Landscapes as living laboratories for sustainable campus planning and stewardship: A scoping review of approaches and practices

Trinity Gomez, Victoria Derr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Living laboratories are increasingly employed to support campus sustainability and student learning. This research explored how living labs are defined in relation to the biophysical landscape, how they are integrated into teaching and learning, how students are engaged, and how they connect to university sustainability goals. Previous reviews focus on living laboratories or learning landscapes, but no prior review has explored the application of these concepts specifically to the biophysical landscape of university campuses. We employed a scoping review which resulted in 28 articles for analysis. Projects most consistently employed the terms “learning landscapes,” “sustainable campus landscape,” and “adaptive co-management” as articulations of living laboratories that integrate campus physical landscapes. Students have been engaged in design, planning, installation, stewardship, monitoring, and management of campus landscapes through courses, research, and co-curricular activities. The majority of projects engaged with landscapes as living laboratories through environmental science, design, and other allied disciplines. Other disciplines could also engage with landscapes as living laboratories to promote sustainability. Projects also could more explicitly connect faculty and student engagement with broader campus sustainability goals and plans. More consistent application of terms may help other universities to determine the best actions for their campus when incorporating landscapes into living laboratories.
Original languageAmerican English
JournalLandscape and Urban Planning
StatePublished - 2021


  • Living laboratory
  • adapative co-management
  • campus sustainability
  • higher education
  • learning landscapes


  • Landscape Architecture
  • Urban, Community and Regional Planning
  • Education
  • Higher Education
  • Outdoor Education
  • Agriculture
  • Biodiversity
  • Biology
  • Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
  • Food Science
  • Forest Sciences
  • Other Life Sciences
  • Social and Behavioral Sciences
  • Environmental Studies

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