A recent review of architectural practice highlighted some of the challenges that people who design things to be made and lived in face: we study for the same amount of time as other tightly controlled professions, and certainly longer than those that aren’t tightly controlled, and yet we earn substantially less, whilst at the same time, we also see the work that we trained to do being done by people without the same training and education. Whilst this is causing a buzz amongst architects, it’s not news at all to landscape architects- we’ve always known that we don’t do this work for the early retirement.
The plight of Sheffield’s trees is well known: you’ve probably seen articles in the news with Sheffield residents and famous faces up in arms over the dramatic changes to the city’s streets. But alongside the anger and passion there is a question: how can such a seemingly dramatic programme of felling be allowed to be carried out in an era of unprecedented red tape and environmental protection?
Biosecurity and plant health is an awkward area for landscape architects to engage in: we tend to be generalists and biosecurity is a fast-changing and highly technical field with environmental, political and economic implications. Nevertheless, it’s an essential strand to what we do and understanding how our designs and actions affect biosecurity is a challenge.
The Government’s policy approach to Brexit was set out in a White Paper in February 2017 and the post below is a technical summary submitted to the Landscape Institute Biosecurity Group. The general approach in the White Paper is to ensure that all EU regulations which are directly applicable in the UK, and all laws which have been made in the UK implementing EU directives remain part of domestic law on the day we leave the EU.
A short twitter conversation this morning got me thinking: we can assess the natural environment and how we manage it in so many ways, and in nearly every metric we are causing a paradigm shift in the world around us. Sure, part of the problem is the language we use: ‘biodiversity’ and ‘ecosystem services’ don’t go anywhere near suggesting the wonder or might of these systems and so perhaps it’s no wonder that voters across the spectrum seem to rate the green agenda so low on their list of priorities. But for all the hullabaloo about how language shapes our understanding of the world, there must be more that we can do to put nature nearer to the top of the agenda. But what?
The book People Habitat by F. Kaid Benfield makes the well-versed argument that weight-related diseases are connected to a lack of walkable environments. This sounds intuitive: of course, if the incentives aren’t there, why would anyone walk for the sake of walking? As environmentalists, we typically go on to say that this is an urban problem, where there are fewer inspiring indicators of the natural world: the unrelenting tarmac divorces us from our instinctive needs to roam. And when was the last time you felt stressed in a nature reserve?