Kingston University has announced that it is to close its undergraduate degree in landscape architecture.
This is a blow to the students currently on the programme of course, and a very sad decision for the many practising LI members who are proud alumni of the Kingston programme.
Kingston has indicated that it intends to keep the course open for current undergraduates until they have completed their degrees, but will be admitting no new students from now on. It also intends to continue offering courses at postgraduate level.
The loss of an undergraduate programme is of course not unexpected, given the difficulty universities are facing in terms of funding and recruitment. It is nevertheless a major blow for the profession to lose such a long-established programme.
Rob Baffour-Awuah, Chair of the Student Landscape Institute Council said, ‘Having just completed the undergraduate course at Kingston, I’ve experienced at first hand the positive influence of tutors such as Ed Wall and Pat Brown, amongst others. However like many students I’ve also experienced the effects of constrained resources and other day to day struggles. In order not to become isolated, it is important that Kingston’s remaining student body are engaged with the wider student network and with practitioners. It’s also important that landscape continues to develop, both at postgraduate level and in its increased presence within the undergraduate architecture course at Kingston.’
Claire Symons, LI London branch representative on Council, said, ‘The closure of the undergraduate course at Kingston is such sad news for the London Branch. It has produced and still is producing some great talent within the world of landscape architecture. This closure stops local students wanting to stay in London to study, whilst also preventing the chance for national and international students to experience student life in London. We feel it will have repercussions on the creativity and ideas produced within the city. At a holistic level, the Kingston closure will severely impact on the number of students wanting to take up landscape architecture as a career – this is detrimental to the future of our profession.’
Landscape Institute chief executive Alastair McCapra said, ‘The main focus of our attention now will be to ensure that the students enrolled on the course are properly looked after and that appropriate arrangements in are in place for them to continue their studies with minimum disruption. In the broader context, although times are very tough for accredited universities, the news is not all negative, and the Landscape Institute has recently received two new course accreditation applications from other institutions.’