Many of the projects celebrated showcase the innovative ways in which landscape projects connect people, place, and nature, making a positive contribution to our lives at a crucial point in human history
As extreme weather becomes the new norm, the way we manage our landscapes is becoming even more important. Many of the winners of the 2019 Landscape Institute Awards showcase the innovative ways in which landscape interventions can help tackle the climate and biodiversity emergency.
Announced on Thursday 28 November at The Troxy in London, the winning projects showcase a range of crucial interventions: better managing water resources, using natural methods to mitigate hurricane damage, reclaiming streets and green spaces, improving air quality, connecting communities, and restoring habitats.
‘The LI Awards celebrate the contribution the landscape profession makes to all our lives,’ said LI President Adam White. ‘The standard continues to grow with over 180 entries this year, and we’re delighted to see the impact projects are having on people, communities and the wider landscape.
‘In June this year, the LI declared a climate and biodiversity emergency. That’s why I’m particularly impressed to see the range of projects leading the way in developing innovative ideas and approaches at this crucial time for our planet. At a time when we are seeing more and more extreme weather, from flooding in Yorkshire and Derbyshire to wildfires burning on several continents, we have the opportunity – as individuals and as a profession – to make a real difference.’
Guest of honour Sir David Attenborough, who received the LI Medal for Lifetime Achievement at the Awards, spoke about the importance of reconnecting communities with nature, and the part this can play in ensuring the natural world’s protection.
‘You have a great responsibility to bring the realities of the natural world to the understanding and the love of human beings worldwide,’ Sir David told attendees.
What’s Growing on the Greenway, by the Paul Hogarth Company’s Anthony McGuigan and Darren McKinstry, won both Communications and Presentation Award and the prestigious LI President’s Award.
The Connswater Community Greenway brilliantly connects people to the green space and biodiversity around them through a 9km linear park in East Belfast. Following the course of the Connswater, Knock and Loop Rivers, the Greenway creates a vibrant, attractive, and accessible parkland for leisure, recreation, and community events.
What’s Growing on the Greenway takes this to the next level. Inspired by the New York High Line’s ‘Plant of the Week’ blog, the two landscape architects responsible for the project wrote a weekly blog to encourage and celebrate the communities’ interaction with the new landscape.
Ordinarily, following a significant capital investment, landscape professionals move on to the next project. They rarely have the opportunity to engage with the people experiencing the place they helped to shape and create. Darren and Anthony bucked this trend with their blog, which grew in popularity – spawning two photographic exhibitions and a book detailing a year of exploring the developing connection between people, place, and nature in a revitalised urban landscape.
‘From Belfast Lough to Castlereagh Hills, the Conswater Community Greenway has created a diverse habitat with space for wildlife and plants to thrive,’ said Adam White.
‘The figures speak for themselves, 20,000 trees, 20,000 aquatic plants, 2,000 bulbs and 20,000 metres squared of wildflower meadow!
‘…But it’s what followed the completion of the project that really caught my eye.
‘[Anthony and Darren] came up with a truly innovative way to continue community engagement and foster further ownership once their project was opened to the public… Having visited the project earlier in the year and meet some of the community I learnt first-hand how they understood, appreciated and genuinely wanted to protect and enhance the new park for generations to come.’