You are here:

Conference looks at beauty, function and sustainability in the age of austerity.  CPD day showcases range of new thinking.

Day 1

What is beauty? – history, evolution and theory

Clare Rishbeth of the University of Sheffield and Professor Brian Evans of The Glasgow School of Art.
Professor Evans will focus on the on the essence of the sublime and the picturesque and their contribution to beauty and will also lead a CPD session on day two to on this subject. Clare Rishbeth is a lecturer in Landscape Architecture with a research focus on cultural diversity in landscape experience and design in regard to the urban environment. She’ll discuss beauty for a super diverse society. Clare is the principal Investigator for The Bench Project, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council as part of their Connected Communities programme. The focus of this research is on locations where people often 'hang out' and she’ll also host a CPD session on day 2.  

The pursuit of beauty: a core object or a trivial add-on?

Professor Nigel Dunnett and Anna Jorgensen of the University of Sheffield. Nigel Dunnett is Professor of Planting Design and Vegetation Technology, and Director of The Green Roof Centre. His areas of research include green roofs, rain gardens, pictorial meadows, and naturalistic planting design. He’ll present a challenging session about whether the pursuit of beauty as a sole objective could potentially be a dangerous direction for Landscape Architecture. Anna Jorgensen is senior lecturer with research interests on the ways in which different people experience, interact with, understand and represent landscape, especially wild or natural-looking vegetation. Anna will focus on beauty in landscape architecture and whether we have forgotten beauty and, if so, what are the impacts of doing so. She will also host a tour of Parkwood Springs on day 2.

Does the focus on function lead to an interest only in the bottom line?

Andrew Grant of Grant Associates. Andrew Grant is currently developing the Sheffield masterplan.  He is known for a creative approach to ecological/sustainable landscape design and he led the design team on the £500 million Gardens by the Bay project at Bay South in Singapore. The 54 hectare park explores the technical boundaries of landscape and horticulture in an Asian city and won the Building Project of the Year Award at the 2012 World Architecture Festival. Andrew’s session will provide insights from his work in the UK and abroad and also address persuading clients, and landscape architects, of the value of both function and the bottom line.

Do we all have a right to beauty in an age of austerity?

Caroline Julian of ResPublica. Caroline Julian is Deputy Director, Head of Policy and Strategy at ResPublica. Drawing on the ResPublica report ‘A Community Right to Beauty: Giving communities the power to shape, enhance and create beautiful places, buildings and spaces’ she’ll outline why ResPublica want to restore beauty to the heart of public policy and local planning. Their aim is not simply a matter of introducing new legislation but rather to foster a long term cultural shift requiring a strategic step by step approach.

What role does beauty play in planning, designing and reviewing landscape?

Clare Devine of Design Council CABE and Jenifer White of Historic England.  Clare Devine will outline how the Design Council CABE deals with beauty in Design Review. Jenifer White is national landscape adviser at Historic England and will discuss what consideration ‘beauty’ is given in Historic England and English Heritage projects.

Day one of the conference will finish with a three course dinner in Cutlers Hall.

Day 2

Day two will consist of breakout CPD sessions, with site visits in the morning and indoor sessions in the afternoon. Sessions include a guided tour of the Gold Route, a guided tour of Sheffield City Council's 'Grey to Green' project, and speakers for day 2 include:

Professor John Dover will host a CPD session on using green walls in the urban environment to deliver ecosystem services. Professor Dover is an ecologist with over 30 years’ experience and is Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Insect Conservation, and is author of ‘Green Infrastructure: Incorporating Plants and Enhancing Biodiversity in Buildings and Urban Environments’. His session will introduce the general categories of green wall (Natural Colonisation, Green Facades, Green Screens, and Living Walls) and will be followed by an examination of some of the different products currently available and how they can be used in the urban environment to deliver a range of ecosystem services ranging from screening ugly structures through to pollution reduction.

Tim O’Hare will host a CPD session on soil specification and testing. Tim has been a professional soil scientist for eighteen years and is also a council member of the Institute of Professional Soil Scientists and sits on the British Standards Institute’s working group Topsoil and other Growing Media. His session will look at various aspects of soil specification and testing to assist landscape architects in selecting, assessing or approving soils. Advice will be given on the key elements of soil specification for different end-uses, including wildflower grassland, sports pitches and podium landscapes.

Alan Simson will lead a CPD session on the benefits that trees can bring to Urban Futures. Alan is a chartered landscape architect and urban forester with extensive professional experience in the UK. He is currently Professor of Landscape Architecture and Urban Forestry at Leeds Beckett University and has led several European urban forestry research projects on behalf of the UK. His session will confirm the importance of trees to urban areas, and will consider the provable benefits that they can bring to the city. The prime focus of the session however will be on how trees can assist in ameliorating air-borne pollution in the city, currently one of the major dis-benefits of urban living in terms of human health and longevity.

Professor Brian Evans is the Professor of Urbanism and Landscape at The Glasgow School of Art and a founder member of the Glasgow Urban Lab. Professor Evans was also a partner at Gillespies for over 25 years and will lead a CPD session to discuss the picturesque and sublime in the contemporary context.

Clare Rishbeth from the University of Sheffield will discuss ‘what is beauty?’ with a session on beauty for a superdiverse society.

Olaf Schroth will host a CPD session on fractured landscapes, hydraulic fracturing and other new energy technologies in the LVIA. Olaf is a lecturer at the University of Sheffield in landscape planning, specialising in developing and testing technologies for environmental modelling and landscape visualisation. His work covers landscape and visual impact assessment, GIS, landscape visualisation and the impact of climate change adaptation.

Suzanne Simmons is leading a CPD session on CIRIA's SuDS guidance. Suzanne is a CIRIA Project Manager with over 20 years’ experience in the public realm and for private and commercial enterprises.

Day two of the conference will finish with a drinks reception.

Book now




Book now

Early bird tickets are a great way of saving money. Available until 19th February.

Early bird prices

Member early bird: £295

Pathway early bird: £250

Student early bird: £25

If you have a volunteer voucher this can be used with the earlybird offer.

Full prices

Member: £450

Non-member: 450

Pathway students: £300

Member concession: £100

Student: £50

Day 1 only: £195

Day 2 only: £195

If you have a volunteer voucher this can be used with the full offer.

Ticket prices include conference day, CPD day, evening meal at Cutlers Hall and drinks reception on Friday evening at the Department of Landscape Architecture.

All prices include VAT

Book now



CPD sessions include:

> fracturing landscapes - hydraulic fracturing and other new energy technologies with Olaf Schroth of the University of Sheffield

> natural play with Adam White of Davies White Associates

> the sublime and the picturesque in the contemporary context with Professor Brian Evans of The Glasgow School of Art

> drawing for landscape architecture from sketch to screen to site with Edward Hutchison

> soil specification and testing with Institute of Professional Soil Scientists’ council member, Tim O’Hare of Tim O’Hare Associates

> using green walls in the urban environment to deliver ecosystem services with Professor John Dover of Staffordshire University

> benefits that trees can bring to Urban Futures with Professor Alan Simson of Leeds Beckett University

> building green bridges with Kate Ahern of LUC and Clare Warburton of Natural England

> inclusive design with Helen Allen from hada/David Bonnett Associates

> closing the gap - how to select trees with Keith Sacre of Barcham trees

> CIRIA’s SuDS guidance with Suzanne Simmons of CIRIA

> proportionality guidance with Mary Fisher of LDA Design

> writing for Landscape with the editor Ruth Slavid

> economic benefits of investing in the environment with Thomas Harle and Tim Sutherland of Natural England 




Accommodation is not included, but here is a list of suggested hotels near the venue:

Leopold Hotel – 4 star

Copthorne Hotel – 4 star

Hilton Hotel – 4 star

Holiday Inn Royal Victoria– 4 star

Novotel – 4 star

Rutland Hotel – 4 star

Best Western Cutlers Hotel – 3 star

Jury’s Inn – 3 star

Sheffield Metropolitan Hotel – 3 star

Holiday Inn Express budget

Ibis Sheffield budget






























Book now


























© Landscape Institute 2016
Charity registered in England and Wales number 1073396