Marc Miller's research examines technology, images, and people with two areas of interest. "Broadly speaking, I think of these as questions about how information is organized in the box (or computer) to produce designs and how information in the box is made accessible to the public to make decisions."
The first of these look at how site conditions and other constraints are used to create design proposals, and how these processes can be simulated using computers to research and emulate historical design styles as ways of making landscapes and spaces (formalisms). The second topic considers how landscape architects communicate their environmental concerns to people that do not understand the value of landscape architecture beyond, parks, plazas, and gardens. This work also challenges the methods used today to imagine landscapes by making images that more people can see. Miller looks at these two areas with a fundamental interest in the relationship between image-based practices like drawing and painting, and how they relate to image production in landscape architectural design.
Miller's research tests the validity of treating precedent as processes that can become computerized programs (computational formalisms). Given that, his work looks at how historical design artifacts influence contemporary design processes, he also considers the validity using precedent to address future problems on a global scale. The intention is to make landscape ideas as publicly accessible – if not more – as when painting made landscapes accessible during the 16th century when paintings were an integral part of making landscapes. To that end, Miller explore contemporary forms of media as a way to communicate design problems to a broad audience in a manner analogous to paintings and drawings.
At the core of all of his research is the idea that landscape architectural ideation and practice must make a shift to look towards problem-solving for the future instead of repeating design processes from the past in order to remain relevant. Therefore, the goal of both research tracks is to teach students how to be critical of the past and responsive to their futures.