Landscape Architecture Foundation selects TREE neighborhood

In addition to pushing the envelope on sustainable building design, the third neighborhood at EcoVillage Ithaca has now been selected for a Case Study Investigation by the national Landscape Architecture Foundation (LAF). TREE is one of just 21 projects selected from around the country.

Michele Palmer, a local landscape architect, will be leading the research project to quantify the social, economic and environmental benefits of pursuing landscape in a sustainable way. The LAF will fund a Cornell student as a research assistant to help gather and analyze the data, and Palmer will also work closely with TREE residents and professionals.

Palmer said, “There is nothing particularly innovative about EcoVillage Ithaca in terms of what is conventionally thought of as ‘landscape.’ Planting native trees and shrubs is standard sustainable practice now.” However, she continued, “What is innovative is your overall approach to live in a socially conscious, pedestrian friendly clustered neighborhood that limits road development and has an overall smaller footprint.”

TREE (Third Residential EcoVillage Experience) will be compared to a traditional neighborhood, as a way to measure the benefits of this type of densely clustered development. The research project will run from March-August, 2014, with results posted on the LAF website.

“It’s exciting to see TREE used as a case study for landscape architecture, as well as energy efficiency,” said Jared Jones, TREE Site Manager. TREE is also one of 50 projects nationwide that was selected as a case study for the Department of Energy Building America Challenge, which seeks to show best building practices for increasing energy efficiency.