Sue Illman becomes Landscape Institute President and says it’s time to hold government to account on its commitment to landscape

Sue Illman
Sue Illman

Sue Illman became President of the Landscape Institute on 1 July. She takes over the two-year elected presidency from Jo Watkins.

Speaking at the President’s Reception at Charter House this week, Illman said that “it’s time for the landscape profession to focus on the many areas where the government has already made a commitment to good landscape”.

The government has signed up to the European Water Framework Directive and yet only 27 per cent of lakes and rivers are ecologically stable with water quality through pollution and over extraction being the key issues. In recent months, the UK has been confronted with major challenges in terms of water conservation – the hose pipe bans have been lifted but the major challenge of water scarcity that will confront us in the next decade remains. Illman said the government needs to recognise the ability of landscape professionals to solve a substantial part of this problem through integrated water management and water sensitive design.

“It’s up to us, the practitioners, to communicate the value we can bring to all developments at any scale. New housing, urban regeneration projects, heritage conservation, health and leisure, along with the transformation of our struggling high streets would all benefit from the support of landscape architects,” she said.

“As a body we also need to be much more vocal about the traditional house builder model where green space is seen only as a requirement not an opportunity, and we need to articulate the vast benefits of green infrastructure and convince those responsible that ‘green’ development has more to offer than ‘grey’ development.

“The Localism Act is a great opportunity for the profession – it will bring more demand for better landscapes as local communities are given the opportunity to shape their environments. The profession must seize the opportunity and help those communities realise their visions. Ask most people what they want and well-designed housing developments, town-centres, transport hubs, schools and hospitals are likely to be at the top of the list.”

Under Illman’s Presidency the Institute will publish new position statements on Housing, Water and Public Health and Well-being – all issues with major relevance to people’s everyday lives. The LI has also revamped its website with more focus on advocating the benefits of landscape architecture to clients.

Landscape Institute President’s Review 2010–2012
Also launched at the President’s Reception this week, was the Institute’s latest publication – Landscape Institute President’s Review 2010–2012 – which brings together memorable higlights of the LI’s work over the past two years, from influencing public policy to enabling communities to make better places. Download your copy for free at



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