The long view: Spring issue of Landscape out next week

The long view: Spring issue of Landscape out next week

At the heart of this issue is a collection of ten short pieces, each written by a landscape architect, designer or public realm specialist and each speculating on a particular aspect of landscape’s near future. Each is also a markedly personal piece capturing the vigour, energy and intellect that’s alive and well in the profession today.

First up, landscape architect Ed Wall juxtaposes photographs of London’s Paternoster Square during the Occupy protests with illustrations from the original masterplan. The effect is to reveal the gap between the masterplan’s vision and the reality: the illusion of public space. On the same pages, Anna Minton, author of Ground Control, asks: where are the alternative models to a public realm in thrall to property finance and retail?

From the utopian to the dystopian, Ian Thompson considers our collective need for ‘imaginaries’, which has inspired his new masters programme at Newcastle University. Creating imaginaries that are fit for purpose is not the business of a single discipline, says Thompson, and the course is open to “cultural producers of all kinds”.

As one of the UK’s few black landscape architects, Paul Campbell asks why a profession that designs for diverse communities is failing in its efforts to attract more diverse practitioners.

Eleanor Lawrence encourages landscape architects to go back to their roots, as she considers whether a perceived weakness in planting design is a result of the design zeitgeist or due
to fewer landscape architects being confident in using plants. While Atkins’ Paul Reynolds predicts that Business Information Modelling (BIM) will fundamentally alter the structure of practices and how they function.

Elsewhere in this issue, Penny Beckett, chair of the Heritage Assets Working Group, makes the case for a living archive to protect the Landscape Institute’s cultural legacy. As she says, “the larger part of our heritage resources – perhaps our best resources – are not even in the existing archive, but are ‘out there’ in the offices of local authorities, private practices and members’ homes.”

Ruth Olden revisits Mile End Park for our Critique, to find that the site of the first purpose-built ‘green bridge’ has eschewed the idea of a park as a place to dwell, in favour of “paths designed
for moving ever onwards”.

There are shifts happening in sporting landscapes, too. Ken Worpole says that “time is up on soulless patches of green” and we take a look at that famous running track at Brixton’s Evelyn Grace Academy by Zaha Hadid and GROSS.MAX.

In ‘Turning points’, Tim Richardson looks at the history of competitions and interviews four studios about the lost competition that’s closest to their hearts. Win or lose, to participate, as Dutch landscape architect Michael Van Gessel says, “is the essence of renewal”.

George Bull, editor, Landscape

Also in this issue:

  • A report on the Green Infrastructure Partnerhip’s recently published draft scoping study
  • Four landscape architects share their views on how growing public awareness of the language and application of GI is having an impact on day-to-day practice

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