interviews with project designers. Initial data analysis from the pilot study shows that interpretive signage does positively affect people's views on environmentally sensitive design, but a variety of factors such as signage location and visibility of installation can affect the percentage of people who read signage.

Mingyu Cui

This design-research thesis suggests that the improvement of campus roadway facilities using Complete Streets principle and practices can enhance the overall pedestrian experience. Campus Drive, one of the main arterials in the College Park campus of the University of Maryland, will be used as a case study. Heavily used by a variety of users, often conflicting with one another, University of Maryland Campus Drive would benefit from a major planning and design amelioration to meet the increasing demands of serving as a university main street. The goal of this thesis project is to prioritize the benefits for pedestrians in the right-of-way and improve the pedestrian experience on campus. This goal also responds to the recent Facilities Master Plan vision of building a more walkable campus. The goal of this design-research thesis will be achieved focusing on four aspects. First, design and plans will discourage cut-through driving to reduce vehicular traffic volume on Campus Drive in order to reduce pedestrian and vehicle conflicts. Second, plans and designs will clarify cyclists' use of the right-of-way and create a built environment that will reduce and hopefully eliminate current riding on pedestrian sidewalk. Third, the case study seeks to improve public transit facilities on Campus Drive to better serve users of which the majorities travel as pedestrians on campus. Finally, the case study seeks to improve pedestrian facilities to enhance pedestrian connectivity, accessibility, and overall experience on University of Maryland Campus Drive. Campus Drive roadway facilities will be inventoried. Roadway segments typologies will be identified and classified. A toolkit, road improvement design interventions, will be developed based on this classification. An improved master plan will be developed utilizing the toolkit while considering the specific site context around specific segments and the overall functions carried by Campus Drive as a campus main street. Detailed plans and designs will be developed for focus areas that demonstrate the goals and objectives. The outcome of the design-research thesis project is expected to serve as an example of implementing Complete Streets principles and practices in urban commuter university campuses, where transportation needs and institutional functions interact with each other.

Laura Kendrick

As urbanization increases, many cities will reassess their land use policies and practices to establish a balance between densification and ecological sustainability. Creating and improving urban wildlife habitat can increase biodiversity and provide places for people to experience native vegetation and animals. Among the inspiring collection of culturally significant places, Washington, DC has many small reserve parks. For wildlife habitat to be sufficient, larger tracts are often needed. This thesis project capitalizes on one such expanse along the Anacostia River by proposing the area surrounding Robert F. Kennedy stadium and its parking lots become places where habitat is integrated into the urban fabric. Integration means creating spaces where humans and wildlife coexist, each enhancing the lives of the other by their interactions. Healthy ecosystems are a piece of the sustainability puzzle, and the future of the world's cities must include the application of ecological knowledge in designing urban spaces.

Wenjie Li

In 2010, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) determined the Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL), a "pollution diet", for the Chesapeake Bay watershed for six states (New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia) and the District of Columbia. The EPA required responsible agencies to develop statewide Phase I Watershed Implementation Plans (WIPs) to support the implementation for TMDLs. Previous planning efforts included the development of Subwatershed Action Plans (SWAPs), which provided a baseline of conditions, proposed tools for achieving TMDL reductions and visions for the subwatersheds. In 2012, the Phase II WIP process was developed to refine Phase I plans at the county level, including more local details about a variety of green infrastructure interventions to optimize nutrient and sediment load reductions. While green roofs were considered an important tool in the SWAP plans, they were not included in Prince George's County's Phase II WIP plans. Recently, Prince George's County has implemented a new green roof incentive policy. In light of this new policy, this research explores how green roofs might contribute to reducing TMDLs. The research uses Brier's Mill Run Subwatershed as a case study to demonstrate the benefits of both the incentives and the green roof as a tool in the SWAP plan. The objective of this research is first to document the specific role of green roofs in stormwater management in Brier's Mill Run Subwatershed. Secondly, the thesis provides three metrics to measure and compare the stormwater management benefits of each proposed institutional green roof in the research site. The third goal is to use a scenario approach to achieve school green roofs benefits that contribute to the stormwater management goals of the subwatershed.

Nicholas Patrick

The focus of this thesis is on temporary artscapes - public installations that are originally-creative and intentionally-temporary in some way. A temporary art installation has the ability to quickly and clearly transform a place, increase our understanding and awareness of a particular site, and redefine and highlight the importance of public space. This design-research thesis proposes that temporary artscapes have the capacity to significantly alter the experience of a landscape. Through the investigation and evaluation of the theories, intentions and working methods of the artists, landscape architects, and architects involved in recent projects, this thesis explores the value of temporary artscapes in landscape-design. Two key research investigations assist this investigation. Designing the Experience explores the artistic process of designing a temporary installation, through the collaborative designing and building of a temporary art installation with a sixth-grade class at the British School of Washington. Experiencing the Design explores the experience of a temporary art installation from the perspective of the public audience, through the surveying of people during a temporary art installation in a prominent public space at the University of Maryland. The outcomes of the investigation and two research investigations determine my strategy in choosing a site within the University of Maryland campus in which to design and test a conceptual temporary artscape.

Erica Thum

This design-research thesis proposes the redesign of Tide Lock Park in Alexandria, Virginia as an exploration of light. By researching the cultural history of artificial lighting as well as the sculptural use of light as art, this thesis seeks to distinguish lighting design that goes beyond functional and safety concerns to include design that honors the human relationship to darkness, as well as the artistic and emotive qualities of lighting. To accomplish these goals, this thesis proposes a landscape design for Tide Lock Park which meets the City of Alexandria's objectives as described in the Waterfront Small Area Plan. The design includes three distinctive areas of light, providing visitors the opportunity to engage the night in multiple ways.

Sarah Watling

Swaziland's Ngwenya Mines, the oldest known mine in the world, has been a source of ochre for cultural use for over 43,000 years. Until the 20th Century, extraction at Ngwenya Mine left an imperceptible mark on the landscape until industrial technology enabled new mining practices that have dramatically and irrevocably altered this landscape. The intent of this thesis is to further the development of mine reclamation models and ultimately benefit similar sites around the world. By building on current mine reclamation strategies where Land Art is a mediator between ecology and industry, this thesis focuses on the important story Ngwenya Mine can tell. With no intervention, the conclusion will be an untreated landscape with limited potential. With creative design responses, a story of cultural and ecological integrity can persist into the future.

2011-2012 [top]

Michael Boeck

Erosion in the Chesapeake Bay area occurs naturally and unnaturally. It is a concern for property owners, environmentalists, and communities. New legislation in Maryland specifies "living shoreline" as the preferred type of erosion control. Long-term success of the legislation depends on public support. Choosing to restore degraded or structural shorelines is an expensive undertaking and arguments that rely on environmental benefits alone are insufficient. The key is to develop, design, and promote erosion control devices that meet property owner and community goals. This research-design thesis asks the following question: As `living shorelines' become the preferred method of shoreline erosion control in the Chesapeake Bay, how can these shorelines be designed to meet the goals of property owners and residents, while being environmentally sensitive? The author argues that shoreline designers must integrate human dimensions research as well as scientific research into their designs in order to encourage widespread implementation.

Zoe Clarkwest

This interdisciplinary research-design thesis explores the role of resident engagement in developing a design criteria for urban stormwater runoff design solutions, urban greening, and activating public spaces in the urbanized McElderry Park neighborhood of Baltimore. Drawing upon stakeholder and resident interviews, community workshops, resident working groups, and site observations and analysis the designer developed design criteria for site interventions as well as neighborhood-wide programming elements. Residents identify jobs, safety and health as primary concerns. Beyond harvesting stormwater, site interventions must provide safety, education, entrepreneurial opportunities, exercise, etc. Building on community input, the design interventions proposed by the designer are site specific, but the intervention types are readily adaptable. The overall design process and programming strategies apply to a variety of urban sites. Given the amount of stormwater managed by the interventions, the potential jobs created by the interventions, and other benefits provided to residents, the model merits field testing at the neighborhood scale.

Allison Jensen

The artful management of stormwater has a capability to create educational arenas by combining environmentally sensitive rainwater design with education. School settings provide great opportunities for integrating on-site stormwater treatment into many aspects of the curriculum from the sciences to the arts. Presently, urban settings have new initiatives for creating green schools, which covers all levels of sustainability for the campus. This research project focuses on the development of stormwater and water-related designs for Georgetown Visitation Preparatory School in Georgetown, Washington DC. The main research is an assessment of the school's existing stormwater usage and runoff and also evaluating possibilities for new stormwater management techniques to be a supplement to curriculum.

Joyce Kelley

This thesis proposes a redesign of a waterfront park in South Baltimore, Maryland. Middle Branch Park, located one mile south of Baltimore's Inner Harbor, offers a unique opportunity to restore a degraded shoreline in the context of watershed stewardship. This thesis strives to reestablish Middle Branch as a functional critical buffer within the urban fabric of Baltimore city by utilizing shoreline restoration techniques, stormwater management and floating wetlands. The issues of water quality within the Middle Branch and the surrounding area are reflected in the design decisions. The design focuses on visualizing the hydrology of water in the landscape and creates opportunities for people to be within the water-landscape. Moreover, within this design the dynamic overlap of water and land is used as design tool to interconnect education, health and community within the new park design.

Kory Kreiseder

The National Grove of State Trees at the United States National Arboretum is in need of redesign to meet ecological and social needs. The Grove serves as a scientific and cultural landscape and can be repurposed to serve the public as an ecological demonstration for contemporary environmental issues. In an intensive effort to clean up the local rivers of the District of Columbia and the Chesapeake Bay, the two agencies of the District Department of the Environment and DC Water have enacted stormwater runoff fees, based on impervious surface fees, on all property owners located in the District of Columbia. The redesign of the Grove is compounded by the Arboretum's need to add more parking to the area where the Grove is currently located. The objective of this thesis is to reimagine the design and interpretation of the Grove as well as address the impervious area charge assessments.

Rosamaria Mora Montenegro

"Puertas", translated as portals or gateways, give residents and visitors the first visual images of the city. Their importance depends in the way they connect two areas, as well as in the way they give identity to the city as a whole. With the expansion of the city, the Historic District of Panama (Casco Antiguo) lost part of its defensive wall and its two original city entrances: Puerta de Tierra (Land Gateway) and Puerta de Mar (Water Gateway).When these elements were destroyed, the city lost part of its physical boundaries and part of its identity as a fortified colonial settlement. This thesis is a historical and design investigation into the role of city entrances and how their interpretation in Casco Antiguo can improve the visitor's experience. The reinterpretation of these entrances will also mark the boundaries of the Historic District that function as meaningful links between Casco Antiguo and its surrounding areas.

Kimberly Moyer

An interesting line of tension happens when wildness is physically juxtaposed with order. This tension is an emblematic feature of the urban wildscape. This research/design thesis explores ways to inject qualities of wildness into the urban environment where order, functionality, and safety are a necessary part of the landscape. The exploration is primarily focused on aesthetics; the full engagement of the senses in the perception of the environment. Nevertheless, the sustainability of urban wildscapes has important implications for its survivability. With appropriate research and design, a degraded urban landscape can be transformed into a minimal maintenance wildscape. The goal of this project is to identify design parameters and apply them to a specific place: Baltimore's "Highway to Nowhere" with designed acts of intervention and a restrained approach to maintenance. The intent of these interventions is to encourage a predictable succession of urban wildlife habitats with varying levels of human presence.

Chris Myers

This paper will discuss design elements to enhance pollinator and avian diversity on a green roof in the District of Columbia. Biodiversity trends on green roofs in Canada, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, and the United States are discussed. Focusing on North America, reconciliation ecology is explored through the use of case studies. The design process for designing a green roof is divided into three parts: identifying program goals, site analysis, and design concept. Design guidelines are extrapolated from conservation literature for the creation of green roofs that support pollinator and avian habitat. These "bioroofs" will be draped over the United States Coast Guard Headquarters building which will serve as a template for creating a green roof to target the least tern, the killdeer, the butterfly and the bee, in the District of Columbia.

Matthew Sickle

This design-research thesis suggests the creation of a memorial commemorating the Civilian Public Service (CPS), a World War II era program of alternative service for conscientious objectors. Through an exploration of memorial culture, the thesis seeks to distinguish the commemoration of nonviolence from the commemoration of war and to propose a memorial that inspires its visitors to consider nonviolence and conscientious objection as positive aspects of American culture. To accomplish these goals, a memorial composed of modular commemorative elements was designed. Rearranging this kit of parts in combination with a new group of locally appropriate trees, the memorial will relocate to a different American city each year and return to Washington, D.C. every four years. With the growth of a new grove of trees and its donation to the neighborhood the memorial inhabits, the latter will draw attention to the history and the variety of services performed by the CPS.

2010-2011 [top]

Kameron Aroom

This thesis proposes the adaptive reuse of the Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge, located in Washington, D.C. into an urban park dedicated to the pedestrian experience. Also named the South Capitol Street Bridge, the bridge currently serves as the vital connection between the north and south quadrants of the District of Columbia. With plans to replace the existing bridge, and by utilizing the existing infrastructure, Riverpark will serve as the green link enhancing the pedestrian and cycling experiences between the Capitol Riverfront and Poplar Point across the Anacostia River in southeast Washington.

Wei Xing

This thesis is a design study of a residential community in Langley Park, Maryland with a diverse international population, a mix of mid-twentieth century housing stock, and a car-oriented commercial center. Langley Park will experience dramatic changes over the next ten years as the proposed transit center and light rail line is realized. The study proposes a new way for landscape architects to approach community design. It suggests that by consulting the scholarship of place attachment, designers can develop design strategies and apply them in design practice. Five strategies are proposed. Following a site analysis which identified assets and problems, the author established design objectives that would enhance the community's character and repair damage caused by a lack of connectivity. This thesis suggests designers can incorporate the concepts found in the literature of place attachment and thereby develop strategies to successfully achieve the design objectives.

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