|Abstract:||Sustainable development and environmental issues have been subjects of debate over the past few decades where people are looking to conserve energy and the environment, so that climatic conditions can be regularized. The concept of sustainability has attained popularity in many spheres with notable attention going to the manufacturing and construction sectors because of their considerable influence on the environmental, social, and economic factors. The aim of establishing sustainability in those sectors is to prevent depletion of available resources, while still meeting the current demand. In this regard, it involves reducing wastage, for example by recycling or reusing materials to maximize profit. At the same time, it aims at reducing environmental pollution and guaranteeing the health and safety of the employees and the larger community. Landscape architecture is one of the fields through which the environment should be conserved through sustainable practices such as using materials that can be easily recycled or reused, ensuring that the designs realized to protect the environment as much as possible and reduce the carbon footprints of completed works and their users.
The construction industry is known for causing significant pollution, and considerable material and energy waste. As such, different strategies have been implemented to alleviate the detrimental impacts associated with this engineering field. Among those, landscape architecture often addresses the environmental challenges posed by the construction of structures by others. With that in mind, this thesis was motivated by an interest in foregrounding and enhancing understanding of landscape architects as agents of sustainability. It has also been noted that, in most of its public parks, the city of Boston, Massachusetts, one of American’s oldest cities, has made huge progress toward sustainable futures. Boston has many public parks which significantly improve the sustainability of the city. Thus, studying the public parks in Boston is crucial for understanding sustainability in the historical and contemporary practices of landscape architecture more broadly. To that end, this thesis uses the Pathfinder landscape carbon calculator tool to evaluate the public parks in Boston. The Pathfinder tool rates sustainability by evaluating the carbon footprint of the spaces evaluated. Based on the evaluations, the Pathfinder tool and I then provide suggestions for designers seeking to reduce carbon footprints during the design process.
The objectives of this thesis are achieved by considering three distinct public parks in Boston. To begin, data is collected to establish the methods used to achieve sustainability. Then, the evaluation and diagnosis are performed. Finally, based on the evaluation and diagnosis, the suggestions are made for designers to apply during the design phase. Throughout the process, it is important to understand that the design phase of a public park can envision sustainable work, yet the construction phase can introduce factors with serious negative consequences that may not be able to be neutralized. Therefore, it is crucial for landscape architects to think steps ahead on all the projects with the idea of achieving sustainability as early as possible.