Steinitz' research is devoted to improving the methods by which planners and designers organize and analyze information about large land areas and how they make major design decisions. He has often coupled his research projects with his Major Landscape Change Studio, giving students an opportunity to integrate their studio experience with an in-depth analysis of the site.
One example of this is Biodiversity and Landscape Planning: Alternative Futures for the Region of Camp Pendleton, California, a study of a Marine Corps base located between Los Angeles and San Diego. This study explores how urban growth and change in the rapidly developing region between San Diego and Los Angeles might influence the biodiversity of the area. The intent of this project is to examine the connections between urban, suburban, and rural development and the consequent stresses on native habitats and biodiversity. Two related studios were offered in 1996 and 1997.
Another example of Prof. Steinitz integration of research and studio teaching is Alternative Futures for Monroe County, Pennsylvania, a study that examines how development may impact this area in the southern Pocono Mountains. The report summarizes the analyses and proposals described in the presentation and exhibition made by the studio in December 1993. It offers an understanding and synthesis of the County's most pressing landscape and planning issues and a range of alternatives for its future. The related studio option was offered in 1995.
The Upper San Pedro River Basin in Arizona and Sonora is experiencing a number of interrelated complex and pressing natural resource management challenges. The San Pedro River is recognized for its globally-significant biodiversity, its aesthetic and recreation value, the presence of several Endangered Species, as well as its value as a water resource for the region. In the 1980s, Congress created the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area (S.P.R.N.C.A). However, the level of protection afforded by this action does not guarantee the river's long-term viability as important habitat. The San Pedro can be characterized, in part, by the presence of shallow ground water and intermittent stream flow. Small changes in either the ground water table or the timing of river flow can greatly impact riparian vegetation and the animal species that live there. Today, water use in the region and the commensurate lowering of the ground water table is threatening critical habitat and other environmental values. Understanding the hydrologic processes that define the relationships between land use, ground water re-charge, stream flow, and vegetation dynamics is of critical importance to the land management of the entire region.
The study Alternative Futures for the Upper San Pedro River Basin, Arizona and Sonora is designed with two objectives. The first is to develop an array of plausible alternative future patterns of land uses for the region of Upper San Pedro River Basin, Arizona and Sonora, and to assess the resultant impacts which these scenarios might have on patterns of biodiversity and related environmental issues including vegetation dynamics, hydrologic and fire regimes, and visual quality. The second aim is the development of a generalized alternative futures protocol which can be applied to other regions currently experiencing development pressures.