The Landscape Architecture Department is pleased to showcase publications featuring our students, faculty and alumni. Also see our Research web page to view abstracts, publications, and papers that represent our faculty's research and scholarly interests.

What's Next?

Read about what landscape architects have to say regarding how the industry has changed due to the pandemic, and the intentions they are setting now for the future. Featuring Assistant Professor, Ellen Burke, and LADAC Member, Andrew Wickham from LPA in Sacramento.

Click here for the article featured in Landscape Architecture Magazine.

Design-Build: Integrating Craft, Service, and Research through Applied Academic and Practice Models

"Design-Build provides everything you need to know about how to embark on a design-build project within a studio or professional practice setting. Design-build models have increased across academic programs worldwide, allowing students to address the real-world challenges of working in the community using a participatory design process. In practice, they offer a full partnership between the designer and builder to elevate design concepts and reduce project costs."

To view the case study by Associate Professor, David Watts, and find more information about the book, click here.

Connecting Local Folk and Farmers Through Food

San Luis Obispo County (SLO), CA is a highly productive agricultural area, producing an estimated seven pounds of fruits and vegetables per resident per day. Only 7% of locally grown food is consumed within the county. Community food activists wanted to create a local food distribution network at the county level. In 2015 ArtPlace funded this support for community efforts already underway. SLO MAP started by mapping food resources and system flows, conducting interviews and creative workshops to explore understandings of food/place across the county, and developing installations that foster more engaged stewardship of the food system. This is a communal vision to support small farmers, enhance food security, improve health and nutrition, and cultivate a shared sense of place. We caught up with Ellen Burke, Assistant Professor of Sustainability in the Built Environment at California Polytechnic State University, for an update on their project.

To view the published essay, click here!

Women’s Work: An Eco-Feminist Approach to Environmental Design

Women's Work: An Eco-Feminist Approach to Environmental Design is written by N. Claire Napawan, Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Design in the Department of Human Ecology at University of California, Davis, Ellen Burke, Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture at Cal Poly State University, San Luis Obispo, and Sahoko Yui, Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Human Ecology at University of California, Davis.

Women spend an average of 260 minutes on unpaid domestic labor daily (as compared to 80 minutes for men)—an imbalance that grows more pronounced in developing nations.1 These daily tasks and accompanying decisions (such as cooking, cleaning, and caretaking) are often overlooked and undervalued in societies worldwide; however, what we choose to eat, how we clean our homes, and the lessons we teach our children can have significant impacts on greenhouse gas emissions, infrastructure performance, and overall environmental health and sustainability. The full import of domestic decisions on sustainability is evidenced in studies on the relationship between diet and climate change, which have demonstrated that the action with the single greatest impact on our environmental footprint is to eliminate beef from our diet, more so than reducing vehicle miles traveled or even long-distance flights.2 Such findings demonstrate the power of an informed approach to daily “housekeeping.”

To view the published online essay, click here.

Expanding the social performance of food production landscapes: measuring health and well-being benefits

Publication Cover

Expanding the social performance of food production landscapes: measuring health and well-being benefits, written by Ellen E. Burke, Associate Professor of Sustainability in the Built Environment, expands upon methods and metrics for measuring the performance of food production landscapes.

Advocates of integrating food production landscapes within urban, suburban, campus and other design arenas cite multiple and integrated benefits, including enhanced food security and quality; land access for small farmers; psychological and social benefits; educational opportunities; and green infrastructure contributions, among others. If performance can be understood as ‘the fulfilment of a claim’ then landscape performance measures for food production would ideally encompass the overall range of cited benefits. Yet in current practice the performance of food production landscapes tends to be measured in limited ways, most often by weight and value of harvest. The aim of this paper is to identify expanded methods and metrics for measuring the performance of food production landscapes, in particular for health and well-being benefits. Through a transdisciplinary literature review, evidence for mental well-being, physical activity and human nutrition benefits of food production landscapes is presented, and performance metrics and evaluation methods are catalogued.

To view the published online essay, click here.

Celebrating 40 Years: A History of The Landscape Architecture Department

Image of book cover

Celebrating 40 Years: A History of the Landscape Architecture Department, written and compiled by Associate Professor Christine Edstrom O'Hara, commemorates the department's 40th anniversary.

Beginning with a brief history of Cal Poly University and its College of Architecture & Environmental Design, the book describes, in photos and text, the earliest days of the landscape architecture program, including the "Old Post Office," "the Jungle," Z'Lab and the Powerhouse. It discusses the program's evolution over time, with a special emphasis on its curriculum and focus. Past and present faculty bios are featured, along with reflections and special memories by emeritus faculty members Brian Aviles, Walt Bremer, Gary Dwyer, Paul Neel, Roger Osbaldeston, Gere Smith, Dale Sutliff, and Richard Zweifel. The names of program graduates, from 1974 through 2013, are listed at the book's end. 

For a .pdf version of Celebrating 40 Years, click here. To request a bound copy of the book, send an email to, including your name and mailing address.

SLO Landscape (2011-12)

Image of SLOJO cover

Editors' Note:

SLO Journal 2011-12 (the department publication formerly known as SLO Landscape) has two new editors so you will see changed formatting and features, and new faculty are highlighted in their research. We solicited alumni contributions, which we believe showcase the breadth of work in contemporary landscape architecture practice. We intend to continue with this work and hope others will send us projects for the next journal.

Cal Poly has four new tenure tack faculty hired in the last four years: Beverly Bass, César Torres-Bustamante, Christy Edstrom O'Hara and David Watts. New faculty interests range from children's play environments and walkable community design, to landscape history and preservation, and graphic and representational experimentation. These new faculty strike a balance in approach to the profession and present students with both the practical and the theoretical.

We hope you enjoy this latest journal. Please send us your feedback and check our department web site regularly for updates on lectures and awards by students, faculty, or alumni.

-- Christy Edstrom O'Hara and César Torres-Bustamante

To read SLO Journal, click here (requires Adobe Flash Player). Or, click here for the .pdf version (for computers and mobile devices without Adobe Flash Player).

 Buy this book on Lulu.

SLO Landscape (2010)

Image of 2009 SLO Landscape cover

Edited by Prof. Omar Faruque, the 2010 issue of SLO Landscape (renamed SLO Journal; see above) includes articles written to inform professionals, academicians, and students of innovative design methods and techniques, case studies, and research not available in textbooks or published in other journals.

Department alum Rick Hume writes about designing the Orange County, California Great Park. Alum Paul Buchanan writes about designing and constructing the landscape of the Cleveland Clinic. Prof. Emeritus Walt Bremer has an article about GIS at Cal Poly and beyond. CAED Dean Tom Jones writes about opportunities that lie ahead for landscape architects, and the department's former advisory council chair, Martin Flores, reflects on the future of the landscape architecture profession.

SLO Landscape also showcases student and alumni activities, including the extended field trip to Italy, Germany, and France, a service project in South Africa, alum Don Marquardt's one-man show devoted to Frederick Law Olmsted, and the Class of 1988's 30th reunion. A few copies of this back issue are still available; to request one, send an email, including your name and mailing address, to and we'll mail a copy to you as long as supplies last.

Related Content


LARCH and Other Scholarships

Apply for Scholarships


Jobs, Internships and more

Jobs & Internships


Gallery of Student Work

Check out Current Work


Your support is appreciated

Give to LARCH