The institutions have joined forces to tackle environmental, economic and social issues in a fast-changing world

Representatives from both organisations sign the memorandum of understanding (MOU)

The Landscape Institute (LI) and Institute of Place Management (IPM) will come together in a new strategic alliance to better enable their members to create and manage great places.

The organisations signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on the evening of Wednesday 6 September. This landmark agreement was made during the IPM’s 10th anniversary celebrations, and precedes their fourth biennial international conference at Manchester Metropolitan University.

Through combining both organisation’s training resources and insight, the partnership will give both place managers and landscape professionals unrivalled opportunities to develop and learn. The practitioners responsible for managing our town centres, public spaces and local environments will become better equipped to attract businesses and jobs, preserve public realms for all to enjoy, and prepare for future economic and environmental challenges.

Daniel Cook, Chief Executive of the LI, said that the agreement ‘marks the beginning of an exciting new era for both organisations’.

‘We are paving the way for more professional bodies to cooperate with us on major issues and so better serve the practitioners and policy makers who make and manage places.’

‘We have a great deal in common,’ Daniel said. ‘So a collaborative approach is very much a win-win. By working together, we are paving the way for more professional bodies to cooperate with us on major issues and so better serve the practitioners and policy makers who make and manage places.

‘Climate resilience, public health and wellbeing, resource security, environmental sustainability and more are all critical factors that our urban and rural environments need to address. This memorandum of understanding between our two institutions will enable us to pool resources and more efficiently equip our members to enrich society.’

‘We cannot continue to segregate and silo professional interests to the detriment of our towns, cities and rural areas. Our agreement with the LI represents a significant development for the whole placemaking sector.’

Professor Cathy Parker, Chair of the IPM, said: ‘Our agreement with the LI represents a significant development not just for our organisations, but for the whole placemaking sector. We need to collaborate and to combine the best thinking from both the urban and natural environments if we are going to have great and resilient places. We cannot continue to segregate and silo professional interests to the detriment of our towns, cities and rural areas.’

Based at Manchester Metropolitan University, IPM is a renowned research institution and provider of education and qualification. While LI members will benefit from access IPM’s ground-breaking findings and innovative insights, the LI will support IPM’s funding applications and contribute landscape expertise to future projects. It will also help to strengthen IPM’s membership offering.

‘At present, there is no chartered credential for place managers,’ Daniel said. ‘Working together, the LI and IPM will develop an accreditation model for these practitioners that will sit alongside our own Pathway to Chartership. This new pathway will acknowledge and mirror the extremely high standards set by our existing members, while catering for the varied skillset and knowledge base place managers must have.

‘We aspire to provide a home for landscape and placemaking practitioners of all types. This is an opportunity for our members to network and share crucial knowledge.’

‘We aspire to provide a home for landscape and placemaking practitioners of all types. Not only is this an opportunity for us to greatly enhance our membership offering, but also for our members to network and share crucial knowledge with one another.

‘The face of the industry is changing, and rapidly. It increasingly falls to local businesses and stakeholders to manage local environments, and it is imperative that the right professional knowledge and expertise is on hand to ensure that these places are healthy, sustainable and economically viable.’

Professor Parker concluded: ‘The professions we represent will shape and safeguard the future. I look forward to continuing and strengthening the alliance between our two institutes to better serve our members jointly.’

What is the Institute of Place Management?

The Institute of Place Management (IPM) is the international professional body and learned society that helps practitioners, academics and policy makers make better places. Formed in 2006, the Institute is wholly owned and operated by Manchester Metropolitan University.

With over 1,300 members, partners and friends worldwide, the IPM provides education, qualifications, continuing professional development and research and insight to town and city managers, Business Improvement District employees, council officers, local politicians and a variety of suppliers to the place management industry.

Find out more about IPM at

What is a memorandum of understanding?

A memorandum of understanding (MOU) is an agreement between two parties to work together towards common goals. A statement of intent to explore joint working, an MOU does not create any legally binding obligations.

Why has the LI signed this MOU?

In 2015, built environment think tank the Edge published Collaboration for Change: the Edge Commission Report on the Future of Professionalism. Among the reports key recommendations to professional institutions was that they demonstrate, by joint action, their effectiveness in areas such as ethics, education and competence, research, and industry reform.

The LI’s strategic direction is very much in line with the findings of the report. We believe that, in order to deliver growth, better support our members, and work in the public interest, we need to explore more strategic partnerships with like-minded organisations.

The LI and IPM share a focus in the fields of placemaking and place management. We also share a culture that focuses on enabling built and natural environment practitioners to help deliver the long-term needs of society. The MOU outlines how our organisations might work together to deliver a powerful and inclusive landscape and placemaking sector.

Who made the decision to sign the MOU?

The Board of Trustees signed off the decision to sign the MOU at the LI Board meeting on Tuesday 25 July. James Lord, Honorary Secretary of the LI, co-signed the agreement on 6 September with LI Chief Executive Daniel Cook.

What are the provisions of the MOU?

The MOU provides the basis for future agreements the LI and IPM might reach. It outlines, in broad terms, areas for future discussion that include:

  • the collaborative development and production of professional and technical standards and guidance
  • the development of a chartered credential that is relevant for urban design, placemaking and place management professionals, to coincide with the future development of additional routes to LI membership in 2018-19 and beyond
  • the planning and development of a joint CPD and training programme and reciprocal promotion of relevant events to our membership groups
  • the reciprocal extension of member discounts to events and conferences
  • joint participation in research and the sharing of research reports, policy briefings and other literature that can support our joint commitment to evidence-based policymaking
  • the possible sharing of services, office space and key systems on a service-level agreement basis

Will the MOU affect the services that the LI offers its members?

The aim of this MOU is to enrich our organisations’ membership benefits, not dilute them. By sharing knowledge and resources, the LI and IPM aim to make the provision of our services more efficient, simultaneously fulfilling our existing obligations while broadening and strengthening our offerings.

Will the MOU affect governance or standards of entry?

The MOU respects the existing governance arrangements of both organisations. Similarly, it does not provide for members of one organisation to join the other without meeting existing standards and following existing procedures. During the development of a chartered credential for place management professionals, the LI and IPM will acknowledge and respect the high entry standards that already exist for Chartered Members and Fellows of the Landscape Institute.


  1. Glad to see that the LI are engaging with a body that is clearly dedicated to, and skilled in the creation of good places.
    The UK landscape is, in my opinion, the crown in which jewels are set– towns, villages, ancient earthworks, Roman Roads, motorways, reclaimed slag heaps and earth art– the whole biz.

    The thing that really upsets me–and angers me too– is to see the landscape scarred by inanely ugly developments, whether places like Peacehaven in Sussex– bungalows for heroes– splurged in a grid fashion across once lovely Sussex -by-the- Sea downlands– or more modern horrors, typified by “little boxes on the hillside” whether 1960’s , 70’s, 80.90 or “noughties”.

    Some are ingenious in their banality. I often think it would be a great project to set landscape or urban design students ( I suppose I should now be calling these “placemaking students” ) to design the worst possible, ugliest, most damaging -to-the landscape housing estate or town extension, maybe with an industrial estate, road system, and packing-case hospital, that the student can conceive. Then ask them to design the same provision, but in the best possible way to create beauty and harmony (or indeed, contrast but good contrast) with the host landscape.

    Then see what they come up with. I think it would be instructive, and would indeed be educative and insight-provoking for the students involved. What to reject in design concepts, what to accept.

    The real tragedy is that so many places ( amazingly–designed by qualified design professionals) the built reality is banal, rubbish design, both in site planning, architecture, and (normally minimal landscape) , are closely related to the former putative design scenario . Peripheral estates of Noddy houses at high densities plonked down in fine countryside, with standard estate roads.

    What a horror.

    If the teaming up of the LI and IPM can improve the UK standard of development, and make good places, it will be fantastic!

    Lewis White CMLI


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