College of Agriculture & Natural Resources
Landscape Architecture

MLA Courses

Learning Outcomes & Examples of Student Work

  Fall Spring
Year 1 LARC 620 LARC 640 LARC 641 LARC 663
  LARC 452   LARC 720 LARC 461 
Year 2 LARC 642 LARC 670  LARC 648 
  LARC 721   LARC 671  
Year 3  LARC 420  LARC 748 LARC 799  
Year 1

LARC 452 - Green Infrastructure and Community Greening

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Course description: A critical look and exploration of green infrastructure (GI) elements in the built environment in contributing to ecosystems services and the sustainability of the built environment. The course explores the science, issues, challenges, and the policy, planning and design solutions offered by green infrastructure.

Learning outcomes:

After completing this course student will demonstrate through project deliverable and presentation

  1. a better understanding and knowledge of green infrastructure and community greening
  2. What are the primary process and patterns of vegetation in MD?
  3. What are the issues?
  4. What are national and state approaches to solving the issues?
  5. What are county and state approaches to solving the issues?
  6. What are site approaches to solving the issues?
  7. an understanding and working knowledge of green infrastructure and community greening in relationship to sustainability.
  8. an advancement in their written, programming, spatial organization, & graphic presentation and oral communication skills related to green infrastructure

 

LARC 620 - Graphic Tools for Landscape Representation

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Course description: This course integrates digital and analog methods of communication and provides an introduction to computer tools and techniques commonly used in landscape architecture practice. Non-drafting computer tools will be used to orient basic digital image capture, manipulation, and presentation formatting. Also includes techniques and application of various media for graphic communication associated with landscape architecture.

LARC 640 - Graduate Studio I

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Course description: Principles and techniques of design as applied to shaping the landscape developing concepts in visual thinking, environmental awareness, and design intervention through studio exercises and projects.

Learning outcomes:

The goal of this course is to encourage students’ individual design creativity and to augment this with some basic design principles. The objectives of this course are for students:

  1. to understand landscape architecture as a design process that leads to a product.
  2. to learn how to develop and apply strong design concepts and imagery.
  3. to understand the formation of human scale space and spatial connections.
  4. to understand to opportunities and constraints of using landforms, structures, and plants in design of the landscape.
  5. to learn how to produces office quality visual, oral, and written presentations.

LARC 461 - People and the Environment

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Course description: Focus is placed on human and environmental interactions. Students will look at both natural and built environments and how they influence human health and well-being. Many environmental settings will be examined. These include hospitals, public housing neighborhoods, school settings, retirement communities, transportation corridors and green spaces. We will also explore how racial and socio-economic factors affect living and working environmental conditions. Ultimately, students will be using this knowledge to create environments that support individuals, families and various community groups' health and well-being.

Learning outcomes:

Upon completion of this course, students will be able to:

  1. Describe how people interact with their environments.
  2. Link the relationship between landscape design and human functioning and well-being.
  3. Describe how people process information.
  4. Describe why people get mentally fatigued and the characteristics of restorative landscapes.
  5. Predict people’s preferred environments.
  6. Be ready to create restorative and healthy environments for people.
  7. Identify healthy places. 

LARC 641 - Graduate Studio II 

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Course description: Principles and techniques of site analysis, environmental design and site development for human settlements and interaction with natural systems. Will expand analytical skills through complex site design problems. Students will research, observe and apply low impact development and sustainable practices, become familiar with building and landscape types by investigating alternative arrangements on the land, and understand user needs and design for populations with a range of abilities. Will support LEED and sustainable practices and acknowledge the requirements of public health, safety, and welfare.

Learning outcomes:

  • Understand process as an integral part of design problem solving.
  • Become acquainted with Low Impact Development techniques.
  • Learn to critically analyze a variety of systems and apply their findings to sustainable, environmentally sound design solutions.
  • Explore controversies and differing points of view in regard to regulations, practices, and classifications.
  • Develop design methodologies that respond to all of the program objectives while exploring alternative arrangements and relationships of design and programmatic elements.

Upon successful completion of this course the student will be able to:

  • Synthesize design solutions
  • Establish links between site data, analysis, and design concepts
  • Understand and utilize critical thinking skills in problem solving
  • Explore planning, zoning, and design concepts to their conclusion
  • Establish a hierarchy of factors to critique a design
  • Develop more confidence in site planning and design problem solving
  • Understand, and be able to incorporate, design theory related to low impact development, sustainable design concepts, and environmental sensitivity.

LARC 663 - Landscape and Garden History

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Course description: History of garden making and its evolution into design practice. Students will become familiar with narratives of garden art and landscape architecture through the study of selected key sites, designers, and visual written sources. A focus on gardens' past and afterlife; the nature of primary sources (both built and written), and how these can be evaluated and used. Primary sources will be drawn from several disciplines and include a wide array of genres: treatises, epistolary exchanges, tax returns, novels, poems, paintings and drawings.

Learning outcomes: 

Students successfully completing this course will be able to:

  • Recognize and understand the different ways humanity has shaped the land over time and to understand how our design legacy influences how we perceive and design our land today
  • To understand the importance of history in contemporary design
  • Recognize and identify different design strategies, principles and features from different time periods and different geographical regions across the world
  • Identify changes in the human/nature relationship through history
  • Locate and analyze gardens and designed landscapes within their specific social, cultural, political, scientific and technological contexts
  • Identify exchanges of ideas between different cultures and across geographic boundaries and temporal frameworks
  • To think critically, improve skills of analysis, synthesis, interpretation, argumentation and research
  • All of these aspects will be demonstrated through participation in weekly class discussions and assignments, individual presentations and in a final written essay project
 

LARC 720 - Environmental Analysis and Site Engineering 

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Course description: Techniques for prediction of alterations in social and natural processe brought about by human use of the land; application of such assessments to environmental management; basic methods of landscape alteration, augmentation, and control including grading, drainage, road and trail design, and stormwater management.

Learning outcomes:

The emphasis of the course is to thoroughly develop skills and understanding for the process of landform design and the presentation of the results on grading plans.  Upon successful completion of the course, students will be able to:

  • Understand the basic principles of grading and earthwork as they apply to hard and soft surfaces;
  • Demonstrate graphic fluency in two- dimensional representation of landform manipulation and three-dimensional landform visualization;
  • Demonstrate competency in developing grading solutions for positive surface runoff for single and multiple structure sitting; and
  • Demonstrate competency in determining cut/fill calculations, runoff computations, and storm water management practices. 
Year 2

LARC 642 - Graduate Studio II

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Course description: A focus on the interaction of landscape science (hydrology, geology, etc.) with the necessities and mechanisms of human settlements (transportation, economics, etc.) emphasizing innovative and forward thinking solutions to urbanization and ecological problems. It will apply this knowledge to landscape analysis, recreational planning and design, and community development, emphasizing resource management, spatial organization, landscape character, and the physical and social structure of community services. This course will be required for both Track 1 and Track 2 students.

Learning outcomes: 

Upon completion of this course, each student will know how to:

  1. Inventory and analyze the cultural and environmental context of existing and proposed greenway sites. 
  2. Plan and design greenway circulation, facilities and activity spaces.
  3. Create terrestrial habitat plans as a wildlife component in a broader ecological system. 
  4. Address stormwater quality management issues that arise from urbanization activities.
  5. Evaluate designs with a focus on sustainability and long-term landscape performance.
  6. Develop confidence in working with GIS, CAD and other digital design tools.
  7. Work together as a productive member of a design group working toward shared goals.

LARC 670 - Landscape Architecture Theory and Criticism

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Course description: Review and analysis of the body of literature concerning landscape architecture and relationships between humans and both natural and designed environments. Topics may include: rationalism, ethics, aesthetics, social and economic values, postmodernism, feminist, multiculturalism, ecological determinism, preservation/conservation, and sustainability and ecological design. Each week students will lead a debate and discussion on a theoretical issue based on the assigned readings for that week.

Learning outcomes: 

All students will:

  1. acquire advanced practice in critical thinking through reading, writing and discussion
  2. improve reading of complicated and analytical texts
  3. enhance fundamental writing skills through submission of multiple drafts of a research paper
  4. cogently present complex ideas through a public presentation
  5. synthesize multiple kinds of philosophical, theoretical, and practical ideas relevant to landscape architecture
  6. become aware of theories of the past and the future that will continue to change landscape architecture
  7. increase awareness of the demand, rigor and vitality of theory to design practice
  8. establish necessary skills in criticism of built and planned works

LARC 721 - Landscape Construction Methods and Materials

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Course description: Basic methods of constructing landscapes and manipulating the appropriate plant and inorganic materials for the creation of ecologically sustainable environments for human use. An examination of the use, properties, and detailing of materials used in landscape construction.

Learning outcomes:

Upon successful completion of the course, students will:

  1. Learn about the character, quality, availability, sustainability, and integrity of the materials that are commonly used in landscape construction in the Mid-Atlantic Region;
  2. Understand how materials are best used for their architectural quality, structural integrity, and durability;
  3. Understand the character of materials and how they are assembled for construction, using drawing and sketching as a means of analyzing existing landscapes, speculating about how they were built, and proposing how they might have been built better;
  4. Gain an understanding of the layers of information presented within construction documents and understand the types of information conveyed on each sheet;
  5. Evaluate professional construction documents with a critical eye and critical thinking skills; 
  6. Integrate your understanding of landscape materials and construction from prior coursework;
  7. Prepare design development and construction drawings, construction details, and cost estimates;
  8. Develop a working knowledge of the appropriate technologies as they apply to sites on the ground (“terra firma”) as well as sites on top of buildings (green roof/roof gardens); and
  9. Expand your understanding of the site physical and cultural context, the specificity of each site’s condition and surrounding influences on it, and how to improve the process and product of landscape design and construction.

LARC 648 - Graduate Studio IV

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Course description: The studio will be conducted as a collaborative effort between the landscape architecture graduate students, the instructor, professionals in practice, and representatives from local government and non-profit agencies. Our goal is to understand and re-create urban spaces and neighborhoods for the 21st century, while addressing current urban dilemmas (climate change, population growth, resource constraints, diminishing habitat) and developing creative responses to these challenges.

Learning outcomes:

Upon completion of this design studio course, students will have advanced their knowledge and understanding of urban design and the positive influence that landscape architecture can have on the health of the environment and the people who reside, work, and play here. The design studio process will include, but not be limited to, the following:

  1. Learning fundamentals of urban design and planning: land use, zoning, FAR, public realm, transportation and mobility.
  2. Learning about architecture: typologies and forms.
  3. Appreciating the Public Realm: democratic values and the activities that embrace them.
  4. Transportation & Mobility: addressing vehicular traffic, mass transit, and creating a walkable/bikable city.
  5. Identifying places of significance, their character, and relationships to each other.
  6. Integrating Nature and Culture: exposure to thoughts of various urbanists and discourses on landscape and sustainability in the city. 
  7. Performance of Urban Landscapes: stormwater management, open space, urban ecology & habitat, heat island effect.
  8. Critical dimensions: practice applying standard dimensions for urban ROW elements.

LARC 461 - People and the Environment

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Course description: Focus is placed on human and environmental interactions. Students will look at both natural and built environments and how they influence human health and well-being. Many environmental settings will be examined. These include hospitals, public housing neighborhoods, school settings, retirement communities, transportation corridors and green spaces. We will also explore how racial and socio-economic factors affect living and working environmental conditions. Ultimately, students will be using this knowledge to create environments that support individuals, families and various community groups' health and well-being.

Learning outcomes:

Upon completion of this course, students will be able to:

  1. Describe how people interact with their environments.
  2. Link the relationship between landscape design and human functioning and well-being.
  3. Describe how people process information.
  4. Describe why people get mentally fatigued and the characteristics of restorative landscapes.
  5. Predict people’s preferred environments.
  6. Be ready to create restorative and healthy environments for people.
  7. Identify healthy places. 

LARC 671 - Landscape Architecture Research Methods

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Course description: Investigation and discussion of broad scope of research methods and the development of landscape design and planning research techniques and skills. The urban environment will be viewed primarily as a social and psychological environment, with concern for who uses these environments and the conflicts that can arise between user groups.

Learning objectives:

  1. To develop skills needed to develop a rigorous research or applied project proposal in preparation for the required MLA thesis project. 
  2. To learn how to develop a research study in a way that innovatively applies landscape architecture research findings. 
  3. To be able to prepare a concise, wellresearched, and developed thesis proposal. 
  4. To have an introductory understanding of the different research methods used by landscape architects, and to be able to critically evaluate their use.
  5. To understand and articulate the value of research based design to landscape architecture practice & theory.

Learning outcomes:

At the conclusion of this class, students will be able:

  1. To prepare a scholarly proposal for the masters of landscape architecture thesis degree in landscape architecture; and, 
  2. To apply appropriate research techniques to landscape architecture research, design, and practice. 
  3. To develop a comprehensive understanding of the various research dimensions in landscape architecture.
Year 3

LARC 420 - Professional Practice

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Course description: An introduction to and comparative study of the professional concerns of design firms. Focus on planning, legal, ethical, marketing and management considerations of interdisciplinary practices.

Learning outcomes:

  1. Develop a resume and cover letter and develop a strategy to engage the professional job market.
  2. Develop a portfolio.
  3. Deepen your understanding of the diversity of professional practice.
  4. Understand the operations of an office including marketing, contracts, administration, project management, and client relationships.

LARC 748 - Advanced Special Topics Studio

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Course description: This semester's LARC748 studio will be composed of 2 projects related tostormwater and resiliency. Some dimensions of this studio include applyingcross-disciplinary perspectives into the design process (public health, civilengineering, wetland ecology, and planning).

Learning objectives:

This community design studio course is designed such that, at the end of thiscourse, you will be able to:
  1. Develop new adaptive design responses and design communication skills in the context of stormwater and climate change at different scales; 
  2. To move beyond having community meetings to applying civic engagement and participatory design methods in order to incorporate community members’ concerns, issues, ideas, and budgets into site analysis and design responses; 
  3. To identify and compare different approaches of engaging communities in the design process while gaining exposure to collaborative design approaches with stakeholders and communities in a real-world context by assisting with civic engagement for different design projects; 
  4. To continue to develop sophisticated approaches to applying projected landscape performance metrics as a way to collaborate with other disciplines (civil engineering, urban ecology, etc.)

Learning outcomes:

Upon completion of this course, each student will know how to:

  1. Apply expertise from other disciplinary perspectives (civil engineers, spatial analysts, bioengineering, wetland scientists, ecologists, economists, public policy, planning, etc.) to the design problem and solution; 
  2. Assess, design, and communicate (visual and written) the technical, social and economic potential of green infrastructure at different spatial scales. 
  3. Determine the projected landscape performance (environmental/ ecological, economic, and social) of the design; 
  4. To identify and compare different approaches of engaging communities in the design process; 
  5. To incorporate community members’ concerns, issues, and ideas into site analysis and design responses; 
  6. Develop a cost estimate, operations and maintenance plan, and a phasing plan; and 
  7. Continue developing digital design tool skills.
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