LPS Watch List: August 2015

Each month we bring you a roundup of landscape performance news worth sharing – the latest in research, tools, and innovative thinking related to the measurable environmental, social, and economic benefits of sustainable landscapes. Several of this month’s articles highlight that the relationship between landscape elements and benefits is often more complex and nuanced than we think.

Creating Places That Promote Physical Activity: Perceiving is Believing

ACTIVE LIVING RESEARCH | Aug 5, 2015
This research review examines the relationship of rates of physical activity to the perceived aesthetics, safety and comfort of public places, such as streets and parks. It offers evidence that improving appearances can make a place more appealing for physical activity. More 

Nature: The Savior of Cities

THE DIRT | Aug 12, 2015
A new book, Conservation for Cities: How to Plan & Build Natural Infrastructure, covers mapping, valuation, assessment, implementation, and monitoring methods for ten key areas of ecosystem benefits. More

The Link Between Green Space and Well-Being Isn’t As Simple As We Thought

CITYLAB | Aug 14, 2015
A new Singapore study found that neither access to nor use of the city’s green spaces had a significant impact on the respondents’ well-being. The study highlights the geographical limits of previous research in this realm. More

MIT Puts Pedestrians at the Center of Urban Design

CITYLAB | Aug 17, 2015
MIT Media Lab’s “Placelet” project attempts to measure the quality of a space by tracking how people move through it using a prototype network of sensors that track the scale and speed of pedestrians, as well as vehicles. More

Why Nature Is Good for the Brain (Even If We Don’t Know What Is Natural)

CHICAGO MAGAZINE | Aug 21, 2015
In this interview, University of Chicago psychologist Marc Berman discusses attention restoration theory and his work studying not only what nature does for us and why, but what we see when we see nature. More

How Cities Can Beat the Heat

NATURE | Aug 26, 2015
As the Earth’s climate changes, cities stand a greater chance of extreme hot spells. But efforts to cool them, like green roofs and cool roofs, are speeding ahead of the science and may not work as planned. More 

By Ripping Out Its Lawns is L.A. Choking Out Its Worms, Butterflies and Birds?

LA WEEKLY | Aug 26, 2015
Extension experts argue that rules and incentives aimed at water conservation may have detrimental effects on flora, fauna, soil, and carbon. More

Quantifying the Healing Value of Natural

NATURE SACRED | Aug 27, 2015
Several researchers are working to qualify how nature heals, including new ways to measure the body’s response and trying to determine precisely what level and intensity of green space is needed. More

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