Landscape Institute president Sue Illman made a passionate case landscape architects’ role in creating sustainable places during a debate in Leeds

ue Illman, president of the Landscape Institute
Sue Illman, president of the Landscape Institute

The event, chaired by Martin Wainwright, northern editor of The Guardian, was between Illman, Stephen Hodder, president elect of the RIBA, and Colin Haylock, president of the RTPI. The three were asked to address the question. ‘Can we create sustainable places?’

Illman concluded her presentation with the rallying cry: ‘Creating sustainable places to live is not an option, but a must, and whilst we must work together, the landscape profession has a key role to play in delivering it. ¬†What other profession can orchestrate beautiful outcomes that respond to people and place whilst reconciling the needs of the natural environment with the complex financial, technical, and societal considerations that sustainable development requires?’

One landscape architect who attended the packed event at Leeds Metropolitan University said, ‘Sue was the star of the show’.

Colin Haylock focused on neighbourhoods rather than homes, and said, ‘We need to think about sustainable neighbourhoods, and the intelligent use of limited resources.’ He concluded that ‘None of us can do this individually’

Stephen Hodder concentrated on the RIBA’s Homewise campaign and particularly on the recently released recommendations of its Future Homes Commission which looked at new ways of releasing funds for house building. He also said that there is enough land within cities and on brownfield sites to satisfy all the country’s housing need, without ther requirement to start building on the countryside.

Much of the discussion from the floor focused on the need for the professions to work more closely together, since working in silos is ineffective. People were surprised to learn about the degree of collaboration that already exists – it evidently needs to be communicated more widely.

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