This research project analyzed the amount of embodied carbon, operational carbon, and carbon sequestration in one SWA-designed landscape architecture project on the site of a former surface parking lot.  The study focused on carbon (carbon dioxide or CO2) in order to understand the environmental impact of design decisions, particularly on greenhouse gas emissions.  In its lifespan, we found the plaza in downtown Dallas, Texas, will net -542.8 metric tons of CO2.  That means the project will have sequestered enough carbon to both offset the project’s emissions and offset the equivalent of the lifetime emissions of about 10 passenger vehicles.  Findings also included 2046 as the date the project would become carbon neutral or net-zero.  The team used the Pathfinder tool along with construction document takeoffs and maintenance schedules to quantify impact on the site (this did not include land use change impacts).  The project was a partnership between XL Lab, the SWA Dallas studio, and Parks for Downtown Dallas.  The project continues SWA’s work on post-occupancy assessment and kicked off participation in the Climate Positive Design Challenge with multiple projects as well as a comprehensive analysis of all four major parks in downtown Dallas by a team at University of Texas, Arlington.


Anya Domlesky, XL research and innovation Lab at SWA
Riley Nystrom and Todd Strawn, SWA


Sarah E. Hughes, Parks for Downtown Dallas
Chuck McDaniel, SWA
Jonah Susskind, XL research and innovation Lab at SWA


Digital Landscape Architecture Conference Keynote
“Hybrids: Designing for a Different Future”

The Journal of Digital Landscape Architecture (JoDLA)
“Hybrids: Designing for a Different World”

ASLA Conference on Landscape Architecture
“Landscape Research Now: How Nine Firms Inform Their Practices”

CELA Annual Conference
“Research Within the Landscape Architecture Office”