The State of Landscape

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.

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An assessment of the Streets Ahead ESAs

In June and July last year I looked into the legal and regulatory grey area in which the Streets Ahead programme operates.  The next logical step after looking into the regulatory context is to review the early stages of the programme, starting with the assessments. This might seem late in the day or an oblique line of reasoning, but the environmental assessment process is fundamental to the later stages of a project: it sets the tone for the project, identifying the type and extent of works required and frames the standards of work that are expected. Whilst it is tragic that so many healthy, beautiful and useful street trees can be felled legally, the process within which Streets Ahead is being carried out is so obscure that careful analysis of the original documents and practices is essential to finding out how it was decided to fell so many trees.

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Sheffield’s urban forest

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?

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Innovation in Plant Biosecurity

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.

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Brexit White Paper: a summary for landscape architects

The Government’s policy approach to Brexit was set out in a White Paper[1] 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.

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Our big green ally

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?

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