NDSU assistant professor earns ASLA Research Award

NDSU assistant professor of landscape architecture Yang Song earned an Honor Award in the Research category of the annual American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) Professional Awards. The project, entitled “Using Social Media Data to Understand Site-Scale Landscape Architecture Design: A Case Study of Seattle Freeway Park” was a collaboration between Song and Oklahoma State University assistant professor of horticulture and landscape architecture Bo Zhang.

Song and Zhang’s project examined Instagram posts from more than 2,000 users over a three year period to determine how the public used Freeway Park and what types of emotional ties they had to the environment. The researchers discovered new perspectives and insights about public space design and they learned about the public’s associations of park usage and design features, publicity, and climate. In addition, they also developed a procedure for analyzing and interpreting site-scale crowdsourcing data, which they hope will be valuable to the knowledge expansion of the landscape design and management discipline.

The 2019 Award Jury highlighted the innovative use of public social media data and how the researchers could utilize it to determine public attitudes and behaviors. They noted, “This inventive analytical method allows landscape architects and city officials to gain insights into public-space design…this approach to research gives designers a new way to gauge reactions to their work, literally through the eyes of the public they serve."

Song’s research interests lay at the intersection of landscape architecture, architecture, and urban design with a focus on the creation of new design frameworks and methodologies which can enhance the human understanding and interaction with outdoor environments. He has a long-standing interest and expertise in the application of digital technology in design, especially on the topics of parametric design, building information management (BIM), hydrological modeling, GIS mapping, and fabrication. Song creates digital tools and workflows that are targeted at assisting design thinking and empowering in-depth site analysis.

Founded in 1899, the ASLA is the professional association for landscape architects in the United States, representing more than 15,000 members. The Society’s mission is to advance landscape architecture through advocacy, communication, education, and fellowship. Each year, the ASLA Professional Awards honor the best in landscape architecture from around the globe in six categories.

Award recipients receive featured coverage in the ASLA’s Landscape Architecture Magazine and in many other design and construction industry and general-interest media. Song and Zhang were honored at the awards presentation ceremony during the ASLA Conference on Landscape Architecture in San Diego, November 15-18, 2019.

More information about Yang and Song's award winning project is available here.

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