Coding Landscape: Teaching Computer Programming to Landscape Architects
How to best teach coding to landscape architects? Domain-specific approaches to teaching computer programming are surprisingly rare. Most computer programming curricula teach skills in a generic way, to be broadly relevant to many people. A rapidly increasing number and ways of teaching how to code to a range of skill levels is now available online, usually for free (see Appendix, RICHTEL 2015, GASCA 2014, FRAMPTON 2015, SIMS et al. 2011). Yet in landscape architecture coding is often regarded as too difficult, too resource-intensive, insufficiently relevant to practice, or otherwise peripheral to the core mission of the profession to teach (WESTORT et al. 2013) . As a result, fundamentals of coding logic remain largely un-taught in accredited core curricula in the U.S. This paper has three objectives: 1. Offer a landscape architecture-specific approach to teaching introductory computer programming that combines a) landscape parametrics with b) concepts of computer programming logic and c) basic computer graphics. 2. Present a sequence of exercises intended to impart fundamental skills and peak student interest. 3. Showcase student project results that use the approach. A sequence of short programming exercises asks students to define the geometry of elements from the landscape palette – vegetation, landform, water, weather, lighting – and then to modify them using increasingly more advanced and complex coding principles in a modular fashion. The following criteria for successful landscape design software is offered to students as a guide to structuring their software: Graphically display landscape geometry, such that it is Interactively editable/modifiable/deformable and Analysable with accuracy and some precision Quickly, while being Easy to learn
This article is published as Westort, Caroline (2016): “Coding Landscape: Teaching Computer Programming to Landscape Architects” (DLA 2016), Digital Landscape Architecture Journal pg.337-345 doi:10.14627/537612038. Posted with permission.