As suggested by award-winning architectural programmer William Pena, if design is a creative act of problem-solving, then programming is the creative act of problem seeking. While both design and programming are part of the design process, programming (or programmatic analysis) is the initial identification and analysis of the pertinent project-related considerations that provide the conceptual boundaries and framework for the project.   Project programming includes the analysis of the theoretical, pragmatic and operational conditions of a project, such as the current and desired uses, anticipated operations, regulatory perspectives, required design elements, and aesthetic or other value-based considerations. Landscape architecture programming must also account for a variety of contextual and temporal concerns originating from site-specific, litho-, hydro-, bio-sphere processes, landform, climatic factors, historical and infrastructural artifacts, and socio-ecological systems, and others.  What emerges from programmatic analysis is a project approach and project program. The project approach and program serve as the basis of design, therefore allowing for the subsequent generation of conceptual alternatives (conceptual design). A design project cannot proceed without a clearly defined program and the most effective project programming is also based in a project strategy.  

What, then, is the main idea behind programming? It is the search for sufficient information to clarify, to understand, and to state the problem. If programming is problem seeking, then design is problem solving. These are two distinct processes, requiring different attitudes, even different capabilities.
— William Pena


Programming is essential to professional services in that it includes the identification of client-stated project goals and requirements at the start of a project. Programming allows the design professional to interpret the client's program and offer an expanded range of project considerations beyond what may be initially envisioned by the client. This expanded range of considerations is derived from a design professional's knowledge and expertise along with familiarity with the contextual conditions of the project, including initial client programming.   The expanded range of considerations can be based upon the designer's interpretation of the initial project program or known site conditions; focused, preliminary research into the project to identify potential opportunities and challenges; reflection upon previous project experience including expertise with projects of similar scope and scale; and awareness of emerging trends or issues, and/or potential precedent projects.

It is important to note that the expanded or additional project considerations may not always translate into a quantifiable increase in program elements themselves; to the contrary, the expanded considerations may actually serve to reduce or otherwise re-direct the client's initial program requirements. It is common for public realm projects to encounter a wildly diverse, and potentially conflicting, range of desired park uses or park elements. It is the responsibility of the designer to acknowledge the desired range of program but to also curate the program so that it is feasible given the project scope, scale, budget, operations or other considerations. For example, the realization of the award-winning Discovery Green in Houston, TX was largely a function of the design professional’s initial understanding of the client-based program and the experience to identify that portions of the initial program were unfeasible (amount of program exceeded the physical size of the site, impractical programming given intended park use).  See here for a LAM article on Discovery Green and project programming. 



The critical mapping of Phase 01 provided a research instrument to examine the site and area through Anthropocene-related themes. The work of Phase 02 builds upon the foundation of this research by identifying the initial project program that will serve as the basis of design in subsequent project phases. The work of this Phase_02 consists of three, inter-related steps. The first step is precedent research, the second step is site reconnaissance, and the third step is the development of a project program statement. 

1) Precedent Research.  

As discussed above, the design professional may call upon a range of experience to help determine the project program. Such experience may include individual expertise as well as observed findings from either precedent projects. Part 1 is focused precedent research to establish a working knowledge of the potential range of programmatic considerations that could be applied to the project site/area. The collective work of the studio becomes a catalog of programmatic considerations that enable alternative perspectives during the site reconnaissance. 

A list of selected post-industrial sites are provided below. The list includes a broad range of project types, including former mines, mills, and other industrial or extraction infrastructure related sites. The list includes variations in scale (small sites) to larger regions (heritage corridors) as well as variations in post-operations use (demolition, ecological reclamation, public parks, museums, commercial/residential development, playgrounds, etc). You will need to review project list so as to identify and rank four possible precedent projects that you would like to investigate and analyze in more depth. Email the ranked list of four projects to me no later than Monday at 12 noon. After receipt, I will provide the final list that indicates which ONE project you are required to research.  

Utilize the selected project as the basis of a precedent analysis. The precedent analysis should be in-depth and critical and provide not only a factual description of the project (location, key dates, processes, site development through time) but also an analysis of the program (client, primary uses, operations, etc) and important programmatic relationships.  Try to interpret the overall project meaning and the efficacy (or not) of the current program. Identify what strategies and site-related improvements reinforce the project's program and meaning. Ask questions about the project and develop a position.  For example, what is the relationship between former use and current use? What artifacts of site/buildings/infrastructure remain? Of those, which are intact and preserved or which have modified?  How does the presence of former site/building/infrastructure artifacts convey meaning? How are new site/building/infrastructure used within the project? What materials are used and how are they used?  What experiences or spatial /formal devices are used? Why key decisions were made by the designer relative to the new program? What political/economic/social/environmental circumstances gave rise to the current program? Is it successful? What could have been done differently and why?

Precedent Projects.  

  1. American Flat Cyanide Mill, Storey County, NV, USA
  2. Ariel Sharon Park (landfill), Tel Aviv, Israel
  3. Atlas Coal MIne #3 Historic Site, East Coulee, Alberta, Canada
  4. Ballast Point Park, Sydney, Australia
  5. Berchtesgaden Salt Mines, Berchtesgaden, Germany
  6. Beringen Mining Museum, Beringen, Belgium
  7. Bethlehem Steel Stacks, Bethlehem, PA, USA
  8. Blackstone River Valley Heritage Corridor, Rhode Island, USA
  9. Blaenavon Industrial Landscape World Heritage Site, Blaenavon, Wales, UK
  10. Blaenau Ffestiniog mining area, (Llechwedd Slate Caverns, GoBelow, ZipWorld/BounceBelow,Ffestiniog Railway,etc), Wales,
  11. Byxbee Park (Landfill), Palo Alto, CA, USA
  12. Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape World Heritage Site (Heartlands, etc), Cornwall,UK
  13. Eagle Mountain, CA, USA
  14. Evergreen Brick Works, Toronto, Canada
  15. Iwami Ginzan Silver Mine World Heritage Site, Ōda, Japan
  16. La Tancada Salt Fields, Tarragona, Spain
  17. Landschaftspark Hoheward (Landschaftspark Emscherbruch),  Herten/ Recklinghausen, Germany
  18. Louisville Mega Cavern, Louisville, KY, USA
  19. Mount Trashmore Park, Virginia Beach, VA, USA
  20. Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin World Heritage Site, France
  21. Park AM Gleisdreieck (including Flaschenhals), Berlin, Germany
  22. Parque Fundidora/Museo Del Acero Horno3, Monterey, Mexico
  23. Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area, Pittsburgh, PA, USA
  24. Røros Copper Works/Storwartz World Heritage Site, Røros,Trondeim, Norway
  25. Salina Turda Salt Mine, Turda, Romania
  26. Schuylkill River National Heritage Area, Pennsylvania, USA
  27. Silos and Smokestacks National Heritage Area, Iowa, USA
  28. Sloss Furnaces National Historic Landmark, Birmingham, AL, USA
  29. South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project, San Francisco Bay, California, USA
  30. UKC-M!ne Square, Genk, Belgium
  31. Upper Harz Water-Management System and Mines of Rammelsberg World Heritage Site, Goslar, Germany
  32. Völklingen Ironworks World Heritage Site, Völklingen, Germany
  33. Wallonia Mines World Heritage District  (Blegny, Bois du Cazier, Bois-du-Luc and Grand-Hornu Mines), Belgium
  34. West Point Foundry Reserve Park, New York

See required work products below. 


2) Site Reconnaissance. 

The project site reconnaissance provides an opportunity to examine both the physical, experiential and social contexts of the project site/area. Over the course of the week we will meet with a variety of stakeholder organizations, all with varying priorities and interests. These organizations/individuals have been selected to provide a broad- and perhaps contrasting- spectrum of comments and organizational agendas.  As an academic project, it is anticipated that their input will help identify potential project opportunities and program in lieu of the directed guidance (and reimbursement) of a client. Upon return to the studio, the input and findings from your meetings, combined with critical mapping and site documentation, will be used to establish a program statement.  Therefore, it is important that you listen carefully to stakeholders and record what you see and hear.  The site visit and meetings are also an opportunity- sometimes the only opportunity- to ask questions of stakeholders, so-do not hesitate to explore and to ask questions! The itinerary is structured in a manner that is very similar to the series of initial project meetings found on complex, public professional projects. This meeting structure allows the project team to solicit input from a variety of different stakeholders. In turn, this input helps identify potential project opportunities, community perceptions, potential obstacles, etc. By listening carefully, one can start to assemble the input and detect patterns, discrepancies, opportunities and potential obstacles within the project. This ‘fact-finding’ period is critical to the success of the project as it is often here where opportunities emerge to find programmatic synergy across varying stakeholders or to question assumptions and ask questions that no one else is asking. This phase of the project is where the long-term strategic direction of the project is identified.

The site reconnaissance is also a time to experience the project site and its visceral and spatial qualities. Much like the stakeholder meetings, site visits also require deep listening so as to record the contributing qualities of a place; to identify potential spatial or visceral opportunities or challenges; to verify technical or infrastructure limitations; and conduct field verification of site conditions. It is advisable that the site be observed at various times of the day/week or season (if feasible) so as to develop a broad understanding of the site qualities. The critical mapping opened new ways of seeing the project site/area. These critical lenses should also be used to examine the site and city and the input provided by stakeholders.

When photo-documenting an area, it is important to develop a large quantity of site images, particularly images from different viewpoints and important viewpoints or viewsheds. The images can then be used as backgrounds for project visualizations or they can be used as references later on in the project to understand existing site conditions in more detail and that may otherwise be hard to ascertain (i.e. indicating where a river edge is concrete versus steel, etc.). In addition to recording a site through photos and sketches, it is important to have a running list of potential questions or items that require follow-up and more information.


3) Project Approach and Program Statement

Part 3 is the reflection and synthesis of the findings of Phase 01 and the first two parts of Phase 02. The synthesis consists of a discussion of the overall project opportunities, potential goals and how you generally envision addressing the goals/opportunities, key strategies related to the proposed program, and a list of potential program elements.  The Project Approach and Program Statement should include both qualitative knowledge- aspirational and/or organizational goals and strategies (conceptual); and quantitative knowledge- facts and spatial/functional/operational needs, anticipated uses, etc. 



Phase 02_Work Products

1) Precedent Research- 

a) Powerpoint presentation utilizing the provided template found here (utilize same page dimension, fonts, cover-page title block, aerial photo and location indicators). Provide a combination of illustrations, historic and current photographs, diagrams, plans, and text arranged in a format similar to that provided in lecture 3.  No more than 20 pages. 

b) A narrative description (250 word max) that includes a brief summary of the overall project theme and discussion of the "3 Big Ideas".  Use provided template and include as last page of the powerpoint described above. 1 page. 

(9/27 Clarification via email:  You are not required to produce your own diagrams, etc.and it is acceptable (expected) that you will use found images, diagrams, photos, graphics, etc from other sources. I encourage you to use a variety of types of visuals and not rely solely on plans and diagrams, but include a relevant and appropriate mix of visuals from a variety of sources (i.e. don;t just use UNESCO or ASLA award nomination content). 

Please avoid grainy, low resolution images. This would be an example where if you have found site diagrams of low quality, you could re-illustrate the diagram (within reason). 

The template I provided is to ensure that all presentation files are the same orientation and dimension with a uniform title block and aerial photo of the site context as placeholders. You should update the aerial photo and the title block to suit your project. Use the green symbol examples (circle, line, or polygon) to indicate project location on the aerial photo. The other part of the template should be the last page and it should be updated to include the narrative summary items as required.  The presentation file from Monday's lecture/discussion is posted in the course folder. You can use that as a guide to quality and layout of the visuals and the representative mix of images.

2) Site Reconnaissance-

Work products from the Site Reconnaissance should includes meeting notes, sketches, photos, audio and video recordings, field measurement and other relevant data and observations gleaned during your travel. 

3) Project Approach and Program Statement

Prepare a design proposal that includes a Project Approach and Program Statement that will serve as the proposed basis of design for your project throughout the remainder of the semester.  The statement should include three primary parts:

a) Project Approach. Provide a brief narrative statement (max 300 word abstract) that summarizes your proposed project approach.  See the Programming as Strategy: Programming as Basis of Design white paper and professional examples. 

b) Project Opportunities. A brief written description of a minimum of 4 project opportunities (150 words max for each) .  The four opportunities should be gleaned from your research to date, including Phase 01 critical mapping, precedent research and most importantly- notes and other observations gleaned during the site reconnaissance and site meetings. It may be helpful to think of the opportunities as project goals. For example:  "A significant project opportunity exists for the MMSHS to increase public knowledge of the local cultural history".  The description of EACH project opportunity should also include some form of rationale that justifies why you believe it is a project opportunities. Each project opportunity should be supported with relevant research data, site photographs, quotes, and/or precedents so as to provide a more in-depth understanding of the opportunity. The above example, continued:

 "A significant project opportunity exists for the MMSHS to increase public knowledge of the local cultural history. Such an opportunity exists due to the current lack of meaningful information related to the socio-cultural history of mining and its impact not only on the economy of Missouri, but also the historical patterns of settlement in SEMO, the rich legacy of mining life both in the workplace and in the community along with local patterns of infrastructure, architecture and cultural traditions and events. This rich cultural heritage cna provide substantial new programming within the MMSHS as well as within the larger community."

c) Potential Program Elements. For each project opportunity, prepare a bullet list or table of programmatic considerations (max one page each), including anticipated uses and activities, supporting elements and infrastructure. Compile into one program catalog (PDF) that together identifies the range of POTENTIAL project uses, operations, key design elements along with relevant considerations for each project opportunity.  For example, see here

Assemble a), b) and c) above into a project proposal that describes, in visual and narrative format, the following:


Project Location and Context

Project Approach

Project Opportunities

Potential Program Elements. 

The format should be PDF, 8.5x11 landscape orientation, color and not exceed 20 pages, including the the cover.  You will present your proposal to the class on Friday, October 14 from 2:30 to 5:30. You will have 5 minutes to present. 

Deadline: The PDF proposal should be uploaded to the course folder no later than 12p noon on Friday, October 14. 



0923: Phase_02 posted. Review potential precedent projects before Monday. 

0926: Lecture 03- Precedents. Remember to email your ranked list of 4 projects before 12 noon Monday. 

0928: Work session. 

0930: Part_1 presentations in studio. 

1003: Travel and Site Reconnaissance

1004: Site Reconnaissance

1005: Site Reconnaissance

1006: Site Reconnaissance

1007: Travel and Site Reconnaissance

1010: Lecture 04- Project Approach and Program Statements 

1011: Individual meeting with MT (30 minutes, each)

1012: Individual meeting with MT (30 minutes, each)

1013: Individual meeting with MT (30 minutes, each)

1014: Deadline: 12p noon. Part_3 presentations.  



See here


PHASE 02_PHASE 02_Site Reconnaissance ITINERARY

Your course fees are used to cover the cost of lodging. We will be staying at the Arcadia Academy located in the Arcadia, MO. We have group reservations for arrival on Monday, October 3 and departure on Friday, October 7.
You can find more information here:

With the exception of Friday morning, the Academy will provide us with a breakfast buffet from 7-8am and the costs for this are included in the course fees. You are responsible for the cost and furnishing of all other meals. The exception may be lunch delivery on Tuesday (to be determined)

Transportation will be by University vans with student drivers and the course fees are used to cover the costs. More information to be posted soon. Matt and Michael will be traveling separately due to previous commitments. 

The schedule is posted here. Please be on time for all meetings. If you miss a meeting, kindly meet us at the next meeting. If you are ill, visited by Monroe the ghost, have fallen victim to the plague or other serious maladies and are unable to join us, please contact us by email or text.

Matthew Tucker: 781.879.7233
Michael Keenan: 763.670.7937



If I were given one hour to save the planet, I would spend 59 minutes defining the problem and one minute resolving it.

— Albert Einstein