Farrell Review focuses on key role of landscape in place making

Landscape Institute Farrell Report
Landscape Institute calls on government and developers to support Farrell Review

Following earlier criticism from the Landscape Institute of the narrow focus and lack of appreciation of landscape, Sir Terry Farrell set up a number of consultation workshops including one on landscape and urban design.

This has evidently borne fruit since landscape is mentioned broadly and significantly. So, for example, the report recommends that there should be ‘PLACE reviews of existing places like high streets, mega hospital and housing estates and of infrastructure projects’ where PLACE stands for ‘planning, landscape, architecture, conservation and engineering’.

Farrell calls for a radical reform of architectural education, which would include a common foundation year before students chose to specialise in one of the five PLACE disciplines. This, the report argues, ‘promotes joined up thinking and specialisation’.

The report also calls for a radical rethinking of planning, to make it proactive rather than reactive. This could, Farrell believes, save resources.

Sue Illman, President of the Landscape Institute welcomed today’s publication of the Farrell Review saying:

‘The Landscape Institute is committed to ‘inspiring great places’ and welcomes the Farrell Review’s promotion of a new understanding of ‘PLACE’ bringing together planning, landscape, architecture, conservation and engineering.  This is a major step forward in recognising the need to fully integrate planning and design of the places that we create and maintain.

‘The Review acknowledges that ‘landscape is the primary infrastructure’ and that one of the greatest failures of focusing on development control is the quality of the public realm and that there is a need to strengthen the contribution of landscape, urban design and public art in making great places. We fully support the idea that funding for landscape should be demanded from developers by local authorities.

‘Following the LI’s recent publication on public health we particularly welcome the acknowledgement of the way in which public health can be ‘improved by creating human-scale pedestrian friendly spaces.’”

“Landscape architecture addresses both the built and the natural environment, therefore the commitment to a new level of connectedness between Institutes and government departments, (a theme echoed in our recent letter to the Prime Minister on the prevention of flooding) is welcomed. The flooding of the past few months illustrated the way in which different elements of the natural and built environment need to be fully coordinated and integrated in order to both tackle and prevent this type of disaster. A considered and integrated approach to how we create, plan and manage places is a highly desirable way forward.

‘The proposal to create a foundation year for all of those choosing a career in the built environment is a good way to ensure that the next generation of practitioners fully understand cross-disciplinary working and is equipped to meet the need to understand sustainability as well as design.

‘The proposal to create PLACE review panels which will recognise the knowledge of the professionals from each of these fields is welcomed. The proposal for design quality champions within local authorities and the establishment of the PLACE Leadership Council is recognition of the need to address all aspects of the built environment at both the national and local level.’

Speaking at the launch, Ed Vaizey, minister for culture, communications and creative industries, said, ‘This should not be a report that just lands on government desks. This is not the end of the process but the beginning.’

‘The real test of the report is to make it stick,’ Farrell said. ‘The author of another report said that the only way to do that is to become a raving nutter. We will all have to become raving nutters.’

The way to implement the report he said will be to work on the themes separately and to seek cooperation across the professions. ‘We will talk to the RIBA and also to the RIBA and the Landscape Institute,’ he said.

The group that supported the writing of the report also intend to take it to all the party conferences in the autumn.

Read the full review here.

The Landscape Institute will be publishing a member’s briefing on the Review.


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