If you’re familiar with the mainstream ‘green building’ rating tools you’ll know that landscape is often captured within one or two credits amongst the entire tool, and there is generally nothing that rewards good place making.
There’s a case for putting more emphasis on the landscape for the following two reasons;
- The landscape we create externally to the building often has the potential for ecological good that far outweighs what the building is doing, and
- It’s the landscape (and building edges) that creates our public space – indeed the spaces external to our green buildings are the canvas for our experiences of the city.
The Sustainable Sites Initiative from the American Society of Landscape Architects is a terrific ‘public spaces’ and landscape guide and certification tool. It addresses the full bottle of landscape opportunities and includes a ‘Site Design – Human Health and Wellbeing’ category which gets right into the detail of place making.
Check out the site during some me-time on your Friday. The rating tool guide and supporting Case for Sustainable Landscapes are written in clear language and include great overviews of landscape and ecological principles.
At risk of introducing another rating tool, SITES seems to fit nicely between our current suite of green building and green infrastructure certification schemes. Even if you don’t follow the certification pathway there is some great intel in this one.