The Centre for Landscape Research (CLR) provides a support structure and a culture of research aimed at enhancing the knowledge base of the profession of landscape architecture at the University of Toronto. Also, it seeks to complement research infrastructure to the benefit of the MLA, MUD and MArch Programs. CLR began in the early 1980’s in conjunction with graphics and user interface research into computer aided design (CAD) and geographic information systems (GIS) with the Computer Systems Research Institute. CLR was formally constituted as a centre in the Faculty in 1989 with Professor Fife as the first Director. The centre is currently co-directed by Associate Professors Rob Wright and Liat Margolis.
CLR is committed to multidisciplinary research and welcomes participants from any discipline. CLR is closely associated with the Knowledge Media Design Institute (KMDI). Most recently, the CLR has been collaborating in the National Centre of Excellence (NCE) in geomatics called GEOIDE through projects in visualizing climate change mitigation with CALP at UBC and Planning at Uof Waterloo. A second NCE project lead by the Cities Centre is examining the integration of GIS based urban models and transportation models.
Throughout its history CLR has extended its facilities and activities in a transdisciplinary way to KMDI, Cities Centre, Architecture, Planning, and Urban Design. The Centre has no base budget and does not do teaching; instead, it coordinates infrastructure and funding contributed by faculty to enhance teaching that fosters graduate research with an interest in landscape. In addition to its funded labs, CLR has supported and fostered a variety of individual research activities on specific research topics developed by individual faculty in landscape architecture over many years.
The CLR has two research laboratories: Immersive visualization and the Green Roof Innovation Testing Laboratory, in which several faculty collaborate. The digital media project has been running since the early 1980’s and tackles unique projects and research questions that look into ways of adapting the disciplinary language and methods of landscape architecture through spatial computing and design-planning practice. The laboratory has specialized in projective urban modeling and visualization. The immersive visualization room established in partnership with Parallel World Labs (a Toronto based company established by alumni of CLR) is used as a prototype urban design decision theatre.