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. It also 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 Ed Fife as the first Director. The centre was most recently directed by professor Rob Wright and is currently directed by Fadi Masoud.
CLR is committed to multidisciplinary research and welcomes participants from any discipline. It is also closely associated with U of T's Knowledge Media Design Institute (KMDI). Most recently, 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 the University of British Columbia and Planning at the University of Waterloo. A second NCE project lead by the Cities Centre examined 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 (GRIT Lab), 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. The GRIT Lab is dedicated to the study of Green Roofs, Green Facades and Solar Technologies and is led by Professor Liat Margolis.
The Immersive Visualization Lab investigates emerging methods and metrics of landscape representation. The lab develops prototypical methods that integrate digital media in research, design, construction and development. The lab works collaboratively other disciplines such as economics, earth sciences and planning to engage a full spectrum of issues related to contemporary urban landscapes. With emphasis on accuracy and precision, the objective of the lab is to provide access to information on a range of landscape issues that due to the magnitude and scale of landscape issues often cross over or, fall outside of legislative and jurisdictional boundaries. Through the integration of geographic information systems (GIS) and global positioning systems (GPS), the range of visualization methods engaged by the lab include aerial photo interpretation, topographic modeling, hydrologic analysis, spatial simulation, low-altitude helicopter photography, digital earth moving, timeline diagramming and global mapping. Collaborations include scientists, professionals and contractors involved in the testing, design and development of numeric technologies.
Platform for Resilient Urbanism
The Centre for Landscape Research’s Platform for Resilient Urbanism is an interdisciplinary design, education, and research centre that advances urban socio-ecological adaptation and resilience strategies.
Fadi Masoud, Director