Landscape architect and immediate past-president of the Landscape Institute Jo Watkins has been appointed to the Construction Industry Council Board
Watkins says he is a huge fan of the work the CIC has been doing on a whole range of issues relevant to the landscape profession, and in particular of the way it engages with government.
‘It is a huge honour and a reflection perhaps of the way that landscape is emerging from its role as the Cinderella construction profession into something which must be considered as an absolute necessity rather than a nice-to-have-if-we-can-afford-it component of the building process,’ he says.
The recognition of the success of the Olympic Park, he adds, may have helped in some small way.
Watkins sees his appointment as ‘a terrific opportunity to raise the profile of the profession, not just among our colleagues in allied disciplines, but also through the CIC, to other umbrella organisations representing all aspects of construction’. And this is important, he says, because of changes to the procurement process which place big contractors much more in the driving seat. ‘The CIC opens doors for us and perhaps most important of these is the door to government.’
Watkins notes that for an eternal sporting pessimist, he is surprised to find himself an eternal optimist when it comes to the future of landscape architecture: ‘During my presidency I was able to meet a large cross section of the membership across the UK and in Ireland, and while it is clear that times are tough, there’s an awful lot of very good work going on with some practices rushed off their feet. The Olympics were a great advertisement for the power of landscape to transform places and we need to capitalise on that. The CIC offers us a way to help achieve this.’