The Landscape Architecture Program is fortunate to have at its disposal a research center and laboratory, the Center for Design Research (CDR) in Hunt Hall 158. The CDR offers both a physical space by which students and faculty can conduct funded research, and an intellectual center of gravity for advanced work in landscape architecture. Established and funded for research since 1983, the CDR's goal focuses on research to facilitate ecologically appropriate and socially responsible planning and design.

CDR Projects
The projects at the CDR cover a broad range of environmental design issues. Within the CDR faculty are able to conduct research projects supported by the AC Agricultural Experiment Station and other agencies like the NEA, National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service, Dept. of Parks and Recreation, local agencies and private design firms.

The CDR focuses on three principal research areas: ecologically responsible and sustainable design, design which responds to and builds social community and well-being, and personal expression through design. The relationship between these areas are of great interest to the CDR. Examples include a longitudinal study of the changing landscape along the I-80 corridor from the Bay Area to the Sierra, rural housing design, contract studies for state and national parks, and studies of open space and cultural landscape of the Davis campus and relevant community.

Current projects in the CDR include Emeritus Steve McNeil's documentation of historical facilities in the Angeles National Forest for the USDA Forest Service, and his Ventura County preservation farmland study, a project managed by the California Coastal Conservancy. A CDR project by Emeritus Robert Thayer aims to develop ways of integrating the production of solar photovoltaic energy into the urban built landscape, and is being conducted in conjunction with the California Energy Commission. Emeritus Mark Francis was the faculty advisor for the UC Davis Medical Center Urban Wildlife Preserve Participatory Planning and Design Project, which involves hospital staff, the community and a neighborhood school in the planning process for an open space preserve on the Medical Center campus.

Other CDR Functions
Hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of research grants have been performed via the CDR, and the CDR also organizes research symposia and colloquia which have resulted in widely distributed monographs and research reports. The CDR is also the "nerve center" for faculty dissemination of 
research publications, which are kept current in stock and sold upon request. As the functioning research laboratory of the Landscape Architecture Program, the CDR is also the means by which and the location for students to be hired as research assistants, thereby helping to diffuse faculty research into the undergraduate educational experience.

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by Renee Lucena, 2003 alumna