Celebrate the power of sustainable landscapes with SITES case studies

Published on
19 Apr 2023
Sumner Byrne
A landscape in front of a building

Feature image: The SITES Silver University of Texas at El Paso in El Paso, Texas. Image courtesy of UT El Paso.

This Earth Month, we celebrate the diversity of projects pursuing nature-based solutions through SITES.

The SITES rating system provides a comprehensive framework for designing, developing and managing sustainable and resilient landscapes and other outdoor spaces. By providing performance measures rather than prescribing practices, SITES supports each site's unique conditions, encouraging project teams to be flexible and creative as they develop beautiful, functional and regenerative landscapes.

As core concepts such as biodiversity, green infrastructure and nature-positive design quickly gain traction, learn how projects worldwide are wielding them to create higher-functioning landscapes. 

This series of seven case studies, offered as a two-part educational course with SITES CEUs, demonstrates the value of SITES certification and presents concrete examples of these benefits in action.

Education courses

Case studies

The case studies cover a range of project types and geographies. They can help guide future projects in creating ecologically resilient landscapes that benefit the environment, property owners, and local and regional communities and economies:

Chicago Navy Pier. The pier was the first project to earn Gold certification under the SITES v2 rating system. The project expanded green spaces, improved pedestrian access, increased energy efficiency, implemented innovative storm water management strategies and much more.

Washington Canal Park. One of the first parks built as part of the District of Columbia’s Anacostia Waterfront Initiative, Canal Park is a model of sustainability, attaining both SITES Gold and LEED Gold certifications, and establishing itself as a social gathering place and an economic trigger.

Xuhui Runway Park. Xuhui Runway Park is an innovative urban revitalization project that breathes new life into a unique piece of Shanghai’s history. It is the first project in Mainland China to earn Gold certification under the SITES rating system.

The SITES Gold Xuhui Runway Park in Shanghai, China. Photo courtesy of Sasaki.

Dell Medical District at the University of Texas at Austin. The overall vision of this project was to design a new, open, inviting and people-centered campus, connected to its environment and community. People and the environment work together as a functioning system, focused on improving health both within their medical facilities and outside of them.

University of Texas at El Paso. The project is one of the first and largest green infrastructure projects in the El Paso region, and is one of the few projects in the region to display the diversity and beauty of low-water-use plants native to the Chihuahuan Desert.

HP Inc. Boise, Idaho Campus. Earning SITES Gold certification, HP’s Idaho Campus became the first SITES-certified project in Idaho and the first corporate campus in the world to certify using the SITES v2 rating system.

West Laurel Hill's Nature Sanctuary. Located on a once disturbed urban dumpsite, West Laurel Hill’s Nature Sanctuary outside of Philadelphia is perhaps one of the most unique projects to achieve SITES certification. While most may assume this is solely a public park, it’s first and foremost a green cemetery—the first of its kind to receive a SITES designation in the country.

Explore the education courses for SITES CE credits