Advancing the profession in Europe
In many European countries the profession of landscape architecture is not recognised at all. This obviously puts landscape architects trying to work in those countries in a very difficult position, but it has an effect on UK landscape architects as well.
It makes it much harder for UK landscape architects to set up a practice in other countries, and perhaps even to work on individual projects.
When public authorities in theses member states put public contracts out to tender, LI members may miss the chance of bidding because they specify that they are looking for an architect, a planner, or some other planning expertise.
If it was possible to obtain a greater degree of recognition for landscape architects across the European Union, this would be of benefit to everyone, and to this end a meeting was held in Birmingham on 10 and 11 February between EFLA (the European Federation for Landscape architecture) and ECLAS (European Council of Landscape Architecture Schools).
The meeting was convened by LI Past President Nigel Thorne, and the LI was represented on the EFLA side by President Jo Watkins, Past President Kathryn Moore, and on the ECLAS side by John Stuart Murray.
The purpose of the meeting was to take advantage of a small window of opportunity the profession may have to be included in a revised European Directive on the Recognition of Professional Qualifications.
Inclusion will not actually give EU-wide recognition to the profession, but if it can be achieved it will strengthen and support the efforts of national professional bodies in each country.
The Birmingham meeting prepared the texts necessary for submission to the European Commission, and it is likely that we will know by the early autumn whether the Commission is minded or not to include explicit reference to landscape architecture in the draft new Directive.