2021 Issue 1
Food and land use Transforming the high street
DESIGN TANK PHOTO INICOLAS TOURRENC
Julien de Smedt
PUBLISHER Darkhorse Design Ltd T (0)20 7323 1931 darkhorsedesign.co.uk email@example.com EDITORIAL ADVISORY PANEL Holly Birtles CMLI, Associate Landscape Architect B|D. Stella Bland, Head of Communications, LDA Design
Serious times require transformational thinking
Peter Sheard CMLI, Landscape Architect. John Stuart-Murray FLI, Landscape Architect. Jaideep Warya CMLI, Landscape Architect,The Landscape Partnership. Jo Watkins PPLI, Landscape Architect. Jenifer White CMLI, National Landscape Adviser, Historic England.
LANDSCAPE INSTITUTE Commissioning Editor: Paul Lincoln, Executive Director Creative Projects and Publishing firstname.lastname@example.org Copy Editors: Jill White and Evan White President: Jane Findlay PLI CEO: Daniel Cook Landscapeinstitute.org @talklandscape landscapeinstitute landscapeinstituteUK Advertise in Landscape Contact Saskia Little, Business Development Manager 0330 808 2230 Ext 030 email@example.com
Landscape is printed on paper sourced from EMAS (Environmental Management and Audit Scheme) certified manufacturers to ensure responsible printing. The views expressed in this journal are those of the contributors and advertisers and not necessarily those of the Landscape Institute, Darkhorse or the Editorial Advisory Panel. While every effort has been made to check the accuracy and validity of the information given in this publication, neither the Institute nor the Publisher accept any responsibility for the subsequent use of this information, for any errors or omissions that it may contain, or for any misunderstandings arising from it.
Landscape is the official journal of the Landscape Institute, ISSN: 1742–2914
In 2012, the Landscape Institute, together with the Garden Museum, ran a competition to create a High Line for London. In tune with the times, the results were a mixture of the serious and the playful. Railway lines were turned into cycle paths, a post office tunnel became a mushroom farm, and the Regent’s canal was repurposed as an 8 metre long lido. We now live in more serious times. Our most recent competition, Transforming the Urban Landscape, stimulated 160 responses, many demonstrating incredible strengths of design and considerable thoughtfulness, but above all, a seriousness of intent. The professional winners have focused on the street where they work and used it to demonstrate ‘where an environmental revolution could take place’. The winner of the student category has taken an area of wasteland and turned it into a focus for the natural environment. Read more about it on page 66 and have a look at the exhibition that catalogues the entries online. The nine years that have passed since the Olympic year have shown a move towards an increased understanding of the potential impact of bringing nature into the city through food growing, new approaches to the way in which we use streets and public spaces, and an increased respect for parks in the city and in a rural setting. This edition of Landscape tackles many of these issues. The broken relationship between the rural and the urban in the production of food is the subject of Sitopia, how food can save the world [p6]. Integrating the city and food is
viewed from an Indian perspective [p12]. Dirt! looks at food security and land use in Lebanon [p16] and Cofarming considers a new approach to farming the land [p19]. The future of farming is tackled in an outline of the Agriculture Act [p25] and this is complemented by reports from Exmoor and the New Forest on the likely impact of the Glover Report [p28]. We also celebrate some significant achievements: 2020 marked the decision by Historic England to add a large number of post-war designed landscapes to the register [p32] and the European Landscape Convention celebrated its 20th anniversary [p44]. We discover the relevance of a hundred-year-old garden village to our current times [p62], make the most of the urban lane [p56], and we also have an astonishing account of a project to mark the rise and fall of the whaling industry in South Georgia [p48]. Paul Lincoln Commissioning editor
2021 Issue 1
Food and land use Transforming the high street
Cover image: Back Down to Earth, winner of the Transforming the Urban Landscape competition. A joint collaboration between Hilary Barber (landscape architect, graphic designer and artist) and Adam Greatrix (associate partner from the Gillespies Leeds studio).
© 2021 Landscape Institute. Landscape is published four times a year by Darkhorse Design.
The European Landscape Convention
How food can save the world
Why the landscape profession must lead
Celebrating 20 years
Integrating the city and food
The Agriculture Act
An Indian Perspective
The future of farming
The Glover Report
Food security and land use in Lebanon
The view from Exmoor and the New Forest
Responding to South Georgia
A living library
A new approach to farming the land
Celebrating post-war landscapes
Landscape as a climate solution
Policy The Environment Bill
Climate emergency advice
77 Food growing and climate emergency
Policy The Planning White Paper
Chalk, cherries and committees
Finding space and sanctuary on the edge
Lessons from a 100-year-old garden village
CPD AND TRAINING
Transforming the Urban Landscape competition
Creating a vision for post-COVID-19 streets and spaces
F E AT U R E By Carolyn Steel
How food can save the world Carolyn Steel argues that putting food at the heart of our thinking represents our best chance of creating an equitable, healthy and resilient society.
ow will we live in the future? More specifically, how can we thrive on our overcrowded, overheating planet? By 2050, 80 percent of us are expected to be living in cities. But what will those cities look like, and what effect will they have on their productive hinterlands, and the natural world in which both sit? The current pandemic has thrown such questions into high relief, raising fundamental issues concerning our relationship with nature, the urban-rural partnership, and our very idea of “a good life”. And at the centre of all these questions is one that often gets overlooked: that of how we are going to eat. Living in a modern city like London, it can be hard to see how profoundly food shapes our lives. Industrialisation has obscured the vital links without which no city could survive: those linking it to the countryside. The empty supermarket shelves that greeted shoppers at the start of lockdown were thus a wake-up call for many: the moment when the illusion of effortless plenty was shattered. For ecologists, of course, this was far from news as many had been warning for decades that our increasing encroachment on wilderness and loss of biodiversity was exposing us to a number of threats, such as climate change, mass extinction and zoonotic disease.
1.Building sitopia? Masterplan for Almere Oosterwald. © MVRDV Architects
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The crisis we now face is the result of a 12,000-yearold experiment in eating and living. The invention of farming and subsequent rise of urbanity around 5,500 years ago represented a radical shift in the way our ancestors lived. For the previous two-million-or-so years, humans had been hunter-gatherers, living in small numbers in a variety of habitats: plains, forests, mountains, deserts, sea coasts and arctic wastes. Our ancestors’ ability to thrive for millennia in such diverse environments is testimony both to our human flexibility as omnivores and our inventive use of technology to help us survive. Aboriginal Australians’ modification of their landscape through practices such as the strategic burning of forest dates back a remarkable 50,000 years1. The success of such forager societies bears witness to our human capacity to live in harmony with the natural world. So when did we lose the knack? The short answer is that our advancing technological capacity has blinded us to the need to maintain such a balance. This was not the case for our ancestors: on the contrary, early city-dwellers were quick to recognise both the promise and danger of their new way of life. Most creation myths conflated the discovery of grain with the birth of civilisation, while simultaneously viewing the activity that produced it as a curse2. When our ancestors took up farming, not only did they work harder than before, but their health suffered: average heights and life expectancies shrank, as people began suffering from 2
previously unknown diseases of malnutrition such as rickets, scurvy and anaemia3. By swapping their rich natural diets for the relative poverty of domesticated foods, our ancestors started down a path with which we are now all too familiar. Today, we know that complex, diverse diets are fundamental to plant and animal health, yet we remain locked into a system bent on producing the very opposite. COVID-19 has served to highlight what was already clear to anyone who cared to look: our relationship with nature is dangerously out of kilter. If we are to maintain our current lifestyle to the end of the century and beyond, we’ll need a very different strategy for living and eating – activities so inextricably linked that they effectively form one indivisible whole. Whether or not we realise it, we live in a world shaped by food, a place I call sitopia (from the Greek sitos, food + topos, place). Since we don’t value food, however, we live in a bad one; so bad, indeed, that it threatens our destruction. In rethinking our lives and their relationship with the natural world, therefore, there is no better place to start than food. Urban Paradox Since food was highly valued in the pre-industrial world, it provides us with plenty of clues as to how we might re-adopt a similar attitude. Both Plato and Aristotle, for example, saw self-sufficiency as the ultimate aim of the polis (state), since this was considered key to its political independence. Both
2. Roman food miles. The Food Supply of Ancient Rome. © Carolyn Steel
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3. Ambrogio Lorenzetti: Allegory of the Effects of Good Government – A rare moment of city and country in harmony. © Bridgeman Images
4. A cow-keeper in Drury Lane, London, 1825. Fresh milk in the pre-industrial city © Trustees of the British Museum
COVID-19 has served to highlight what was already clear to anyone who cared to look: our relationship with nature is dangerously out of kilter.
philosophers described an ideal state as one in which every citizen would have a house in the city and a farm in the countryside from which to supply it. Household management, or oikonomia (from oikos, household + nemein, management) was thus the building-block of the state, in contrast to chrematistike, the making of money for its own sake, which Aristotle condemned on the basis that it had no natural limits and thus could never bring happiness – a warning that modern economics (derived, of course, from oikonomia) seems to have forgotten5. Most pre-industrial cities did in fact practice some form of oikonomia, since most had highly productive local food economies. Towns and cities of every size were invariably surrounded by market gardens, vineyards and orchards, where fruit and vegetables could most benefit from ‘night soil’ (human and animal waste) that was carefully collected and rotted down for manure. Most households also kept pigs, chickens or goats, feeding them on kitchen scraps. Since cows and sheep could walk, they were often reared far from the city, and were fattened up on spent brewers’ grain before being finally brought to market. Since fresh meat was a luxury that few could afford, most city dwellers survived on bread, rice or some other staple, with a little dried meat or fish, cheese, pickles and vegetables for flavour. Menus in the pre-industrial cities were simple, and due to the difficulty of feeding themselves, most cities remained small. With occasional exceptions such as ancient Rome (which used its military might and a vast slave-driven navy to import most of its food from its conquered territories), this urban model survived intact until the coming of the railways. The ability to transport food rapidly and cheaply over great distances effectively emancipated cities from geography,
and they soon began to spread, in tandem with their hinterlands. Within a decade of the railroads’ arrival in the American Midwest, most of its native animal and human inhabitants (an estimated 60 million bison and Native American tribes including the Niitsitapi (Blackfeet), Sioux, and Chippewa) had either been slaughtered or removed to reservations, and its grasslands converted into the largest expanse of grain the world had ever seen. Chicago became the food emporium of the world, its meatpackers growing rich on cheap grain fed to cattle. The packers were the original pioneers of the modern food industry, inventing many of the systems and processes – efficiencies of scale, streamlined production, logistical mastery and ruthless business practices – that would come to shape it. They laid the foundations that twentieth-century industrial farming
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would complete: the illusion of cheap food. As the countryside became increasingly mechanised, rationalised and drenched with chemicals, city dwellers basked in lower prices, while politicians turned a blind eye to the mergers and acquisitions that were creating the giant food corporations that bestride the globe today.
Study how a society uses its land, and you can come to pretty reliable conclusions as to what its future will be. E. F. Schumacher.4
Effects of Good Government The question of how to eat in the twenty-first century is a ‘wicked’ problem, since it involves everything from ecology, politics and economics to culture, values and identity. In pursuit of the modernist dream, however, its importance has been systematically obscured. What is increasingly clear is that the way in which we feed ourselves can no longer be left to the vagaries of the market. After decades of conveniently ‘leaving it to Tesco’, our politicians must accept the responsibility that their ancestors always recognised as primary: feeding their people. What does this mean in practice? Certainly not a return to the nationalisation of wartime, but rather a recognition that, since it is central to our chances of living well in the future, food must be central to our political thinking. By extension, so must the question of how we use and inhabit land. Five and a half millennia into our human urban experiment, nothing essential has changed. We still depend on nature for our sustenance, and our greatest collective responsibility is to maintain a balance between our needs and those of the natural world.
5. The invention of cheap meat. Chicago Union Stockyards, 1880.
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6. Growing food in the city. Ben Flanner, Brooklyn Grange Rooftop Farm. © Carolyn Steel
As utopians have long recognised, this means achieving a balance between city and country. Perhaps the most famous image of this – Ambrogio Lorenzetti’s 1338 series of three frescoes, The Allegory of the Effects of Good Government – depicts the medieval city-state of Siena, its urban and rural halves in perfect, productive harmony. Its message is clear: look after your countryside, and it will look after you. The concept was reworked for the railway age by Ebenezer Howard in his 1902 plan for a Garden City. Recognising our human need both for society and nature, Howard argued that a network of dense communities of limited size (32,000 residents) surrounded by countryside could provide the benefits of city and country living, while negating the downsides of both6. The Garden City was, in effect, a prototypical city-state, in which all land would be owned by the trust, so that when land values rose, it would be the citizens, not private landowners, who would benefit. Howard got his idea from US economist Henry George, who argued in his famous 1879 book Progress and Poverty that the land belonged to everyone, and those who wished to use it exclusively should pay for the privilege through a community land rent, or land value tax. Such a ground rent, Howard believed, could not only fund public services for the Garden City, but would preserve the agricultural land around it, which private owners might otherwise be tempted to develop. One hundred years on, the time for such ideas has come. The evidence is overwhelming that we need to put the oikonomia back into economics: we must revalue land and its most essential product, food. We have entered a neogeographical age and can no longer afford industrial food’s externalities. Revaluing food would be a radical move yet would also be our most direct route towards rebalancing our
relationship with nature. Industrial meat or palm oil gained at the expense of lost rainforest would become unaffordable, while locally produced organic vegetables would emerge as the bargain they have always been. Using food as a lens to rethink the ways we share and inhabit land could create new landscapes in which both humanity and nature can flourish. As Patrick Geddes once put it, we can make ‘the field gain on the street, not merely the street gain on the field’7. At every scale, from kitchen gardens and neighbourhood orchards to regional food networks, post-fitted metropolises and regenerative farming, we can bring society and nature closer together. Alongside the necessary land and tax reforms, we can build a world in which everyone can afford to eat and live well – surely the baseline for any great society. COVID-19 has thrown up numerous unanswered questions, not least what the future urban-rural relationship will look like. Yet the pandemic has also shown that more regionally-based, less frenetic lifestyles are not only possible, but desirable for many. Could such findings form the basis of a new vision of what constitutes “a good life”? Nowhere is the question more acute than in the UK, where our imminent departure from the EU will bring massive disruption to all forms of trade, while our theoretical freedom to choose how we farm and eat in future will test our values as never before. Whatever the outcome, however, one thing is for sure: putting food at the heart of our thinking represents our best chance of creating an equitable, healthy and resilient society fit for the future. Carolyn Steel is a leading thinker on food and cities. Her 2008 book Hungry City: How Food Shapes Our Lives is an international best-seller, and her concept of sitopia (food-place) has gained broad recognition across a range of fields in academia, industry and the arts. A director of Kilburn Nightingale Architects in London, Carolyn studied at Cambridge University, and has since been a visiting lecturer at Cambridge, London Metropolitan and Wageningen Universities, and at the London School of Economics, where she was the inaugural Studio Director of the Cities Programme. A Rome scholar in 1995-6, Carolyn is in international demand as a speaker, and her 2009 TED talk has received more than one million views. Her second book, Sitopia: How Food Can Save the World, was published by Chatto & Windus in March 2020.
See Bill Gammage, The Biggest Estate on Earth: How Aborigines Made Australia, Allen & Unwin, 2012, p.xxii.
The Bible famously does this in the story of Adam and Eve.
See Tom Standage, An Edible History of Humanity, Atlantic Books, 2010, p.18.
E. F. Schumacher, Small is Beautiful, Vintage, 1973, p.81.
See Aristotle, The Politics, T.A. Sinclair (trans.), Penguin, 1981, p.85.
Ebenezer Howard, Garden Cities of To-Morrow, (1902), MIT Press Paperback Edition, 1965.
Patrick Geddes, Cities in Evolution (1915), Routledge 1997, p. 96.
Watch Carolyn Steel speaking at the LI CPD Day: Bringing nature into the city
F E AT U R E Sandeep Balagangadharan Menon
Integrating the city and food systems: an Indian perspective The notion that food has nothing to do with urban landscape planning and design needs to be revisited, argues Sandeep Balagangadharan Menon.
vailability of food has been one of the primal considerations to help a species decide on its habitat – including humans. This explains the location of some of the earliest civilisations near fertile river valleys. Producing food is a complex process which depends on seasons, biogeographic qualities of the land and the intertwined issues of economic gains and socio-cultural histories of food-producing societies. The advancements made in the last century in storage and transportation have made it easy for food produced in distant lands to be made available in the local super markets within days, with an assurance of enhanced shelf life. This is a game-changer in ‘urbanperiurban-hinterland’ relationships, but it has also in effect alienated the perceived connections between the acts of producing food and the eventual consumer. This alienation, even though it is a global phenomenon, has distinct effects on the lives of urban dwellers, especially in the ‘Global South’, or less developed regions. Indian cuisine is myriad and diverse. Local ingredients, traditional cooking 12
techniques, bioclimatic peculiarities and cultural beliefs have traditionally led to a great diversity. It may be a bit naïve to imagine the ‘spicy curry’ as being the epitome of Indian cuisine, since in India the word ‘curry’ could connote a variety of dissimilar dishes with entirely different ingredients depending on the location within the country. The role played by ’food’ in the history of the Indian sub-continent is very interesting. The European quest for controlling the ‘Asian Spice Trade’, especially of the Malabar black pepper, propelled the late 15th century Iberian expeditions of Christopher Columbus and Vasco Da Gama. Columbus’s expedition lead to the ‘discovery’ of the Caribbean islands in 1492. What followed was an exchange of plants, diseases and culture – often referred to as the ‘Columbian Exchange’. This expedition introduced tomatoes, chillies, potatoes, pineapples, cashews and many more plants to the “Old World”. Vasco da Gama’s voyage to India opened up new avenues for spice trade from the shores of the Malabar Coast to Europe, and also led to the introduction of many of the common ingredients which were unknown to
the gastronomic palate of the region. The following centuries saw the introduction of many new species of plants which have since become an integral part of the Indian cuisine. Easily cultivable vegetables with longer shelf lives gained prominence over the native species, including potatoes, tomatoes, chillies and tapioca. More than 820 million people globally do not have secure access to food1. In an increasingly unequal world, the proportion of people who are “food insecure” is growing at an alarming rate, especially in cities in times when urban immigration has reached peak levels. (UN Habitat 2010). Agriculture is the primary source of livelihood for about 58% of India’s population, and India is among the 15 leading exporters of agricultural products globally2. However, Indian cities have been witnessing an massive increase in their urban immigration rate coupled with climatic vagaries that destroy crops, leading to localised food crises. This is further complicated by the varying food cultures, cuisines of choice, and consumption patterns of the various cities within one country. The lockdowns
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1. Railway vegetable gardens © Sandeep Balagangadharan Menon
820 million people globally do not have secure access to food.
imposed as part of the COVID-19 pandemic control measures led to an unprecedented disruption in the food system chains from rural zones to the urban areas. This has revealed a chasm in the urban systems of Indian cities, an implicit dependence on rural hinterlands for agricultural produce, and the lack of urban farms in cities. Access to food is heavily compromised for the urban poor, primarily due to their low income levels and the rising costs of living in cities. The choice of food in such cases may be dictated by the lower costs of sourcing it, and not necessarily on its nutritive value, leading to malnourishment and severe deficiencies of micro- and macro- nutrients. Indian cities are marked by the presence of the ‘informal sector’, which also includes the informal food systems produced and consumed within cities. This sector is deemed invisible while planning for cities, and an unusual focus is often given to the act of ‘formalising the informal’ in the planning processes within the city. A ride on the suburban system of trains in Mumbai would reveal another facet of this informal chain: the planted strips of coriander, spinach, okra and
other leafy vegetables along the edges of the railway tracks throughout the city and its suburbs. This is an outcome of an innovative scheme by the Indian Railways titled ‘Grow More Food’, which prevented encroachment of the railway lands in the 1970s, wherein vacant railway land in the city of Mumbai and its suburbs were allotted to railway employees on lease for cultivation, and to help them earn extra income to support their families3. However, the lack of quality control in the system and high chances of contamination (due to the use of untreated sewage water for irrigation) are likely to put the health of consumers, mostly the urban poor, at severe risk. The informal sector of food supply is crucial in bridging the gap between the supply and access of food in the city. The planning and design for urban zones in the ‘Global South’ needs to take the informal sector into cognisance and allow for provisions to augment them. The COVID-19 induced lockdown – and the subsequent mass exodus of migrant workers from Indian cities to the countryside – have exposed the inadequacies of the urban systems, especially the informal systems in
the urban milieus. However, this time of crisis also spurred hope within individuals, organisations and some local Governments, who are taking food security and sufficiency seriously and rising to the challenge with some ingenious ideas. Households in the coastal State of Kerala in peninsular India witnessed a renewed interest in cultivating food in one’s own yard. The State is well known for its dependence on food and raw materials from neighbouring States, despite having salubrious weather, fertile lands and abundant water resources. The lockdown imposed by the Government, combined with panic buying, led to scarcity of essential food and vegetable supplies. Government organisations like Vegetable and Fruit Promotion Council Keralam (VFPCK) and HortiCrop initiated a ‘food selfsufficiency drive’ by encouraging homestead farming. VFPCK launched the sale of ‘Vegetable Challenge Kits’ comprising of biomanure, organic pesticides, growbags and seeds priced at reasonable rates, encouraging a new crop of homestead enthusiasts to indulge in farming local varieties of vegetables suited to the climatic and 13
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2. Local produce © Sandeep Balagangadharan Menon
dietary patterns of Kerala. Megacities like Mumbai, Delhi and Bengaluru witnessed a new citizen-led movement of sourcing fresh produce directly from farms. These movements attempted to solve one of the biggest paradoxes of our modern food production systems: the marginalisation of the actual producers due to the heavy handedness of the middlemen, who siphon off a substantial share of the profit. The lockdown and interstate movement restrictions forced the established logistics and supply networks to cease to function. Multiple citizen groups in various parts of the cities got together, and arranged the supply of fresh produce directly from small scale farmers and food producers who were apprehensive of the lockdown and its subsequent consequences for their harvest. The recent push by the Indian Government to adopt digital payments at the grass roots has also helped farmers receive timely payments. The pandemic also gave environmental activists and NGOs in cities an opportunity to push for more localised food systems. They also ensured that the negative impacts of large scale agriculture on biodiversity 14
are being brought to the forefront of policy discussions. Many residents in group housing societies and high rise apartments came together to indulge in community farming in their balconies and terraces, using the seed kits provided by the NGOs. These NGOs and citizen groups have also been trying hard to fill in the voids in supply chains to the urban poor, and are augmenting the informal systems of distribution to the vulnerable in society. The pandemic and the climate crisis do force us to question the greater challenges of long term support to these sustainable models of production and supply. This is an opportune moment for landscape architects and planners to integrate these models and tackle constraints concerning the changing climate and environmental issues. Innovations in how food production can be reimagined as an integral part of city living are the need of the hour. Homestead farm patches, terrace gardens and urban common gardens could be the key to offsetting at least part of the food demand for cities. The notion that food has nothing to do with urban landscape planning and design needs to be revisited. The ongoing
Smart Cities programme of the Indian Government, which focuses on urban technological upgrade, spatial design enhancements and urban inserts, need to be reimagined and keep in mind the issue of food security to ensure a truly resilient urban future. Sandeep Balagangadharan Menon is a practising landscape architect and a core faculty member at KRVIA, Mumbai. His academic interests range from ecological urbanism, landscape ecology, sustainable urban water management, ecological corridors and wetland systems.
‘The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2019, ‘Safeguarding Against Economic Slowdowns and Downturns’. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO); Rome, Italy: 2019. Available online: http://www.fao.org/3/ca5162en/ca5162en.pdf [accessed on 1 October 2020)]. https://www.ibef.org/industry/agriculture-india.aspx [accessed on 20-11-2020].
https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/mumbaisurban-railway-farms-40309 [accessed on 10-11-2020].
The notion that food has nothing to do with urban landscape planning and design needs to be revisited
ÂŠ Sandeep Balagangadharan Menon
F E AT U R E By Nikolett Puskas
Dirt! More than half of the Lebanese population now lives in poverty as a result of multiple crises. Food security and land use are more relevant than ever.
e are living in a moment where a globally shared collective memory is being created by COVID-19, but it is important to emphasize the even larger on-going crisis: the climate emergency. These two major challenges have an immediate impact on our daily lives. However, the situation is further exacerbated in some corners of the world. One such place is Lebanon, which is facing extraordinarily tough times. In addition to these two challenges, there is an ongoing economic crisis, topped off by the Beirut blast of 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate on 4th August 2020. The port and the grain silos were destroyed, resulting in the loss of approximately 15,000 tonnes of grain. In this gloomy context, we can still find seeds of hope and inspiration in Lebanon.
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1. The happy face of community gardening, © Laszlo Spengler
2. Lebanese rural landscape © Nikolett Puskas
Extreme events highlight our vulnerabilities. These events also demonstrate a people’s resilience and adaptive capacities. Since the IPCC report in 2007, increasing attention is paid to the importance of having adaptation measures and strategies in place that can address future uncertainties and vulnerabilities. This approach is primarily shared by scientists and academics, together with a growing number of leaders and public bodies who recognise the crucial importance of this topic, as more cities are affected by extreme natural events, a consequence of changing climate. Beirut had no such plans or any mitigation strategies in place when it was hit by an unnatural event. It did however have its people and a unique social fabric. Without waiting even for one moment, people came together, self-organised, to clean up the wreckage and provided help for those seriously affected by the explosion in any way required. This article focuses on aspects of food security and urban agriculture by looking at two local initiatives. I spoke with Souad Abdallah, who initiated ‘Kon’, a social solidarity movement focusing on agriculture. It started on Souad’s rooftop in the Furn el Chebbak neighbourhood of Beirut, as a genuine grassroots initiative with a handful of neighbours coming together. One of the triggers for this was the home quarantine. We all wanted to
‘breathe’ and have a sense of space beyond the four walls of our homes. Being locked down in a concrete jungle made us all the more thirsty for ‘green’. In this context, the idea of gardening was not only caring for and nurturing plant life, but also a way of caring for ourselves and our mental health. Gardening and farming also offer an opportunity to deconstruct the gendered notion of ‘care’, historically assigned to women in western societies1. It is also an elegant way of ‘taking our future into our own hands’. Souad had no previous training, relevant professional knowledge or skills in this field, but she managed to create a beautiful network with experts who were willing to share their knowledge and provide workshops (both offline and online) for the community – the non-expert part of that network. The topics included vermicomposting2, the solitary wasp3 and seed extraction4. There was a lot of experiential learning as well, as they tried different methods of cultivation and encountered particular problems unique to Beirut’s microclimate. They employed the lasagna gardening technique5, for which the green waste was collected in the neighbourhood. The other trigger was the Lebanese revolution, that initially made Souad think deeply about the urgent need to transform the approach to aid assistance. Lebanon is a country which has been
dependent on foreign aid for a long time. This is clearly an unsustainable approach, and it has also made many of its people forget about their own cultural heritage, resources and indigenous sustainable practices. The global pandemic and the blast has made this all the more relevant and pressing, urging us to go back to our roots and revive these practices. After extensive research, Kon adopted permaculture6, based on the core values of fair share and equal respect for people and nature. The initiative even received a donation in the form of land use outside Beirut, where the volunteers planted and harvested wheat by hand and returned the produce to the local community. Next year the plan is to cultivate 5,000 square metres of land. The initiative employs circular economy7 and barter principles8. Urban agriculture is a demanding endeavour, an intense interaction with living things, where one has to quickly respond to needs and keep the plants alive, but it also brings a community together and lifts spirits with the realisation that one is not alone in their beliefs and values. The Karantina Land Food Initiative was born as a response to the blast, benefitting a vulnerable neighbourhood in close proximity to its epicentre. It was inaugurated by Dr Yaser Abunnasr and Dr Rami Zurayk from the Landscape Design and Ecosystem Management Department and the Food Security Program at the American University of Beirut. Sharing the same values as Kon, the initiative members are working with a neighbourhood’s diverse community that brings together refugees, migrant workers and underprivileged people from many nationalities, many of whom were left extremely vulnerable. The project addresses sustainable food practices to contribute to long-term food security whilst ensuring mental and social wellbeing, by implementing urban agricultural practices specifically designed and tailored to the local context. It aims to strengthen the local community’s resilience while improving the living standards that have been seriously degraded as a result of the multiple crises. This initiative will bring together experts and food producers with the local community, and aims 17
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to develop a community kitchen and local farmers’ market, facilitating the establishment of localized food systems which have a positive impact on the environment whilst contributing to food sovereignty and therefore resilience. The concept not only strengthens and promotes local producers and small businesses, but also an environmentally sustainable healthy diet and nutritional knowledge around it, aiming at increased health outcomes by enabling people to make more informed dietary and lifestyle choices. In its comprehensive ethos, it addresses the crucial topics of mental and physical wellbeing, increased social cohesion, reduced environmental impact, beautification (which will increase pride in the neighbourhood), and working from the bottom up via a participatory approach to provide a sense of ownership to the community. The title of this article is ‘Dirt’ because outside the US, it traditionally triggers more negative connotations than positive ones, especially in our over-sterilized artificial urban environments, where we as humans have successfully separated ourselves from nature, living in the synthetic dream of an egocentric world. This needs to be shifted back to an ecocentric view, one which is realised and being initiated by a growing number of initiatives globally. ‘Dirt’ is a great symbol that represents many layers of the problems that we are currently facing. Amongst the definitions found in the Cambridge dictionary are (in sequential order): ‘dust, soil, or any substance that makes a surface not clean’, ‘soil on the ground’, ‘solid waste’, ‘unpleasant or bad details... to influence people’s opinion... in a negative way’, ‘earth’9. These represent notions of the soil, fertilizer, environmental pollution, politics and land/landscapes. I chose to highlight the importance of our definitions and approaches to every notion, because therein lies great power. It is time to rethink and change our narratives. Urban agricultural and agroforestry movements are already showing us that the rural-urban divide can be deconstructed – indeed, despite its many characteristic challenges (the biggest one I believe is the already significantly polluted urban environment), 18
it is possible, and it is already being done with creativity, ingenious ideas, and very importantly, by working together in communities of various scales. We need to be ready – and happy – to literally get our hands dirty and physically reconnect with our natural environment. Healthy soil is full of life. It has its own intricate ecosystem that we do not even fully comprehend yet. It should be considered our greatest source of wealth, the fundamental component in sustaining our life. To put it simply, dirt is one of our greatest treasures. I recommend watching the recent movie ‘Kiss the Ground’, and invite everyone to dig their hands into the ground, into the soil, for just five minutes and observe how it makes you feel. Nikolett Puskas is a PhD candidate at the Institute for Global Prosperity, University College London, and holds an MSc in leadership for global sustainable cities, an MA in sustainable design, and a BSc in light industrial engineering.
MacGregor, 2006 Composting technique, using worms. Can be applied for biological pest control instead of pesticides. 4 Knowledge on how and when to extract different kinds of seeds. 5 An organic gardening method, where the plant bed is made up of layers of different organic materials. 6 A set of design principles with holistic approach and systems thinking, primarily applied to land use and agriculture, aiming to mimic natural ecosystems, e.g. regenerative agriculture and rewilding. 7 Aiming to ‘close the loop’: minimize resource input, waste and air pollution, based on principles of sharing, reusing, repairing and recycling. 8 Exchange of goods based on non-monetary means, e.g. knowledge, skills, time, services. 9 Cambridge Dictionary, https://dictionary.cambridge. org/dictionary/english/dirt 1 2 3
© Nikolett Puskas
AUB Karantina Land Food Recovery Project, https://www.aub.edu.lb/ advancement/Development/Pages/ Karantina-Land-Food-RecoveryProject.aspx Kon Social Solidarity Agricultural Movement, https://www.facebook.com/ KonAgriMovement References, further reading UN ESCWA (2020) Poverty in Lebanon: Impact of Multiple Shocks and Call for Solidarity. https://www.unescwa.org/news/ Lebanon-poverty-2020 GCRF Report (2020) Lebanon – The failed state: How politics and policy shapes population health and wellbeing. https://r4hc-mena.org/2020/09/30/ lebanon-the-failed-state-howpolitics-and-policy-shapespopulation-health-and-wellbeing/ IPCC (2007). Climate change 2007: Impacts, adaptation and vulnerability. Contribution of Working Group II to the fourth assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press.
3. Balcony gardening in Beirut
Buck, H. J. (2015) On the Possibilities of a Charming Anthropocene. Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 105:2, 369-377, DOI: 10.1080/00045608.2014.973005 MacGregor, S (2006) Beyond mothering Earth: Ecological citizenship and the politics of care. Vancouver, Canada: UBC Press.
We need to be ready – and happy – to literally get our hands dirty and physically reconnect with our natural environment.
F E AT U R E Gavin Shelton and Ian Houlston
Cofarming – a new approach to planning the land Eating healthily is more important than ever, but there are barriers. Soil is becoming more degraded and depleted, which affects the nutritional value of crops. The UK is relying more on imports from climate-vulnerable countries, which, quite apart from the wider ethics, increases its carbon footprint, and pushes up the price of fruit and vegetables. A third of the fresh produce needed in the UK could come from switching an area equivalent to just one percent of existing agricultural land over to small scale, community-based food growing enterprises. Gavin Shelton, founder and CEO of CoFarm Foundation, discusses the transition to a more sustainable future with Ian Houlston, a landscape architect and environmental planner at LDA Design. Ian – There is much more interest nowadays in where food comes from and how it is grown, but it is often assumed that community-based enterprise can never make a serious enough contribution to the volume needed. Is it true, though, that on one acre of land you can grow enough fresh produce to feed 100 households for most of the year? Gavin – You certainly can farm that efficiently, and in harmony with nature by following the principles of agroecology1.
We employ professional horticulturists to manage operations. Cofarming differs from allotment growing because no one has their own individual patch. This year, on our pilot holding in Cambridge, which is church estate land, 180 volunteer cofarmers have so far produced 4.5 tonnes of organic vegetables with a market value of £20K. This was all achieved on 0.66 acres. Next year, we expect to at least double that output by cultivating more of our site over a longer growing season:
the pandemic delayed the planting out of seedlings till June. Ian – It’s also very much about community, isn’t it? When space is put aside for food growing, there is a magnetic point of interaction between new and existing communities, because whatever your ethnicity, religion or class, you can share your stories and lives through food. Gavin – Yes, the CoFarm is a great place for both socialising with the community and growing nutritious food. When we were designing CoFarm 19
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Cambridge with the local community, we asked people to describe how they wanted to feel when they were there. This year, because of the pandemic, we decided to donate everything we grew to emergency food hubs in Cambridge. This has certainly helped engender a sense of shared endeavour. Seeing nature bounce back, people growing together, and food miles reduced to food metres is very empowering – it gives people license to feel optimistic. Ian – I know your vision is to create a distributed estate of cofarms in every local authority in the UK. How is that going? Gavin – We have incorporated the charitable foundation – my wife and I were able to inject the capital needed – and local businesses and individuals have contributed to the pilot farm. Now we are generating the support needed by cofarms, including a digital platform to track collective impact in key areas, such as community cohesion, local economic inclusion and health and wellbeing. Ian – How can we persuade more developers to incorporate food growing
in their masterplans? The idea of a distributed cofarm estate fits beautifully into the 20-minute neighbourhood. It can be part of the reimagining of the land within and around towns and villages and new settlements. It can enhance the quality of Green Belt land and give it a tangible purpose in people’s lives. But developers often like formality and manicured spaces – growing spaces can often look scruffy and chaotic. Gavin – You can control how the place looks and functions. Food growing has a rustic, rugged charm and seasonal interest – those areas just have to be cared for and well-tended. We fill our farm with a riot of colourful flowers, for example, and local architects RH Partnership have designed for us a flexible open barn structure which will house easy-on-the-eye wooden clad shipping containers to store crops and tools. Spaces should reflect the character of the communities they serve. It can be just an acre here or a quarter of an acre there dotted through masterplans, including rooftops. Skilled horticulturists can manage multiple smaller sites and
a community engagement manager can help people cultivate and enjoy the spaces. Ian – It seems that community food growing suits less contrived spaces, where the rules are slightly different. Maybe right now developers and landscape professionals need to relax their desire to over curate space and focus on supporting the process of co-creation? People adopt places which feel purposeful and well colonised. It seems the challenge is to make the space and do less to achieve more. Gavin Shelton is the founder and CEO of CoFarm Foundation. Ian Houlston is a landscape architect and environmental planner at LDA Design.
groecology is an integrated approach that A simultaneously applies ecological and social concepts and principles to the design and management of food and agricultural systems. It seeks to optimize the interactions between plants, animals, humans and the environment while taking into consideration the social aspects that need to be addressed for a sustainable and fair food system.” UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAOs): 10 elements of agroecology: http://www.fao.org/3/i9037en/I9037EN.pdf
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How can we persuade more developers to incorporate food growing in their masterplans?
Examples J M Fortier in Canada: https://www.themarketgardener. com The Lean Farm approach practised by Ben Hartman at Clay Bottom Farm, US: https:// www.claybottomfarm.com/ Ridgedale Farm, Sweden: http://www.ridgedalepermaculture. com/ Brooklyn Grange a highly productive system on New York rooftops: https://www.brooklyngrangefarm. com/
All images taken at the CoFarm in Cambridge
Sole Food Farms in Vancouver use relocatable plastic containers to achieve similar results on car parks etc: https://solefoodfarms.com/
ÂŠ CoFarming Foundation
F E AT U R E By Rebecca Wrigley and Ian Houlston
The rewilding of the landscape profession There is growing recognition of the need to let nature lead. Ian Houlston and Rebecca Wrigley look at how the role of the landscape profession must change and put nature in the forefront, in order to address the climate and nature crises.
ewilding sounds like simplicity itself. It allows nature and natural processes the chance to exert themselves, and healthier ecosystems to develop over time. But, as ever with burning issues of the day, the debate has at times become controversial. Rewilding was initially most often talked about in relation to uplands and introducing trophic species, all too easily translated into wolves stalking walkers. In fact, rewilding is the umbrella for a host of interventions that try to reverse biodiversity loss. We see partnerships developing ambitious action plans, such as Natural Cambridgeshireâ€™s vision for doubling the area of wildlife habitat and natural greenspace across the region. The largest private landowner in the UK,
Anders Povlsen, is encouraging native woodland and species to regenerate across his estates in northern Scotland. But we also see significant moves at a local scale, such as at Wild Ken Hill farm in Norfolk, where rewilding is set alongside minimum and zero tillage methods, with the use of natural fungicides and other techniques that are being used to farm productively but in ecologically sensitive ways. Local authorities are relaxing management of verges and parks, allowing wildflower areas to develop. Even when as individuals we decide to let flower heads overwinter in our gardens, we are giving nature more of a chance. Removing or reducing human influence doesnâ€™t mean losing human agency. But when it comes to new development, how far are natural processes allowed to direct how the
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1. Image courtesy of scotlandbigpicture.com © David Tipling/ scotlandbigpicture.com
2. Image courtesy of Lance Sagar © Lance Sagar
landscape looks and functions? Are landscape architects and planners acting as confident advocates for changing attitudes to nature? Good landscape starts with the way it is made, just like any good building does. Understanding of what ‘good’ and ‘beauty’ look like, though, are changing fast. Tidy landscapes are being understood for what they are for every other species: desolate and hostile, stripped of the natural abundance and vigour that our soils and climate naturally serve up. The most potent agency and influence of the landscape profession now lies with doing less to do more. 1 Landscape professionals have to actually rewild themselves, with ecology becoming more central to their lives and outlook. Natural regeneration is every project’s trump card. The very definition
of a successful landscape is how well it works in terms of ecosystem services, like habitats for pollinators, or flood management and carbon sequestration, and also how well the landscape entices people to engage with the natural processes all around them. This means talking to ecologists, so that habitat enhancement and creation are aligned to the opportunities of the site, and respond to the underlying geology, soils, microclimates, hydrology and existing land uses. It means understanding natural processes, like flooding regimes and grazing levels, and employing natural systems to do the jobs previously done by hard engineering or intensive land management. It also means looking at a site in its context, and identifying stepping stones or connective habitats that allow species to move between isolated or fragmented refuges.
Designing in a looser way may allow bank erosion to create riparian habitats, for example, or regeneration around the edge of a woodland, or creating natural foraging areas for wild fruits and berries within community food growing, to benefit native species. Letting nature lead applies to development at every scale and over every timescale – so however long you can allow nature to exert itself, you are making good use of the time. The aim of this new kind of landscape dynamism is complexity. While simplicity tends to be fragile, complexity tends to be resilient. By letting nature lead, we can expect to enjoy a sudden flourishing, everywhere. Rebecca Wrigley is Chief Executive of Rewilding Britain. Ian Houlston is Environmental Planning lead at LDA Design.
Letting nature lead applies to development at every scale and over every timescale
Just add water. Refolo landscape Architects' (R-LA) biodiverse-designed Water Gardens at Hyde Park Estate, London is a perfect example of the reinstatement of the forgotten 60â€™s self-sufficient tree irrigation; and new rainwater harvesting system for irrigation. Landscape Institute Awards 2020 Winner Excellence in Horticulture and Planting Design category.
Client: The Church Commissioners for England Landscape Architects: RLA Ltd (Refolo Landscape Architects) Landscape Contractor: Bartholomew Landscaping Aquatic Landscape Contractor: Aquayoy Water Gardens Ltd Paving Materials Supplier: Hardscape
For further information on all our paving products please visit: www.hardscape.co.uk or telephone: 01204 565 500. 24
F E AT U R E By Theo Plowman
The Agriculture Act 2020 This edition of Landscape coincides with a monumental shift in the way farmers are supported, and hopefully a shift in the way land is managed. The Agriculture Act has completed its long and often arduous journey through Parliament. The bill was heavily scrutinised by environmental NGOs, farming unions, Peers and MPs, only to remain almost identical to the original draft. There is a fundamental and positive principle that holds true: public money should pay farmers to deliver public goods. The Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) was first legislated in the 1960s. By 1973, it was well established, and aspiring members of the European Economic Community (the EU’s predecessor) had to accept it. As such, the UK joined the CAP that year. The policy proved controversial, infamous for its expense, inefficiency, wine lakes and butter mountains. This is the lasting public image of the policy, but the present form of CAP is much different. Funding is no longer linked to production, but is a direct form of payments tied to compliance to a set of standards on food safety, animal rights and environmental concerns. The key thrust of reforms in the early 2000’s was to sever the link between payments and production, so that farmers produce for market demand and not to gain EU subsidies. The current model – the Basic
Payment Scheme (BPS) – was launched in 2015, and now the butter mountains are no more. Yet the system remains the target of considerable criticism, much of which we highlighted in our 2018 Food and Farming Paper. The first issue is its enormous cost. In 2016, farmers represented 3% of Europe’s population, and around 1.6% of its GDP, but the CAP budget totals to an eye-watering 40% of the EU budget, or £49bn1 per year of EU taxpayers’ money. Nearly £4bn of UK tax money goes towards the CAP, an amount British politicians have been trying to claw back for decades. Many may see these subsidies as a lifeline to quaint, family-run farms, but that image is somewhat inaccurate. Whilst the majority of farms remain small and family-run, the majority of the payments go to megafarms and mammoth multinational corporations.
In the UK, the vast majority goes to a small group of large and wealthy landowners. In 20162, the top 100 largest landowners received a total of £87.9m, which is more than was paid to the bottom 55,119 recipients combined. Furthermore, owning land earns money, and unsurprisingly this has driven up agricultural land prices to the point where it is almost impossible for young farmers to gain a foothold. In environmental terms, although the current system is much improved from the original payment schemes, it is clear that agriculture has and continues to have significant impacts on the environment. CAP policies have gradually incorporated a greater consideration of environmental impacts across water, air, soil, and biodiversity – but to varying degrees of effectiveness.
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Why does this matter to landscape? Over 70% of the UK is agricultural land, and the way we farm has a huge impact on our landscapes, environment and of course the food we eat. Fundamental changes to agriculture will impact us all, regardless of whether we live in cities or on edge of a National Park. The beauty and character of the British landscape has stirred generations of people, and continues to be a highly valued part of our national identity. A rich and varied landscape is a vital public good, but such sites have often been undermined by years of increasingly intensive farming. The diversity and richness of our landscape has decreased in both scenic and biodiversity terms. Almost 8000km3 were lost each year between 1945 and 1970; less than half of the surviving managed hedges in Britain were classified as in ‘good structural condition’; 95% 4 of flower rich meadows have been lost since the Second World War; and 80% 5 of the UK’s lowland heathland has disappeared since the 19th Century. This in part has led to a massive loss of biodiversity: the 2019 State of Nature report6 found 41% of UK species are declining, and one in ten is threatened with extinction. The skills of our membership are important to this transformation. The right interventions with be needed in the right places. To give an example: a hedgerow can reduce flooding by helping infiltration, by acting as a carbon sink, stabilising soils, forming a nature network (its verges can be an important habitat for pollinating insects), as well as being an important landscape feature. Where it’s located will determine how many of these “public goods” a hedgerow can offer, but in the right place it can deliver holistic benefits. A Fresh Start? Whilst we may lament many aspects of our departure from the European Union, the chance to deliver a world leading agricultural policy is not one of them. The core idea that farmers be paid primarily to protect and enhance environments and landscape is truly revolutionary. The Agriculture Act sets out how farmers and land managers in England will be funded. This includes 26
All images taken in Canon Frome Herefordshire © Malcolm Dodds
measures to improve air and water quality, enhance wildlife and soil health, reduce flooding and tackle the effects of climate change. This shift in how agriculture is subsidised is potentially transformative. At its heart, the ‘public money for public goods’ model is a replacement for the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), and it will look to reward farmers for actions that benefit the environment, such as tree planting, floods management and habitat restoration, rather than for the amount of land under ownership. This is a change which, perhaps remarkably, had crossParliamentary support and virtually unanimous backing, from farming unions to environmental charities. Whilst the act may show strong positive intentions, it is the new Environmental Land Management (ELM) systems that will deliver those targets. As the government plans to phase out Direct Payments in England
from 2021 to 2027, the Environmental Land Management system will become the main delivery framework for transforming land. DEFRA has an opportunity with ELM to develop a world-leading scheme that is far more ambitious than previous agri-environment CAP schemes, and to transform the way we manage land. Getting ELM right will be vital to achieve environmental and conservation goals, but also to restore the natural processes upon which the production of healthy food, timber, and other goods relies. The new system should focus on delivering a resilient and functional natural environment, that works in harmony with sustainable food production. However, there are some early signs that ELM systems are at risk of being undermined and not fulfilling their potential to restore nature, secure food production and tackle climate change. There is concern that
resourcing for enforcement bodies such as the Environment Agency and newly-formed Office for Environmental Protection may be insufficient. Such is the importance of these schemes that the LI led a submission with our partners at the Environmental Policy Forum to the ELMS Policy Discussion Consultation7. We are continuing to work with government on this important policy area, and with the recent unveiling of the largely positively received “Path to Sustainable Farming8”, we must make hay while the sun shines and ensure that future farming systems can deliver for farmers, for landscapes and for nature. Theo Plowman is Policy Manager at the Landscape Institute.
ttps://unearthed.greenpeace.org/2016/09/29/ h common-agricultural-policy-millions-eu-subsidies-gorichest-landowners/
ttps://www.rspb.org.uk/our-work/conservation/ h conservation-and-sustainability/advice/conservationland-management-advice/farm-hedges/history-ofhedgerows/
ttps://ww2.rspb.org.uk/Images/StateOfNature2016_ h England_updated%2020%20Sept%20pages_tcm9424986.pdf
ttps://a182be4d-31b2-4e5d-81bf-6b9a3f5dc73a. h usrfiles.com/ugd/a182be_7b8981bfd 2bb40bd8d5a60034b95591d.pdf
ttps://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/ h uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/ 939925/agricultural-transition-plan.pdf
F E AT U R E By Theo Plowman, Pamela Morris and Alison Barnes
The Glover Report and its impact on national parks
The Glover Report will have a major impact on the development and management of our national parks. Theo Plowman, LI Policy Manager sets the scene, and Pamela Morris (from Exmoor National Park Authority) and Alison Barnes (from New Forest National Park Authority) discuss their work and the implications of the Report’s recommendations. 1
n September 2019, the Glover review1 of England’s designated landscapes delivered its findings. Seventy years have passed since the first National Parks were created, and the review calls for a dramatic transformation in how designated landscapes deliver for climate, nature and people. The review was commissioned by then Secretary of State Michael Gove but produced by an independent panel led by writer Julian Glover, who travelled the country learning about what works and what can be improved in the management of and access to our national landscapes, including National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs). The Landscape Institute submitted a series of recommendations2 to protect designated landscapes’ original purpose, and to maximise public benefit – many of these were adopted by the review. The report argues, among other things, for: • Exploring a potential National 28
Landscape Service to defragment and improve efficiency in the landscape protection system Reforming National Park governance, and appointing Boards that are smaller, more expert and more representative of wider society Encouraging a wider range of nondesignated protected landscapes (citing the East Midlands’s National Forest and London’s National Park City initiative) Designated landscapes to lead the response to the climate crisis and decline in biodiversity, and on Nature Recovery Networks A partnership with farming that promotes natural recovery and de-emphasises intensification The use of Environmental Land Management (ELM) plans to work with landowners to develop longterm, landscape-scale strategies to improve natural capital in designated landscapes Designated landscapes to do more to encourage new visitors, particularly
those from minority backgrounds (citing the Mosaic model for engaging BAME communities in National Parks, which continues still) The review has largely been met with optimism across the sector but there remain concerns about how these changes will be implemented and particularly about how a National Landscape Service will function and whether it will be sufficiently resourced. Following the Glover review, the team at DEFRA have been working to implement the recommendations with ongoing engagement of stakeholders. Of particular interest to the government is the idea of a National Landscape Service. Despite all the other workstreams ongoing at DEFRA, progress is being made and many changes will come in the near future. Exploring how this might impact designated landscapes is vital to enable robust forward-planning and delivery.
1. Anstey’s Combe Molland Moor © N Stone
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2. Burrow Farm Engine House, Exmoor
Exmoor National Park
© Keith Trueman
3. Heddons Mouth © N Stone
Exmoor National Park, at 692 km², is one of the smallest National Parks, but packs in a highly distinctive and diverse landscape. A rich mosaic of moorland, farmland, woodland and coast, intersected by a network of rivers and streams, and interspersed by small scale settlements – all the result of centuries of human activity. In the review, Exmoor National Park received several special mentions under the topics of natural beauty, nature-friendly farming, natural capital principles and nature restoration. But it’s widely accepted that more needs to be done to enable National Parks to deliver on many of the big issues of our time, such as nature recovery, climate change, and the health and wellbeing of all. Key challenges for Exmoor include: sustainable farm and land management to enrich biodiversity and support climate action; achieving greater visitor and board diversity; and continuing to maintain the beauty and special character of the landscape in the face of ongoing uncertainty over climate change, Brexit, Government funding
for National Parks, and now a global pandemic. With 56% of land in the National Park in active farm management, ENPA sees the Government’s new Environmental Land Management Scheme as pivotal for delivering at scale for nature recovery, a healthy environment and landscape beauty on Exmoor. We are working with stakeholders and communities to test how this might align with National Park purposes to deliver multiple benefits and help sustain our rural economy. The Exmoor Ambition, developed by ENPA and the Exmoor Hill Farming Network in 2018, outlined a transformative proposal for sustaining and enhancing our farmed landscapes and communities following Brexit, by incentivising all the public goods provided by the countryside. This was followed by work undertaken by the Exmoor Society on the study “Towards a Register of Exmoor’s Natural Capital”, importantly recognising the value and interrelationship of both the natural and cultural assets in the National Park context. These approaches jointly led to the Defra Test and Trial that ENPA is running with farmers and foresters
across Exmoor, engaging with landholders on both an individual holding and strategic landscape-scale basis. Delivering on the ambitions set out in the 25 Year Environment Plan and the Landscapes Review, a key focus of this work is to explore how to engage and gain support from those owners and tenants on whose land these measures would need to take place. Of particular significance for Exmoor in this trial is the approach by ENPA to address the economic values (by costing natural capital investment) and perceptual values (by recognising the distinctive cultural qualities) of the National Park’s landscape. To help achieve a healthy and natural environment across Exmoor, ENPA adopted its draft “Nature Recovery Vision” in November 2020, kickstarting a process of wider consultation seeking to agree the key changes to land management needed to deliver on nature recovery, carbon capture and flood resilience within the National Park, and contributing to positive change in the wider landscape. Employing the same landscapescale approach of our Test and Trial pilot, this vision seeks to agree the land management principles needed to deliver transformative benefits for nature and climate. All this must be achieved while retaining the cultural, historic and aesthetic qualities that people most value about our National Parks. Using increased woodland cover as an example, guiding the provision of substantial new tree planting to support climate change targets will require engagement and joint working, including reassessment of the current land uses, existing special qualities and landscape 29
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4. Punchbowl Pan © N Stone
5. Completed work to restore wetland streams near Wootton. © New Forest National Park Authority
characteristics of the National Park. To achieve holistic and long-term benefit for all, change, collaboration and compromise will be required by all stakeholders. There is also a need to anticipate unintended consequences arising from positive actions undertaken. The Landscapes Review highlighted the establishment of our National Parks 70 years ago as a healing space for all, following the Second World War. The ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have seen that passion for our National Parks and green spaces reignited in unexpected new ways that we are still working to understand. This year, Exmoor has attracted new audiences which we have welcomed and embraced, whilst also seeking to rise to the new challenges and frictions this has created. Moving forward, and very much in the spirit of Glover, we need to continue to encourage and provide for first time visitors, recognising the importance of this ‘breathing space’ to all our communities and the nation for our collective health and wellbeing. The chance to experience and benefit from all that Exmoor offers – its remoteness, wildness, tranquillity and the magic of its dark night skies – is a true national treasure that needs to be open to all.
New Forest National Park Authority As the Landscape Institute celebrated its 90th birthday last year, we also celebrated the 70th anniversary of the National Park movement, when Parliament made the bold decision to protect the finest landscapes in England and Wales. With any anniversary comes a period of reflection, and during this time, Glover’s review of protected landscapes was launched. As a National Park Authority, we welcome the review’s call to reignite the fire and vision which brought protected landscapes into being in 1949. The landmark report, placing landscape at the forefront of the Government’s 25 Year Environment Plan, is being underpinned by statute,
including through the Environment Bill and Agriculture Act. This is a critical moment for the landscape profession. We are well placed to apply our experience and practice with renewed focus and purpose to respond to the Glover Report. And, in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and climate and biodiversity emergencies, our skills will be crucial in driving the ‘Green Industrial Revolution’ announced by the Prime Minister this November. One of Glover’s key proposals was to make protected landscapes ‘for everyone’. When national parks were founded, they were integral to the nation’s approach to health and wellbeing for all, together with another post war movement – the National Health Service – supporting the nation’s rehabilitation in the aftermath of World War Two. During COVID-19, we’re starting to
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6. Volunteers hedgelaying in the New Forest. © New Forest National Park Authority
7. A misty morning at Rockford Common in the New Forest National Park. © New Forest National Park Authority
8. A man uses horsepower to clear logs in this working woodlands scene. © New Forest National Park Authority
recognise these crucial links afresh. In the past few months, an unprecedented number of visitors to the New Forest National Park has shown just how much being out in nature improves people’s quality of life. At the same time, engendering care and understanding among those discovering our landscapes anew is vital. As an organisation, we’re working on these parallel ‘care’ missions of restoring both nature and ourselves. National parks connecting through to green spaces in cities are at the centre of our vision for a ‘Natural Health Service’. This year in the New Forest, we’ve worked with the Clinical Commissioning Group, the NHS and New Forest District Council to develop how people can be ‘socially prescribed’ for spending time in nature or helping nature in the New Forest. We’re also addressing the twin challenges of the climate and natural emergencies by championing natural solutions. One of the keys to nature recovery is to
make landscapes bigger, better and interconnected – working with our partners to create and manage the unique heathlands, wetlands, woodlands and wider habitats of the New Forest, and to build resilience to climate change. The landscape profession can articulate this through developments, ideas, and shaping policy such as the proposed new Government planning reforms which underline the importance of design and beauty. The Glover recommendations acknowledge the importance of design quality and bringing collective skills to bear – both in protected landscapes and beyond. Joining up and crossing borders is
something we’ve embraced locally through the cross-sector Green Halo Partnership, which we initiated in 2016 with the aim of being a global exemplar of precious landscapes working in harmony with a thriving economy and community. Alongside our planning services, our land management expertise is a vital way to affect change, delivering access, biodiversity and health benefits to our communities. It will be key to any new environmental schemes implemented once we leave the European Union, and will help focus public money on ‘public goods’ as mandated in the Agriculture Act. The unique practice of commoning, where owned livestock is turned out to graze, has shaped the New Forest landscape for centuries. It’s supported through initiatives such as the Verderers of the New Forest “Higher Level Stewardship” scheme and the National Lottery Heritage Fund’s “Our Past, Our Future” landscape partnership scheme. These are great examples of partnership working at landscape scale which deliver the best for the Forest, wildlife and people. The nation’s Green Industrial Revolution needs professional skills and an understanding of place and design, and as such the door has been opened to all landscape professionals to step forward to drive change and shape place through important landscape-led projects. As Glover said,
“we need our finest landscapes to be places of natural beauty which look up and outwards to the nation they serve. In essence, we’ve asked not ‘what do national landscapes need?’, but ‘what does the nation need from them today?’”. We need to grasp this opportunity to be the leaders in this mission, not only using our expertise, but inspiring others to think in different ways and deliver for the future, ultimately leaving a better environment for the next generation than the one we inherited. Pamela Morris is Senior Landscape Officer at the Exmoor National Park Authority. Alison Barnes is CEO of the New Forest National Park Authority and a Fellow of the Landscape Institute.
8 https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/ uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/ file/833726/landscapes-review-final-report.pdf 2 https://landscapewpstorage01.blob.core.windows. net/www-landscapeinstitute-org/2019/06/ glover-review-designated-landscapes-li-finalresponse-20181218.pdf 1
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A Living Libr the revival and relevance of post-war designed landscapes 32
F E AT U R E By Karen Fitzsimon
A revolution has taken place in the understanding of twentieth century English landscape design. The impact on appreciation as well as practice is likely to be immense as the landscapes of the post-war period receive the recognition that they deserve.
1. Cummins Engine Factory © Historic England archive
n extraordinary thing took place last summer – post-war designed landscapes hit the national news! This was as a result of Historic England’s announcement that 24 post-war designed landscapes, or elements of, had been added to or upgraded on the National Heritage List for England (NHLE), thus affording them a level of protection not previously enjoyed.1 Such was the unusual nature of the announcement that The Guardian architectural critic, Oliver Wainwright, mused if a revolution had occurred?2 Prior to the announcement only 27 of the approximately 1,650 registered landscapes were from the post-war period, having been added to the Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest in England over thirty years from 1987.3 In one magnificent swoop, the new additions almost doubled the number of mid to late twentieth-century designed landscapes protected. This article will consider how that happened, the diversity of sites protected, and what it might mean for contemporary landscape architectural practice. 33
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While appreciation of the heritage value of post-war architecture has increased in recent years, designed landscapes of the period are often neglected, despite the case that they can be a key component to the success of architectural and planning projects. The fact that this large batch of post-1945 designed landscapes have been given this protection brings focus to a neglected period of our heritage and helps us take an informed approach to their management. These landscapes are vulnerable and are disappearing. They often sit on generous or valuable plots of land, keenly eyed by developers, cash-strapped owners or local authorities with housing targets to fill. The sometimes ubiquitous nature of these landscapes can lead to a lack of understanding that they are actually designed places, or that they might have heritage value. This lack of perception can be compounded by the peculiar notion that they are too young to protect. In fact, one of the criteria for designation is that a landscape or building should generally be at least thirty years old, though by simply reframing that to ‘thirty years young’ the conception of what could be protected broadens considerably. Very occasionally, and under exceptional circumstances, they can be younger, such as the Grade II* garden designed by Sir Geoffrey Jellicoe at Sutton Place, Surrey, which was only 21 years old when it was added to the Register in 2001. The new additions to the Register cover a variety of land uses, as shall be explained later. Many were created by past and present Landscape Institute members, and offer a window on the practice of British landscape architecture from 1947 to 1993. In the words of landscape architect and Gardens Trust President, Dominic Cole, ‘they are like a living library of built landscapes that the profession and others can visit, explore and learn from’. Indeed, they can reflect not only good design but also echo broader social, cultural and political developments of the time. And of course, they connect people to place. Indignation, as noted by Mavis Batey et al at the dawn of the millennium, is often a driving force behind the protection of landscapes4. So it was with these bulk additions to the NHLE. By 2016, members of the Gardens Trust (GT) had become increasingly concerned about the incremental loss of post-war designed landscapes. That concern had been
2. Churchill Gardens © Historic England archive
3. Golden Lane Estate roof garden © Historic England archive
growing over previous decades, and a number of articles were published and conferences held. But it came to a head in 2015 following the demolition of the previously registered designed landscape of the Commonwealth Institute, London. The 1962 work, by landscape architect Dame Sylvia Crowe, was considered to be an excellent expression of unity between architecture and landscape, and although elements of the associated architecture were retained, the landscape was deemed expendable. A three-pronged response was put into motion by the GT. First, a sold-out symposium entitled “Mid to Late C20 Designed Landscapes: Overlooked, undervalued and at risk?” was held in June 2017 at the Garden Museum. Expert speakers outlined works of the period, their significance, and their vulnerabilities. Secondly, the event launched a widely advertised crowd-sourced campaign called “Compiling the Record”, that sought nominations of works of the period from members of the public, landscape design professionals and GT members, that they thought worthy of assessment and inclusion on the NHLE5. The campaign ran for seven months and resulted in over 112 detailed submissions. The types of sites nominated express the range of projects that landscape architects worked on from the middle to the end of the twentieth century: cemeteries, crematoria and memorial landscapes; civic places such as town centres, squares and city views; commercial sites including business parks, corporate headquarters and factory landscapes; country parks; private and public gardens; universities; sports sites; public and private housing; parks; and finally landscapes of infrastructure and industry, such as power stations, reservoirs, motorways and quarries. Concurrent with this activity Historic England (HE) was aware that although post-war buildings were well represented on the NHLE, designed landscapes of the period were notably lean. So, the third and most essential part of the GT response was its partnership with HE, established so that the nominated landscapes could be assessed for inclusion on the NHLE6 HE convened an expert panel, including
The often ubiquitous nature of these landscapes can lead to a lack of understanding that they are actually designed places, or that they might have heritage value.
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4. Harlow Town Park ÂŠ Historic England archive
5. Alexandra Road Park ÂŠ Historic England archive
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Cummins Engine Factory and Brunel Estate: Dan Kiley, Michael Brown and the links between Britain and America Luca Csepely-Knorr, Manchester School of Architecture
While Cummins factory might be the only landscape by Kiley in Britain, his ideas influenced the work of Michael Brown, and certainly many others. To understand these intricate links, more research is needed to reveal networks and ideas that look beyond iconic designs.
6. ‘Miller Garden, (Columbus, IN) designed by Dan Kiley 1953-1957 © Luca Csepely-Knorr
7. Miller Garden, (Columbus, IN) designed by Dan Kiley 1953-1957, in Michael Brown’s photo. © LI/MERL, Michael Brown collection
The Grade II listed landscapes of Cummins Engine Factory1 and Brunel Estate2 might seem very different – in scale, intended use, financing – but they are both key examples of the postwar period, when landscape architects were deployed to new and emerging situations. However, a closer look into the career of the designers reveals intricate links that are crucial in understanding how the landscapes of Britain, and the profession of landscape architecture itself, has changed in the post-war period. Cummins Engine Factory was designed by Dan Kiley, who was instrumental in defining what modern American landscape architecture should be. Together with his fellow students at Harvard, Garret Eckbo and James Rose, Kiley published a series of articles about new directions in landscape architecture.3 Kiley later established his own practice, and designed more than 1000 landscapes throughout his career.
Michael Brown was a Scottish architect and landscape architect, who studied at Edinburgh College of Art. After graduating, he worked for the London County Council, and for The George Trew Dunn Partnership in London. In 1955, Brown started a fellowship to study landscape architecture at the University of Pennsylvania, on Ian McHarg’s newly launched landscape architecture course. With very few educational opportunities in the UK for landscape architects in
the 1950s, studying abroad wasn’t exceptional. In McHarg’s inaugural course, out of nine students, six were from Britain.4 After his studies, Brown started to work for Dan Kiley in Vermont, and assisted Kiley on flagship projects, such as the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research in New York and Miller House for Irvine Miller, the owner of Cummins Engines. In Brown’s Archive, kept at the LI Archives at MERL, there is a series of photos about these projects. The Miller Garden is regarded as one of the most important projects by Kiley, a turning point in his long career. His only known British work in Darlington has a lot of similarities to the Miller House, as pointed out in the Historic England Report. After returning to the UK in 1960, Brown worked for Eric Lyons and established his own practice, Michael Brown Partnership, in 1962. His practice was involved in projects of all scales, from landscape assessments, New Towns or infrastructural projects to hospitals and roof gardens. He is best known for the high quality – and in many senses, revolutionary – housing landscapes he created across London. Brunel is regarded as one of the most important, but his awardwinning Winstanley Estate housing landscape in Battersea, or the internationally published Lancaster Road in North Kensington, also deserve attention. His designs and understanding of the space, its flow, and the landscape as a ‘total environment’, all owed a lot to both of his American mentors, McHarg and Kiley. The now Listed slide at Brunel estate is a testament to Brown’s understanding that every object should be designed ‘to make places that lend themselves to a multitude of uses.’5
Dr Luca Csepely-Knorr is a chartered landscape architect, art historian and Reader at the Manchester School of Architecture. She is currently CoInvestigator of the AHRC-funded project ‘Landscapes of Post-War Infrastructure: Culture, Amenity, Heritage and Industry’ (https://www. msa.ac.uk/postwarinfrastructure/), and co-convener of the multidisciplinary conference and research network ‘How Women Build?’.
he landscape at Cummins engine factory is Grade II T listed on the Register of Parks and Gardens, while the building is listed Grade II*: https://historicengland.org. uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1467759
runel Estate is Grade II on the Register of Parks and B Gardens, and its iconic slide is now a Grade II listed structure: https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/ the-list/list-entry/1468979
’Landscape Design in the Urban Environment’, ‘Landscape Design in the Rural Environment’ and ‘Landscape Design in the Primeval Environment’ were originally published in 1939 and 1940 in the Architectural Record. The texts were reprinted in: Treib, M. (ed) (1992) Modern Landscape Architecture: A critical review Cambridge (Mass) – London: The MIT Press pp. 78-91.
ut of the six UK students Brown graduated with, four O came back to the UK. Brown started to work in Oxford and London, while David N. Skinner, James S. Morris and Robert T. Steedman all worked in Edinburgh. For more Scottish students studying at McHarg’s courses, see: https://mchargsscotland.tumblr.com/post/ 182326621778/mchargs-students and Charlotte McLean’s research about Mark Turnbull.
rown, M. (1981) ‘Placemaking Start with Facts, B Finish with Values’ Landscape Architecture May 1981 p.382. For more on Brown’s housing estates and play areas see: Csepely-Knorr, L. & Roberts, A. (2019) ‘Towards a ‘total environment’ for children. Michael Brown’s landscapes for play’, available to watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y8sBnk-sigg
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8. Broadwater Park © Historic England archive
9. Broadwater Park © LI/MERL
10. Shute House Gardens © Karen Fitzsimon
landscape architects in practice, in academia and from heritage organisation, to help create a short-list of 42 sites to be evaluated, 26 were assessed by HE over an eighteenmonth period, of which a number of the nominated sites were already in the HE system or deemed under threat so were assessed earlier7. Housing sites were the big winners in the roll call of designations. Prior to the campaign, the only residential landscape registered was the GII* Barbican in the City of London. Eight more, both public and private, have now been added. With a seamless integration of architecture and landscape, they vividly express the aspiration and hopes of the post-war period. Registered at GII, they are: Brunel Estate, Westbourne Park by Michael Brown; Powell and Moya’s Churchill Gardens Estate, Pimlico; Alton East Estate and Alton West Estate, Roehampton by LCC Architects’ Department; Chamberlin, Powell and Bon’s Golden Lane Estate, City of London; Water Gardens, Edgware by Philip Hicks; and the Span development of Fieldend, Twickenham by Michael Brown while Janet Jack’s Alexandra Road Park, South Hampstead secured a GII*8. Although the development of business parks, factories and corporate headquarters has been an important source of post-war work for landscape practices, especially in the 1980s, only a handful of such landscapes had been registered before “Compiling the Record”9. This has now been addressed with a number of new additions – Jellicoe’s 1952 water garden at the former Cadbury factory (see case study on p40), Wirral has been listed at GII, while four other sites have been added to the Register of Parks and Gardens, also at GII: Dan Kiley’s 1966 designed landscape for Cummins Engine factory, Darlington (see case study on p36); Preben Jakobsen’s 1984 Broadwater Park, Denham; and Bernard Ede’s designs for the vast Stockley Park, Hillingdon, completed from 1985 to 1993. The assessment and registration of Professor Arnold Weddle’s designed landscape at the Pearl Centre in Peterborough preceded the others by a couple of months when the work was identified as being at risk of redevelopment. As is to be expected, gardens are well represented in the new registrations, with a total of eight added, mostly private, 37
bulking up the previous nine post-war garden entries on the List. Jellicoe’s exemplary work at Shute House Garden, Shaftesbury, has been recognised at GII*. The Arts and Crafts inspired York Gate Gardens – just outside Leeds and created by the Spencer family – was registered at Grade II, and confirms the fact that not all post-war designed landscapes are inspired by modernism. The inclusion of Beth Chatto’s eponymous gardens in Colchester, and also Denmans Garden in Fontwell (designed by Joyce Robinson and John Brookes), are especially welcome developments because, unlike most of the entries, they have not been developed around strong architecture or hard landscape detailing, but rather are plant focused designs, a genre that has traditionally been more difficult to assess. Two public gardens have been designated: Roper’s Garden in Chelsea (see case study on p39), and the complex Improvement Garden in Stockwood Park, Luton, (designed by polymath Ian Hamilton Finlay with Bob Burgoyne and Sue Finlay), which has been registered at Grade II*. It is deemed the artist’s most important work in England. Following WWII new towns provided tremendous opportunities for landscape architects. Parks were an integral component of those towns, and two have been added to the Register at GII: Harlow Town Park in Essex, by Dame Sylvia Crowe with Sir Fredrick Gibberd, and Campbell Park in Milton Keynes, by Walker, Mosscrop, Mahaddie and Neil Higson. In tandem with second and third wave new towns came the expansion of the university sector. Despite the significant body of work by the profession in this field, very few of their designed landscapes have made it to the 38
11. Field End © Historic England archive
12. Beth Chatto Gardens © Historic England archive
13. St Catherine’s College, Oxford © Historic England archive
14. Axonometric watercolour sketch of Goldsmiths’ Garden by Peter Shepheard © Landscape Institute / Museum of Rural Life
15. Goldsmiths’ Garden in 2018; a series of recent introductions distract from the simplicity of the garden © Karen Fitzsimon
Roper’s, Goldsmiths’ and Lancaster University Annabel Downs
Out of a shortlist of 42 possible sites for the 2020 post-war landscape listings, three proposals were of work by Bridgwater, Shepheard and Epstein, or by Shepheard and Epstein. Roper’s Garden (Gll) was selected, but how was this decision made? One nominated project was the campus at Lancaster University, commissioned in 1963 and designed jointly under Peter Shepheard and Gabi Epstein. This is a large scale, long-term, multidisciplinary project. Like several other shortlisted projects, it was held over for future review, partly in anticipation that many more post-war designed landscapes would attract scholarly research, thereby establishing a better base from which to make informed assessments. The other two projects are small urban London gardens, both open to the public. Goldsmiths’ Garden, commissioned by the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths’ in 1957, and Roper’s Garden, commissioned by the Metropolitan Borough of Chelsea in 1960 (known as ‘Cheyne Walk ‘on office drawings), were both designed
by Peter Shepheard with Margaret Maxwell under Bridgwater, Shepheard and Epstein. There are many similarities between these two gardens. Both were created on historic waste land: Goldsmiths’ was built on the site of St John Zachary (destroyed in the 1666 fire), and Roper’s was a WW2 bomb site. They are both, unusually, partly sunk below pavement level. They contain many features typical of Shepheard and Maxwell: a bold and confident design; use of quality and enduring materials, principally stone and brick; walls and piers with stone caps and inbuilt bird boxes; and planting plans which show a delightful and considered selection of trees, shrubs, climbers, herbaceous plants and areas of grass. Step details including Shepheard’s so-called “Chinese gutter”, a slope at each side for easier sweeping. Both gardens have contemporary seats and provide informal seating such as steps. Above all, both designs created sheltered microclimates, establishing comfortable places to welcome people and wildlife. Their different locations and custodians have been determining factors in how much the sites have been challenged and changed. Roper’s Garden on Chelsea Embankment has survived largely unaltered, with only an additional Jacob Epstein sculpture located there in recognition of this being the site of his studio. Adding this garden to the Historic England register
was straightforward. However, like many other city centre sites, Goldsmiths’ Garden has been subjected to change. The most radical alteration was replacing the adjacent office block with Grimshaw’s Lloyds Bank HQ, a building which takes more from the garden than it lends. The shared boundary was made more permeable at ground and basement level, and the garden was subsequently refurbished in the mid-1990s to accommodate the new neighbours. Goldsmiths’ head gardener at this time, Sue Madden, consulted Shepheard’s archive at the Landscape Institute to ensure that, as
much as possible, all design changes (including materials and plants) were made in accordance with Shepheard and Maxwell’s ideas. Twenty five years on, this garden is now at risk from what Shepheard called the ‘threat ‘of ‘godwottery,’ losing its original simplicity and clarity of design as it becomes overtaken by multiple litter bins, signs, random plant pots sporting seasonal bedding, possibly the wrong stone to replace the main flight of steps, gifts of fountains located in the middle of the lawn, and an important but entirely unrelated sculptural group relocated here out of convenience. Another visit to the landscape archive at Reading is urgently recommended to ensure that, with a better understanding of the designers’ intent, this garden can and should have a place on the HE Register as one of the special post-war designed landscapes. Annabel Downs CMLI is Chair of FOLAR (Friends of Landscape Archive at Reading) An affected or over-elaborate style of gardening or attitude towards gardens.’ “God-wottery” in WordSense.eu Online Dictionary (21st November, 2020) 1
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16. Cadbury Factory
Jellicoe and the industrial landscape Gillian Darley
In the early 1950s, Geoffrey Jellicoe’s tiny office was asked to landscape the setting for several new and expanding industries. He had been recognised for the bravura fifty-year masterplan for Hope Valley Cement Works, starting in 1943. With Sheila Haywood, Jellicoe drew up a phased programme to balance the sensitive landscape of the Derbyshire Peak District with the long-term future of mineral extraction, two considerations that were seemingly at odds. The factory landscape is tinged with late 19th century paternalism, epitomised by photographs of Cadbury’s women employees lounging around rose beds at Bournville. In 1954, Geoffrey Jellicoe was commissioned to improve the setting of Cadbury’s newly built cake factory on the Wirral. He was faced with ‘a diabolical site’ that had been cut in two with a drain. Yet that water course, later dignified as a canal, unleashed design possibilities. Given the exceptionally windswept conditions of the site, he introduced muscular tree planting, while dredged silt was moulded into buffers. Above all, he toyed with the perspective of the watercourse and its perimeter. Ten years later, he wrote that the scheme had nudged him towards an interest in the subconscious, since ‘the imagination can create worlds which do not in fact exist.’ His interest in Jungian thought was to inform much of his ambitious late work, particularly the Moody Gardens project in Galveston. The life of the industrial site is frequently brutish and often short. At Moreton, designed for a workforce of 450, Cadbury employed 6000 at the peak of its operation, before it became Burton Biscuits and then fell derelict. Now, the site has been cleared, and a substantial housing scheme (named after Jellicoe) will replace the crisp brickwork and sawtooth roofs of the
factory. The canal, divided into pools, cascades and balconies, ran beside the footpath workers took on arrival, though few would have recognised Jellicoe’s ironic nod to the Georgian ha-ha. The Listed landscape is focused on the water course, viewing platforms and weirs, and all features are stabilised and repaired with the assistance of drawings from the Jellicoe office. Similar features were also essential elements in the design and construction of Jellicoe’s Hemel Hempstead water gardens, where their effects were greatly magnified. If a muddy waterway on the Wirral drove the Cadbury design, a grubby stream in Hemel Hempstead promised greater possibilities. Jellicoe’s inspiration came from Paul Klee, and he sought to make it ‘a ghost within the visible’ – that is, a serpent-form. The ‘serpent’ travelled from source (the river) to endpoint (the lake at the heart of the New Town), beginning with its ‘tail’ – curled around an artificial hill – and ended with its ‘eye’ (as Jellicoe termed it), the fountain in the lake. The journey is interspersed with viewing platforms and bridges, and defined by mature trees. It has emerged in remarkably fine fettle from the recent renovation. Factory landscapes were, at best, a way of bringing interest, even dignity,
to drab surroundings. In St Helens, the office modelled recreational parkland around Pilkington’s glassworks, but Geoffrey Jellicoe’s enthusiasm was for their Glass Age project, culminating in Motopia. Compared to that, transforming a stream alongside the Delta Metals factory in West Bromwich had scant appeal. (From then on, Hal Moggridge remembered, he routinely passed on new quarry commissions to Sheila Haywood.) For Marc Trieb, Jellicoe’s work at Hope Valley or his ‘aesthetic’ use of the waste soil at Guinness Hill, reconciled ‘principles of formal composition with contemporary environmental problems.’ However, the long term retention of designed industrial landscapes is likely to be due to a key masterstroke or two – for example, keeping major site lines in Derbyshire, particularly the dominant escarpment, while the survival of the Cadbury scheme is all down to that complicated little watercourse and its recognition by listing. Gillian Darley is a writer, broadcaster and biographer. She was the part-time director of Jellicoe’s Landscape Foundation from 1994-1997. Since 2014, she has been President of the Twentieth Century Society.
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17. The Kennedy Memorial © Historic England archive
18. The Kennedy Memorial © Historic England archive
Register. St. Catherine’s College Oxford, by Arne Jacobsen, was previously protected at Grade II, but was reassessed as part of “Compiling the Record” and upgraded to Grade I10. Disappointingly, of the seven other university landscapes nominated, only one was assessed – Brenda Colvin’s 1960’s work at University of East Anglia – but even more disappointing is the fact that it was not registered. Finally, the design of memorial landscapes was also a focus for the profession after the war, especially crematoria and cemetery design. Yet, of the 22 commemorative landscapes nominated, two were assessed and only one, the Kennedy Memorial in Runnymede, was added to the Register (GII) 11. This was important because the memorial stone itself had been designated a listed structure (GII) in 1998, but the profound and integral Jellicoe designed landscape was excluded – a separation in heritage terms which, had the landscape been damaged, would have undermined the meaning of the site.
There is much work yet to do to ensure protection for the most significant post-war designed landscapes and also to stretch the focus beyond the South East.
be brave enough to ask how little intervention a site requires. Finally, a plea that if you do have to remove vintage post-war paving or other materials of the period, don’t chuck them – they now have salvage value! Karen Fitzsimon CMLI is a landscape architect and garden historian. She worked with the Gardens Trust on “Compiling the Record.” Karen Fitzsimon has devised an online lecture series for The Gardens Trust about post-war designed landscapes. The lectures run weekly from 15 January to 5 March and will be delivered by the author and a variety of landscape architects. https://www. eventbrite.co.uk/e/englands-post-war-designedlandscapes-rediscovered-and-revaluedtickets-132182065115
The addition of these sites to the Register is a major milestone and cause for celebration, especially in the wake of COVID-19 and the increased appreciation of green space. But it draws attention not only to the sites that were not selected for assessment or denied registration, but also the notable gaps in the selection and categorization process, such as landscapes of infrastructure, sport and Country Parks. There is much work yet to do to ensure protection for the most significant post-war designed landscapes and also to stretch the focus beyond the South East. What does all of this mean for the profession today? It is likely that more post-war sites will be redeveloped over coming years, and some may find their way onto your ‘drawing board’. Not all of them will be protected, yet they may still have heritage value. In this era of climate change, landscape architects have a duty to not only minimise carbon release, but also to thoroughly examine and understand the design intent and heritage value of sites they inherit. By doing so, the degree of change that the site can tolerate will be legible. Heritage value does not exclude change – indeed it can add to the creative response. But we should sometimes
The Best of England’s Post-War Parks, Gardens and Landscapes Protected. 21 August 2020 https://historicengland.org.uk/whats-new/news/best-post-war-parksgardens-and-landscapes-protected 2 Let’s hear it for the Jammie Dodgers ponds! Everyday marvels win protection, The Guardian, 21 August 2020. 3 A small number of the 27 sites were modern landscapes within older registered sites. 4 Batey, M., Lambert, D. and Wilkie, K. (2000). Indignation! The campaign for conservation. London: Kit-Cat Books. 5 http://thegardenstrust.org/compiling-the-record 6 https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/apply-for-listing/listing-priorities/moderngardens-landscapes 7 This included: University of York Campus West by Frank Clark and RMJM registered at Grade II; the GII garden at Kingcombe, Glouc. by Sir Gordon Russell, Sir Geoffrey Jellicoe and Russell Page and 5 Piper’s Green Lane, Edgware by Preben Jakobsen which was not registered. 8 The stainless-steel slide at Brunel Estate was also listed at GII. 9 These were Pilkington Glass HQ complex, St. Helens; Mountbatten House, Basingstoke; former CEGB HQ Bristol. 10 Mary Mitchell’s design at The Vale, University of Birmingham was implemented 1959-1960 and is Grade II registered 11 Taunton Deane Crematorium in Somerset, 1963, by Peter Youngman, was assessed but not registered. 1
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F E AT U R E By Gary Charlton, Dave Hooley, Maggie Roe and Sarah Tunnicliffe 1. Hiking trail in Cairngorms National Park, south of the Grampian Mountains. Path around Loch Lee, Angus, Scotland, UK. © shutterstock.com
Celebrating 20 years of the European Landscape Convention (ELC)
The European Landscape Convention of the Council of Europe promotes the protection, management and planning of the landscapes and organises international co-operation on landscape issues. As the UK remains a member of the Council of Europe the relevance of the ELC to landscape practice continues to be significant.
wenty years since its ratification, the ELC has made a huge impact on the work of landscape practice. Its adoption was a critical moment in providing clarity, expression and force to the concept of landscape, and it has provided recognition of the fact that landscapes are of vital relevance to people’s identity everywhere. The UK has benefitted from having a formal reference point and a clear framework for the definitions, scoping, human rights and civil obligations that relate to landscapes. Above all, it has provided focus to the way in which we discuss as well as manage our landscapes. The ELC Articles promote the concept and practice of landscape as a powerful integrating role. As 44
highlighted in the European Science Foundation’s (ESF) 2010 Policy Briefing ‘Landscape in a Changing World’, the strength of a landscape approach1 lies in its plurality. It encompasses perceptions from all whose minds bear on an area and/or from the sciences, social sciences, arts and humanities. It provides a framework that can give account for those diverse perceptions and their values when seeking and building consensus for more effective forward planning, environmental management and social wellbeing. Early years The UK Government signed and ratified the ELC in 2006. The following year it came into effect with the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) as the lead department and governance resting with a UK ELC
Steering Group and England Implementation Group. Early research to support the implementation of the ELC in England was undertaken by Newcastle University which highlighted that ‘specific guidelines are needed to help both government departments, regional cross sectoral organisations and sectors to identify how they can incorporate the content of the measures and express the intent of the Convention clearly’ Roe, M. H., Jones, C.J., Mell, I.C, 2008.). Taking heed of this advice, Natural England (NE) in partnership with Defra and English Heritage (now Historic England, HE) focused on the production of an England Framework for Implementation, the commissioning of research, partner workshops, generic and thematic guidance, the development
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2. Glover Landscapes Review © Jon Sparks
of a monitoring and evaluation framework, ELC action plans and delivery projects, participation in the Council of Europe Landscape Award and in developing and managing an international ELC conference. A good example of early ELC activity was the production, following consultation workshops, of ELC Guidelines which were published on the Landscape Character Network (LCN) and Natural England’s website in 2009. In Europe as well as in the UK, research projects and papers began to emerge. In the UK this was followed by several sector Technical Advice Notes covering Housing (CLG and Homes and Communities Agency), Protected Landscapes, The Planning Inspectorate, Agriculture and Sustainable Economic Development (2010). These all helped to raise the profile of the ELC within NE, with partners and stakeholders and the public. ELC Guidance “The purpose of these guidelines is to explain the ELC... and interprets the text and intent of the Convention into seven principles. The aim is to make it more meaningful and relevant to a wide range of organisations and describe the possible actions that individual organisations can take”, (ELC Guidance, Land Use Consultants, 2009)
The Present Following this early flurry of awareness raising and activity the ELC slipped down the agenda although ‘light touch’ UK reporting to the Council of Europe has continued over the years with numerous examples of landscape activity captured under the ELC Articles. Collaboration and understanding were needed between, for example, those developing and implementing policy, all of whom have different framings of landscape issues and problems. The establishment of a national Landscape Advisory Group (LAG) by Natural England and collaboration with academics, professional institutions, funding bodies, and agencies was an important response to a clear need for better communication and collaboration and a willingness for policy-makers at the highest levels to listen to those working with key potential for influencing landscape policy implementation. Current reporting examples spanning several Articles include: ELC reporting
a small panel of review members who published their conclusions in September 2019. The Review makes 27 ‘Proposals’ structured around five themes including: Landscapes Alive for Nature and Beauty, Landscapes for Everyone, Living in Landscapes, More Special Places and New Ways of Working. Landscape Character Assessment Exmoor National Park saw the formal adoption of its comprehensive Landscape Character Assessment update in July 2018 as a supplementary planning document. Further informal guidance is being planned to address the unintended impacts of external lighting in relation to the protection of Exmoor’s dark skies. Heritage Lottery Fund Yorkshire Dales National Park launched the Westmorland Dales Landscape Partnership programme (2019). Led by Friends of the Dales this is a £3.45m, 4-year programme of action to unlock and reveal the hidden heritage of the Westmorland Dales, enabling more people to connect with, enjoy and benefit from this inspirational landscape.
ENGLAND WALES Glover Landscapes Review The Landscapes Review, commissioned by the UK Government in 2018, was led by the writer Julian Glover supported by
Environmental colour assessment Training course (2019) through the RDP/ RCDF programme relating to digital inclusion to raise awareness of the role colour plays in the landscape, assessing materials colour palettes for buildings through the planning process and for the community to discover what colours may represent their community to inform a subsequent web site. The Statutory Register of Historic Parks and Gardens in Wales With over 95 per cent of sites completed, the consultation process for the statutory register historic parks and gardens in Wales is nearly over. It is expected that Cadw will conclude the last consultations soon and that the statutory register will come into force soon thereafter.
Landscape and climate change Natural Resources Wales evidence report ‘Landscape and a changing climate in Designated Landscapes’ identifies and communicates the direct 45
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and indirect impacts of projected climate changes for Wales on landscape types and their character and qualities for the three National Parks and five Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) in Wales. SCOTLAND People, Place and Landscape NatureScot (then called SNH) and Historic Environment Scotland (HES), the lead heritage bodies in Scotland, share statutory roles in the conservation, management and sustainable use of our landscapes, and in promoting their enjoyment and understanding. In October 2019 they jointly published “People, Place and Landscape: A Position Statement”. An accompanying Action Plan followed in January 2020. Citizen science and landscape monitoring NatureScot carried out a review of its pilot of using citizen science approaches to supplement fixed-point photography in landscape monitoring. The report was published in summer 2020. It found that engaging the public in this work was not straightforward, despite some innovative work in several countries. Landscape Character Assessment Following the launch in spring 2019 of the revised national set of landscape character assessments, work on updating the related information on landscape evolution is underway. Landscape staff in NatureScot and Historic Environment Scotland, and staff in local authorities, have been consulted. 46
NORTHERN IRELAND Heritage Lottery Fund In Northern Ireland there are currently 6 Landscape Partnership Schemes that receive funding from the HLF. These are at various stages in the process from inception to completion/ legacy and they cover a wide area of NI from the Mournes and Ring of Gullion in the south east, the Heart of the Glens of Antrim in the north and Lough Erne in the west. They form a vital link between local people and their landscape. World Heritage Sites Work continues in relation to the Giants Causeway and Causeway Coast World Heritage Site. DAERA has commissioned a new WHS Management Plan 2020-2027 and the draft plan is nearing completion. Landscape Change NI AONBs developing a Fixed-Point Photography Project which captures changes in the landscapes over time. In its 3rd year initial analysis work has started in the form of a questionnaire with the intention of delivering a final report by the end of 2020.
Historic England perspective The ELC definitions have proved of particular significance in formalising recognition that the historic landscape is fully a dimension permeating the overall landscape: that human thought, attitudes and actions have contributed to its present perceived character through time in conjunction with natural processes everywhere, not as one of many sectors but cross-cutting all, or as a discontinuous array of discrete sites or areas, or as just ‘the old’ however that may be defined. In recognising the historic landscape’s dimensional presence, the ELC consolidated in landscape a pre-existing understanding that was already widely accepted in the UK from archaeological research by the early 1990s. The development of Historic Landscape Characterisation (HLC) responded directly to that, applied initially in Cornwall in 1993-4 and then extended across England’s counties in a major programme partnered between English Heritage (EH), and England’s local authorities. To give some examples2 of the historic landscape work underpinned by the ELC, EH and later HE continued and completed the HLC programme across England’s counties and other sub-regional areas. Work began to consolidate Regional HLCs to support integrated Regional Landscape Character Frameworks but, with government abandonment of regional planning structures in 2010, the focus moved to a national scale for more strategic landscape planning inputs. Work began on a national thesaurus of historic character terms, exploring options to bring county HLCs’ terms to national consistency while retaining equivalent more localised terms whose nuanced meanings remain necessary to reflect local identity in local or regional scale work, respecting the ELC’s emphases on identity and plurality. With the Thesaurus completed and the county HLC’s nearly so, HE supported Natural England (NE) in building a National HLC (NHLC) from the data in the county HLC coverage. The publication by NE of the NHLC as Govt. Open Data in 2019 now makes HLC available to inform its many applications across the whole of England’s land area at
3. Welsh National Park © istockphoto.com
4. Northern Ireland Fixed Point Photography Project © Gary Charlton, Dave Hooley, Maggie Roe and Sarah Tunnicliffe
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5. Waygood environmental colour assessment training course exploring the benefits and limitations of the use of colour in base line analysis to manage change © Andrew Nevill
both national and sub-regional scales. In a substantial extension of HLC, Historic Seascape Characterisation (HSC) applied the ELC’s understanding and the HLC approach to characterise historic landscape across coastal and marine areas, so capturing a maritime perspective of the historic dimension of landscape to complement HLC’s land-based perspective, the two overlapping along the coast. Mirroring the NHLC, a National HSC (NHSC) database encompassing all of England’s inshore and offshore regions was completed in 2017 and now forms one of the core data sources informing England’s Marine Plans’ preparation. Conclusion So, there is much to celebrate as we mark this twentieth anniversary of the ELC’s adoption. As we do so, it is worth noting that the need to assert the ELC’s approach to landscape and people’s rights and obligations that go with it, remains as strong as ever. As the ESF observed, landscape’s force as an integrative concept makes it well-placed as a framework to serve our needs in addressing many of the serious challenges faced by humanity which similarly span the sciences and humanities: challenges such as climate change; ecological imbalances; habitat/biodiversity degradation and loss, food shortages and developing a holistic approach to people’s health and wellbeing.
In the context of continuing political upheaval, severe financial cutbacks for landscape work, restructuring of relevant organisations and other difficulties, recent approaches and landscape policy seems to be moving to a more proactive and transdisciplinary approach, which again reflects many of the discussions and findings that emerged during the original research carried out by Newcastle University. These include: • more emphasis on multiple benefits that landscapes can provide • a focus on connectivity in landscapes and the ‘ripple’ effect of landscape benefits • recognition of people’s values and ordinary, ‘in-between’ landscapes • developing participatory working over large scale landscape areas • the importance of academic research, assessment and monitoring for policy development.
Further information CoE (Council of Europe) (2000) The European landscape convention text. https://www.coe. int/fr/web/conventions/full-list/-/ conventions/rms/ 0900001680080621 Land Use Consultants (2010) European Landscape Convention: guidelines for managing landscapes. Available https:// www.gov.uk/government/ publications/european-landscapeconvention-guidelines-formanaging-landscapes Roe, M. H., Jones, C.J. and Mell, I.C (2008) Research to support the implementation of the European Landscape Convention in England (Contract No. PYT02/10/1.16), Research Report for Natural England. Available through http:// publications.naturalengland.org.uk/
The ELC is so well-placed because it gives an obligation to account for the many perspectives and interests involved in landscape change: an obligation to involve people, to work with their perceptions and to seek consensus when planning landscape change aimed at resolving such issues. However well-intentioned and wellfounded our proposed solutions may be, those obligations need to be fulfilled if their outcome is to be truly effective and sustainable.
Roe, M. H. (2013) Policy Change and ELC Implementation: Establishment of a baseline for understanding the impact on UK national policy of the European Landscape Convention. Landscape Research 38(6): 768-798 doi:10.10 80/01426397.2012.751968 Gary Charlton is Senior Landscape Adviser at Natural England Dave Hooley is a former Senior Archaeological Investigator at Historic England Maggie Roe is Reader in Landscape Planning Research and Policy Engagement & Dean of Postgraduate Studies, McCord Centre for Landscape at Newcastle University) Sarah Tunnicliffe is Senior National Rural and Landscape Adviser at Historic England It is understood that the ‘landscape approach’ is a ‘driving paradigm in the international environmental and development community’. See Freeman, O. E., L. A. Duguma, and P. A. Minang. 2015. Operationalizing the integrated landscape approach in practice. Ecology and Society 20(1): 24. http://dx.doi.org/10.5751/ ES-07175-200124 2 See HE website https://historicengland.org.uk/ research/methods/characterisation/historiclandscape-characterisation/ 1
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Spirit Tables Artist Michael Visocchi’s ‘Spirit Tables’ chart the fall and rise of whales in the oceans of the sub-Antarctic 48
F E AT U R E By Michael Visocchi
After a year-long search, the South Georgia Heritage Trust and the Government of South Georgia have announced the winner of an international artistic commission designed to highlight the environmental recovery of the sub-Antarctic island of South Georgia, a UK Overseas Territory in the Southern Ocean. The idea of the commission was to challenge artists to find a way to tell the conservation messages of South Georgia, an island that was at the centre of the whaling industry for decades, but is now an ecosystem in recovery. The winning artist is Scottish sculptor Michael Visocchi, with a work called ‘Commensalis – the Spirit Tables of South Georgia’. This site-specific piece will be situated on South Georgia at the Grytviken Whaling Station, with Michael’s concept drawing inspiration from a number of sources to tell the island’s powerful story. Grytviken is the only visitor-accessible whaling station on South Georgia, and receives around 10,000 visitors per year under usual circumstances. Michael’s artwork will also be part of an outreach programme in the UK (currently under development), which may see Spirit Tables placed in a number of locations to engage a wider number of people in the story of South Georgia. Michael Visocchi outlines his vision. 49
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My concept for the artwork was inspired by the site-specific nature of the brief, something you don’t often see specified all that often in commission call outs to artists. I’ve always liked working with the idea of site specificness in mind. We had a wonderful tutor at art school who always insisted that the site is half the artwork. Those were such wise words because they place the artist’s ego firmly behind the importance of the site and the story. Only then can you engage meaningfully with what’s actually in front of you. I actually think that in this instance (at Grytviken) the site is so charged that it is actually more than half the artwork. 3
My work has always tried to express, in poetic terms, human interaction with the landscape, particularly the trace left by human beings on our landscapes, for good or for bad. So I was excited by the idea of using the industrial landscape of the former whaling station at Grytviken on South Georgia as the context and cornerstone for this proposal. I grew up in a relatively rural part of Scotland, and my friends and I would sometimes play in and around old disused farm sheds. Strange old machines and rusty corrugated sheeting were all part of my formative environment. I always used to find my imagination could run riot in these places, wondering what these old sites and contraptions would have once been used for. Their stasis, abandonment and scale were even more intriguing. They were like ruins and had a mysterious quality to them. When I first saw the images of the whaling station at Grytviken, it brought lots of memories back to me. It seemed very familiar, despite the fact that I’d never visited it, or indeed any whaling station for that matter. When I started researching the site and landscape at Grytviken I was struck by a number of ideas. In particular the
1. The Flensing Plan from above. Images from Geometria working for the Government of South Georgia & the South Sandwich Islands © Adam Proctor
2. Michael Visocchi © Adam Proctor
3. Commensalis composite © Adam Proctor
4. Grytviken © George Lemann
5. Blue whale hauled up on its ventral side, 1928-1929. © discoveryinvestigations.ac.uk
6. Washed up shipping vessel at Grytviken. © Stephen Bolsco
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7. Commensalis © Adam Proctor
8. Whale on South Georgia, 9 January 1927. © discoveryinvestigations.ac.uk
9. Sunset from Grytviken © Jerome Viard
visual connection, and formal similarities, between the barnacles found growing on the flanks and dorsal areas of whales and the steel rivets used in the vessels and buildings which made up the site. In essence this is a story about numbers – whale numbers taken and whale numbers recovered – so managing to identify and isolate a visual unit which could convey one whale threw many possibilities in front of me. Thus, visually and formally, my artwork will make this connection between the barnacles and the rivets. At the heart of the Flensing Plan, (the part of the whaling station where carcasses were processed) and consisting of six tables representing the six different whale species that were hunted and processed there, are the ‘Spirit Tables.’ They are punctuated by stainless steel button head rivets in various patterns, with each rivet symbolising a live whale or the spirit of a live whale, each pattern referring to a particular part of that whale’s natural history. Each rivet is approximately the size of a snooker ball sliced in half. En masse, these rivets will essentially create large reflective surfaces that will mirror the sky, the sun, the moon and the mountains. I fully expect The Spirit Tables to be seen shimmering from far out in the harbour and from the higher ground around the bay. They will change in different lighting conditions, illuminate the space and radiate a feeling of hope. Interestingly, they will also reflect the viewer, reminding us that we are implicated in this story, and that we, humankind, are central to environmental recovery. Michael Visocchi is an artist and maker based in Angus, Scotland. His work is about geology, habitat and the human trace left on landscape. He creates work in a variety of materials including wood, metal, card, thread, rope and resin.
Click here to watch a short film of Michael Visocchi talking about the concepts that have informed his artwork
F E AT U R E By Scott McAulay
Championing landscape as a climate solution The landscape profession could be incredibly impactful by strategically placing practitioners within local authorities, argues Scott McAulay of the Anthropocene Architecture School
or two years, the Anthropocene Architecture School has blended architectural education, climate literacy and climate justice activism – catalysing workshops, complementing existing structures, and offering challenge or provocation when necessary. It was inspired by Extinction Rebellion Scotland, has been supported by friends and members of the Scottish Ecological Design Association alike, and punches well above its weight internationally for a school with no building. Before existing for a year, the AAS had been invited to guest-lecture for the Architectural Association and provide an educators’ climate literacy session for the Mackintosh School of Architecture. It has also self-generated 30 workshops of its own – with the project directly engaging over 2600 people, to date. The AAS amplifies scientists’ call for meaningful climate action that has been ringing out for decades – since before the first Earth Day in 1970, preceding the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s first report in 1990 that made the science crystal clear. Calls that, 52
before 2018, should have already been impossible for any of us to ignore. On the 8th of October 2018, the IPCC published the“Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C”, which stated that, to keep global heating below 1.5°C, humanity must reduce its carbon dioxide emissions to net zero by 2050¹. Achieving this would mean halving global emissions by 2030, halving them again by 2040, and reaching zero no later than 2050². To do this equitably, industrialised countries – particularly those with colonial histories, like the U.K. – must decarbonise entirely well before 2050, to enable countries in the Global South to emit carbon as they transition their economies to net zero, whilst raising standards of living³. Using historical carbon emissions data, a recent study in The Lancet calculated that the Global North is responsible for 92% of climate breakdown, whilst those least responsible, in the Global South, are the ones disproportionately affected by its impacts4. Globally, carbon emissions vary extensively: the Confronting Carbon Inequality Report shows that the richest 1% of humanity now emit
twice as much carbon as the poorest 50% 5 but it cannot be forgotten that just 100 companies are responsible for 70% of carbon emissions since 1980 6. International resilience-building efforts and Net Zero Targets must acknowledge and address this context of climate injustice, so as to neither repeat nor exacerbate it. In ecological terms, resilience is a system’s ability to absorb disturbances and shocks, whilst retaining its basic structure. Resilience – or a lack of – also describes a system’s capacity to adapt to short term disruption and longterm change 7. Building resilience into the built environment and landscape intervention is urgent because the Climate and Ecological Emergency is not impending – it has been in motion and worsening for decades. It is critical that the construction industry urgently reduces its impact on the Earth, which currently accounts for 39% of global greenhouse gas emissions8. With COP26 on the horizon, construction cannot be left out of discussions as it has been historically – it is not addressed thoroughly enough in awareness campaigns from NGOs, nor is it meaningfully included in policy
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1. Global Green House Gas Emissions – Data from World Green Building Council 2020. © McAulay 2020
discussions or public debate. Limiting global heating depends upon addressing this issue. Global heating of around 1-1.2°C above pre-industrial levels already amplifies extreme weather events and disrupts seasonal weather patterns9. This means that long established “rules of thumb” in many localities for drainage and flooding shall eventually no longer apply. Talking of the aversion of the Climate Emergency as opposed to the mitigation of ongoing climate breakdown is to discount the lived experience of hundreds of thousands of people experiencing climate impacts and shocks – as there is documented evidence of climate change every single day since 201210.Human activity has shifted the planet into the Anthropocene: an uncharted territory, where atmospheric carbon dioxide levels sit at around 415ppm – well above the 350ppm “threshold of safety” – and have not been as high in over 800,000 years¹¹. Concurrently, global heating affects the Earth’s hydrological cycle: as global temperatures rise, warmer air and warmer seas increase the amount of water that evaporates from the oceans. Warmer air in turn can hold more water
We already have sufficient technologies to operate as a zero-carbon society.
vapour, its capacity increasing by 7% for each additional 1°C of heating¹². As a result, this excess of water vapour in the air means that when the air does cool down enough for clouds to form, not only will there be more frequent rainfall, but there is also a greater chance that downpours will be heavier, amounting to an acceleration and intensification of weather systems. This intensification, coupled with rising sea levels, demands that we do more than just manage water, and go beyond reactively responding to flooding. Current government policy is not conducive to this – a 2019 Greenpeace investigation revealed that thousands of homes are still planned to be built in high-risk flooding zones across England¹³ – and legislation enabling such irresponsibility must be challenged. In Retrofitting for Flood Resilience: A Guide to Building & Community Design, author Edward Barsley states that “sealevel rise will lead to many communities around the world being flooded on a regular basis. Boundaries between land and sea will become blurred.” He also stresses that there is no silver bullet flood resilience strategy 14. But, what if our future, reimagined 53
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2. This graphic is an Anthropocene Architecture School illustration: its root is the Adaptive Cycle - conceptually describing the resilience of any given system, and it is overlaid with the MET Office data for average global average temperature changes from 1850-2018. It essentially conveys the changes climate in which we now live, and stresses the need for resilience thinking and systems approaches. © McAulay 2020
relationship with water were not quite so apocalyptic? What if every single act of adaptation, defence or mitigation was intentionally designed to simultaneously yield both community and ecological benefit? Now, for the good news. The Centre for Alternative Technology’s “Zero Carbon Britain Report – Rising to the Climate Emergency” illustrates that we already have sufficient technologies to operate as a zerocarbon society15. It stresses that the barrier to carbon neutrality is not technological, but political. 54
Complementing CAT’s Net Zero scenario is a report from the Committee on Climate Change, that states that 62% of the changes necessary to achieve net zero are behavioural and societal16. Solutions have existed for decades, but the political will and public pressure that would make implementing potentially unpopular solutions feasible for politicians on election cycles is in short supply. Figures from the “BEIS Public Attitudes Tracker” stress that 64% of those questioned had not heard of the concept of net zero prior, and only 3% considered themselves to have a great deal of
awareness17. Those of us aware of sustainability issues are operating in echo chambers more than we realise and must get significantly better at communicating this to clients, colleagues, politicians, and the public alike. There is also a myth that the financial cost of climate action is prohibitive, but the truth is much to the contrary: inaction costs substantially more. Fourteen years ago, the UK government commissioned “Stern Review” warned that inaction on climate change could damage global GDP by 20%, whilst curbing it would have then cost around 1%18. In terms
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3. IPCC Special Report © IPCC
of the economic value of building flood resilience, every single pound invested safeguards against £9 of property damage and wider impacts19 – just imagine the accumulative positive impacts if every such defence had additional ecological purpose, like habitat creation or rainwater retention. Promisingly, another recently published report calculates that reaching net zero by 2050 would cost 0.5% of global GDP, and further builds the case for urgent, transformative action20. Individual, personal actions – in aggregate – are important, but what we urgently need is systemic change and high-level intervention. The time for not challenging clients and government on ecologically irresponsible projects has ended. This could be as diplomatic as strategically suggesting which scheme to visit, or as provocative as using your professional platform as a landscape architect, or as an Institute, to publicly support campaigns, such as the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill – a proposed upgrade to 2008’s Climate Change Act. Alternatively, the landscape profession could be incredibly impactful by strategically placing practitioners within local authorities, in similar capacities to Public Practice Associates. This creates opportunity to imbue Planning Policy with ecological awareness, and champion the potential of landscape as a climate solution and public health strategy. Climate Emergency Action Plans, Decarbonisation Road Maps, Green New Deals and planning
departments would all benefit immensely from landscape architects’ environmental expertise and wisdom. Tackling a problem as complex as the Climate Crisis requires nothing short of a societal transformation of an at least comparable magnitude. So, we must urgently challenge all legislation and policy that impede such a transition. We can start by calling upon government to redirect hydrocarbon subsidies into regenerative agricultural practices, renewable energy infrastructure, and mass retrofit exercises; to intervene within existing systems to transform how the built environment impacts the Earth – specifically its hydrological cycle, landscapes, and the non-human species we share our home with. Cultivating capacities for resilience and reimagining our relationship with water will be one small Toni Cade Bambara famously said: “the role of the artist is to make the revolution irresistible”. It is now clear that to build sufficient political will to decarbonise and protect nature as fast as science demands will require nothing less. As the IPCC stressed in 2018, all pathways that limit us to a 1.5ºC temperature rise “begin now” and require “unprecedented societal transformation”. A key role the landscape profession can play in catalysing this transformation is by educating and empowering clients, communities, design teams and governments with the environmental experience and professional knowledge necessary to radically redefine our built environments’ relationship with the Earth’s natural systems. Individually, the role of the landscape architect is to ensure that nature – designed or wild – plays a role in any decarbonisation strategy or economic recovery plan they have the capacity to influence, through advocacy, campaigning, education, political engagement, practice and – when necessary – through taking direct, transformative and urgent action. Scott McAulay is an architectural designer, and a climate justice activist with Extinction Rebellion Scotland. He coordinates the Anthropocene Architecture School.
The landscape profession could be strategically placing practitioners within local authorities in similar capacities to Public Practice Associates
https://www.ipcc.ch/sr15/ Figuerres, C and Rivett-Carnac, T (2020). The Future We Choose: Surviving the Climate Crisis. 3 Hickel, J (2020). Less Is More: How degrowth will save the world. 4 https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanplh/article/ PIIS2542-5196(20)30196-0/fulltext 5 https://www.oxfam.org/en/research/confrontingcarbon-inequality 6 https://www.cdp.net/en/articles/media/new-reportshows-just-100-companies-are-source-of-over-70-ofemissions 7 https://education.resilience.org/product/self-directedcourse/ 8 https://www.worldgbc.org/ 9 Holthaus, E (2020). Future Earth – A Radical Vision for What’s Possible in the Age of Warming. 10 https://www.nationalgeographic.co.uk/environmentand-conservation/2020/01/weather-shows-evidenceclimate-change-every-single-day-2012 11 https://climate.nasa.gov/vital-signs/carbon-dioxide/ 12 Grossman, E (2020) https://extinctionrebellion.uk/ the-truth/the-emergency/ 13 https://unearthed.greenpeace.org/2019/11/15/ flooding-uk-boris-johnson-sheffield-yorkshire/ 14 Barsley, E (2019). Retrofitting for Flood Resilience: A Guide to Building & Community Design. 15 https://www.cat.org.uk/info-resources/zero-carbonbritain/research-reports/zero-carbon-britain-rising-tothe-climate-emergency/ 16 https://www.sgr.org.uk/sites/default/files/2019-11/ Scientists_Behaving_Responsibly_SGRreport.pdf 17 https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/ beis-public-attitudes-tracker-wave-33 18 https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/ j.1728-4457.2006.00153.x 19 https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/adifferent-philosophy-why-our-thinking-on-floodingneeds-to-change-faster-than-the-climate 20 https://www.energy-transitions.org/publications/ making-mission-possible/ 1 2
F E AT U R E By Miza Moreau
Urban Lanes As we plan for a post-COVID-19 future, the value of urban lanes as places of space and sanctuary needs to be appreciated, argues Miza Moreau. 1
1. Lane garden maintenance and clean-up provide opportunity for socialising with neighbours (Melbourne) © MIza Moreau
2. Boundary wall in lane that became a green wall (Melbourne) © MIza Moreau
3. Neighbours gather for a “long-lunch” in their lane (Melbourne) © MIza Moreau
hen thinking about cities and a post-Covid recovery, one thing is certain: the pandemic has highlighted the urgent need to address the systems that have not worked well. One of those things is equitable access to public green spaces for recreation, socialisation, and civic engagement. Addressing this issue, however, would require a willingness to explore new ideas, because in established neighbourhoods, large parcels of available land for creation of new parks are difficult to find. Also, in areas with housing shortages, creating new parks at the expense of affordable housing would be difficult to justify. Even neighbourhoods with a good amount of open green space need to make best use of what they have to mitigate the adverse effects of climate change. For over two decades, design and planning literature has called for consideration of how left-over and residual urban spaces could be incorporated better for public use. However, the aesthetic, functional, and legal ambiguities surrounding these spaces are not within the comfort zones of some municipal planners or professional designers. In his 1995 seminal essay, Terrain Vague, Ignasi de Solà-Morales Rubió criticized designers for inevitably turning ambiguous spaces into something recognizable and conventional, instead of valuing their unique qualities. One type of ambiguous urban space, commonly found in inner city neighbourhoods that have a shortage of open space, is the residential lane (or laneway, alley, alleyway). An individual lane is a small piece of land, but considered collectively, residential lanes can add to hundreds of linear kilometres or hundreds of hectares of prime urban land. Established for unsightly but necessary domestic services, residential lanes offer narrow, road-like access to the backs of plots and buildings. Being connected to public footpaths, these lanes could also serve as valuable pedestrian shortcuts. However, when they are poorly managed and looking derelict, they are assumed to harbour antisocial activities. In fact, lane-gating programmes are not uncommon in the UK, with the rationale being a way to deal with crime (real or perceived) is by blocking public access. There are examples of city-wide programmes in North
America that regard residential lanes as assets, although the focus of these schemes and their implementations vary. The City of Chicago’s Green Alleys initiative, for example, focuses on the installation of permeable pavers in residential lanes for urban stormwater management. In San Francisco, California, the Living Alleys programme provides matching funds to community groups to work with the City to transform their lanes permanently into socially viable spaces. In Montreal, Canada, residents can get support through the Ruelle Verte program to appropriate their lanes into common green spaces. In Melbourne, Australia, lanes in the Central Business District have undergone a significant change, transforming from derelict to economically, socially, and culturally valuable spaces. Melbourne lanes are associated with cafés and restaurants, street art, and cultural programmes. Their success is due to a combination of different programmes that the city has implemented over the past three decades. However, just a few kilometres away, lanes in residential neighbourhoods are still forgotten spaces to their councils, although for local residents and the general public, they still function as pedestrian networks, informal art galleries, social and food growing spaces, and green corridors. Most of this
functionality happens without council initiatives or involvement, so the value of these activities is often unrecognized or regarded as “illegal,” and thus susceptible to removal (although some gardens have lasted for years and decades). In the world of post-COVID-19 green recovery, could residential lanes become valued urban spaces without being privatized by businesses or formally managed by the councils? For several years, I studied the informal appropriations of Melbourne’s residential lanes in relation to their morphology, and found that they were used for gardening and food sharing, domestic repairs and socializing, street art and staged exhibitions, informal walking and organized cycling events, and much more. While collectively lanes can be used for many purposes, not every individual lane was the best place for every activity. Some lanes were regularly used for car access, while others were too narrow for cars to move through or turn into garages. Some lanes were permeable and connected, and were often used for walking. 57
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4. Street art can convert lanes to culturally viable places (Melbourne) ÂŠ MIza Moreau
5. Dead-end lane converted to an informal garden (Melbourne) ÂŠ MIza Moreau
Other lanes were dead-ended, and while the general public had little use for them, their residents had appropriated them into gardens. Some lanes were visible from the streets on one or both ends, while others were hidden. Laneways varied in their lengths, paving materials, sun exposure, and many other factors that would affect how they could be used. Each lane was bordered by dozens of residential plots with various kinds of public/private interfaces that mostly worked in an opposite manner to what works in other spaces (e.g., high streets). Blank interfaces of fences, walls, back doors, and garages were associated with gardening, socializing, and art appropriations, as well as informal green walls and other vegetation. Just as individual lanes could differ from each other, neighbourhoods in which the lanes are found vary as well. In some neighbourhoods, residents know how to lobby for and implement the kinds of changes they want to see. In others, residents, for whatever reasons, do not embark on changing their lanes. So, when thinking about what kind of policies councils could apply, it is important to be aware of these differences. In some areas, residents could be allowed to appropriate lanes as needed, while in others, local councils might need to be involved in starting and managing change until residents can take care of it themselves. The unprecedented experience of a global pandemic, coupled with the climate emergency, will hopefully unlock new ways of approaching local challenges. Because if not now, then when? Residential lanes are spaces of many possibilities, but it will take commitment to understand their multiple spatial and social potentials, and to be able to employ site-specific strategies for unlocking those possibilities. 58
Residential lanes are spaces of many possibilities
Dr. Miza Moreau is a Postdoctoral Researcher in Environmental Design and Planning at the University of Glasgow. She works at the intersection of urban and environmental studies, and design. Prior to focusing on research, she practiced as a landscape architect and urban designer in Australia and the United States.
BRIEFING By Claire Thirlwall CMLI 1. Produce © istockphoto
Climate emergency and local food production As part of a regular series, landscape architect and author Claire Thirlwall explores tools, projects and guidance available to help our professional understanding of this issue’s topic.
or many UK residents, empty supermarket shelves in spring 2020 was their first experience of food scarcity. Despite appearances, there was no lack of food, but rather our fragile supply chains were unable to adjust to the sudden surge in demand. It was an important reminder of the consequences of the just-in-time system. Reliant on short lead times and low stock levels, even small fluctuations in demand can affect food availability. It isn’t clear if the subsequent surge in interest in vegetable growing was a response to the perceived scarcity, or just those with more time at home looking for a rewarding hobby. Google
Trends shows a surge in worldwide searches for the term “growing vegetable” increasing fivefold in late March 2020, with other terms such as “easiest vegetables to grow” showing a 300% increase. I was one of those suddenly growing vegetables at home for the first time in many years. I tried cucumber, watermelon and rare heritage tomatoes. It was a rewarding and welcome distraction, but despite the hours of time spent, it only counted for a tiny fraction of the food we needed, especially with all of our meals being made and eaten at home. As ethnobotanist James Wong wrote in an April 2020 article “Why we’re all growing vegetables”1,
“it would be irresponsible of me not to clarify one thing: the claims that growing your own is cheap and easy are simply not based on facts.” He acknowledges that growing our own food is rewarding and benefits our physical and mental health, but concludes that “the idea that growing your own will guarantee the average person significant cost savings, let alone any semblance of self-sufficiency, is best left to 70s sitcoms.” If conventional food growing at a domestic scale can be viewed as supplemental at most, what other options could be considered to build resilience into the supply of food in the city? 59
My first experience of a forest garden was at the offices of the Reading International Solidarity Centre (RISC), the charity which runs Food4Families. On the roof of their building, in just 30cm of soil and two floors above a busy Reading street, there is a tranquil garden that provides fruit, vegetables, flowers and herbs. Created in 2001, the 200m² garden is home to over 185 species, including lemon, fig, liquorice and mulberry. Forest gardens use a layered system, with groundcover, shrubs, small and large trees, root crops and climbers. The system is based on the structure of young woodland, and is a designed ecosystem. Many of the plants used are perennials, with multiple uses such as medicine, fuel, dye and scent, as well as food. In a forest garden system, soil is rarely left uncovered, with nitrogen fixing plants used to reduce the need for fertilisers. There are no blocks of one species, reducing the impact of disease or predators, and the diversity of species helps attract pollinators.
Food4Families2 Food4Families is an educational and development project that works with residents, helping them manage land in their local neighbourhood to grow food for their own consumption. Taking areas of unused land in Reading, Berkshire, residents work with professional horticulturalists to: • Equip participants with the skills to grow food crops in a sustainable way • Help participants reconnect food consumption with the process of food production • Encourage healthier eating and lifestyle habits • Facilitate learning about sustainable food production and resource use • Develop participants’ understanding of the broader cultural, environmental, and economic dimensions of growing food crops • Build a local network of communitybased food growing projects, and a broader community interest in healthy and sustainable food production and consumption Regular sessions are held in the community gardens, and produce harvested is shared out amongst those who have helped that day. The core team are supported by volunteers, including students from the local horticultural college. During the pandemic, Food4Familes has created
the Veg4Reading3 project to provide fresh fruit and vegetables from community allotments and private gardens across the town to supplement food parcels. Volunteers have worked within the COVID restrictions to safely grow, collect and distribute produce. This model of community growing helps even out many of the challenges of growing in private gardens – gluts are balanced as crops are shared, the larger scale allows for more diversity, the shared maintenance reduces the time needed per person, and there is professional expertise on hand.
2. Produce grown in community gardens © Food for Families
3. Erleigh Road Community Garden © Claire Thirlwall
4. RISC roof garden, Reading, June 2017 © Claire Thirlwall
5. International Living Future Institute © ILFL
6. Food shortages on supermarket shelves © istockphoto
Living Building Challenge – Urban Agriculture5 A 2018 report by the Social Market Foundation and Kellogg’s found that access to fresh produce is an issue for more than 10 million people in the UK 6. In areas of deprivation and districts poorly served by food stores, “food deserts” can develop, meaning those with no access to a car or poor mobility are dependent on small convenience stores can often find it difficult to buy healthy, affordable food. The Living Building Challenge, discussed in the Autumn 2019 issue 7, tries to address this challenge by including an element of local food
The increased interest in vegetable growing, along with spells of perceived food insecurity, all combine to create an opportunity for the landscape profession to explore urban agriculture
production. This construction standard requires that projects “integrate opportunities for connecting the community to locally grown fresh food.” The requirements vary depending on the location of the project – for a rural location, 20% of the project area would need to be dedicated to growing food, whereas a dense urban site would only require 2%. If this level of provision isn’t achievable, sites must provide weekly community access to healthy local food, such as a farmers’ market. Urban agriculture can include livestock, aquaculture, hydroponics, orchards or apiaries, but the produce must be for human consumption. All non-domestic building projects require a resilience strategy, meaning that a minimum of 3 days of food needs to be kept on site to cover 75% of the building’s full-time occupancy. Using public and private buildings to build food resilience into communities, by using them as a store, provides potential places of refuge during natural disasters or other emergencies.
The shift towards home working, the greater focus on our immediate environment, and the increased interest in vegetable growing along with spells of perceived food insecurity, all combine to create an opportunity for the landscape profession to explore urban agriculture. Self-sufficiency may be an unrealistic aim for most, but by using case studies – such as Food4Familes and the Cambridge co-farming projects above [page 19] – we can design areas to provide clients and communities with ways to grow and access fresh, local produce. Claire Thirlwall is director of Oxfordshire based landscape practice Thirlwall Associates. Her book “From Idea to Site: a project guide to creating better landscapes” for RIBA Books was published in January 2020.
J Wong, ‘Why we’re all growing vegetables | James Wong’, in The Guardian, 12 April 2020, section Life and style, https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/ 2020/apr/12/james-wong-on-gardens-grow-your-ownvegetables-for-fun [accessed 11 November 2020].
‘About food4families’, https://www.food4families.org. uk/AboutF4f.cfm [accessed 11 November 2020].
‘ Veg4Reading: Growing and Distributing Fresh Produce in Reading’, p.4, https://www.food4families.org.uk/ Veg4Reading.cfm [accessed 13 November 2020].
Crawford, Creating a forest garden: working with M nature to grow edible crops, Reprinted with minor amendments; Hier auch später erschienene, unveränderte Nachdrucke, Totnes, Devon, Green Books, 2012. ‘Living Building Challenge 4.0’, International Living Future Institute, 2019, p. 31, https://living-future.org/ lbc/.
‘ What are the barriers to eating healthily in the UK?’, in Social Market Foundation, https://www.smf.co.uk/ publications/barriers-eating-healthily-uk/ [accessed 20 November 2020]. ‘Landscape Journal – Autumn 2019: The Climate Emergency Edition | Landscape Institute’, https:// www.landscapeinstitute.org/journal/landscapejournal-autumn-2019-climate-emergency-edition/ [accessed 13 November 2020].
F E AT U R E John Roseveare and Archie Bashford
Chalk, cherries and committees: Lessons from a hundred-year-old garden village Inspired by the ‘satisfaction of the needs of others’, a century-old village offers an inspiration for contemporary living.
ust over a hundred years ago, in a remote field in the Chiltern Hills, the Quaker architect Fred Rowntree laid the first brick of a new rural idyll. The Buckinghamshire village of Jordans was described in its foundation document as a ‘social and industrial experiment’, a place mindfully designed for work and home life to harmoniously coexist. The 95-acre estate was to be governed and managed as a Friendly Society. The chief object set down in the founding document was: “to create a Village Community which will provide a fuller opportunity for the development of character and for self-expression than exists under ordinary conditions at the present time.” The related objects flowing from this were: “To acquire, develop, maintain and govern an estate at Jordans... by means of a Village Community to be founded in accordance with Christian principles and in a manner serviceable to the national well-being... and to promote the establishment therein of suitable industries on sound and just lines” and “to provide opportunities for training in citizenship, as well as manual, agricultural and other pursuits.” Under the heading ‘Village Industries’ – described as ‘an essential feature of the scheme’ – the document sets out what that might include: market gardening and fruit growing, poultry and beekeeping, building industries, the woodwork industry, a blacksmiths and wheelwright shop, plumbing, bricklaying and painting, and clothing industries. The ‘satisfaction of the needs of others’ was to be the primary object of the virtuous live/work life envisaged by the founders. Readers familiar with William Morris’ 1890 book News from Nowhere might recognise the backward-looking utopian inflection here, particularly the selfsufficiency and the ennobling qualities of craft. In a history of the village, published in 1969 to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the village, there is a story of one tenant, seen trying to squeeze a piano into his new village house, being admonished for his frivolity by an observer who wondered out-loud: “Wouldn’t you be better off with a weaving loom?”
1. Jordans village store and GII listed houses © Archie Bashford
2. Village allotments © Archie Bashford
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3. Historic village plan c1923 4. Original elevation drawing
The COVID-19 pandemic has rekindled a huge interest in the possiblitiies of rural live/work housing
So, what happened over the next hundred years? The original plans went through various iterations, and although many of the original ideas can be seen in the Jordans of today, some never came to fruition, like turning Dean Farm into a ‘model dairy’ where residents could be employed (see Figs 1-2 overleaf). Largely for ‘defensive’ purposes – to prevent unwanted development – the Village bought two fields along the western boundary, while a third on the eastern side, known as Chalky Field is owned by The Friends Trust, a Quaker charity. All three are rented, mainly for dairy pasture. The Inn was never built, a constant source of both humour and disappointment to many village dwellers. The recession of the 1930s meant the village industries never really got off the ground. While there have been some suggestions of poor management during this time, creating sustainable work through this type of hopeful supply-led organisation has run into difficulties many times in history. Success would have been tough in any circumstances. The founders also imagined villagers would industriously cultivate the large space around their own homes for food, and that the Village Store would be run on co-operative lines with facilities for “jam making and the bottling of fruit”. The store would receive and distribute “such produce as the tenants on the estate may wish to dispose of or obtain”. The reality has been that tenants’ use
of their unusually large gardens to growtheir-own has ebbed and flowed over the past century. The Village Shop is currently run on gently subsidised community lines, but no system to ‘receive and distribute’ has been maintained for very long. Chicken coops and beehives have come and gone; orchards have been planted, cherished, then neglected; and vegetable plots have been tended productively for intense periods over the years, only to fall down the to-do list as the demands of modern life have intervened. The COVID-19 pandemic has rekindled a huge interest in the possibilities of rural live/work housing, a different kind of work-from-home, and in growing your own food. While the ‘flight from the city’ debate is likely to calm down, successive governments have been favouring the return of garden villages and towns. Are there lessons to be learnt from a century-old community founded to provide precisely the affordable rural live/work housing in demand in 2020? A useful tool for addressing lessons learnt is a rubric used for the performance of companies: ESG – Environmental, Social, Governance.
Environmental We shouldn’t judge the success of the Village founders’ ‘experiment’ against the environmental standards of 2020. In 1919, the world population stood at around 1.7 billion. It’s now 7.8 billion. In 1919, the car was a relative novelty, the internet not even the stuff of science fiction. All the same, there are interesting parallels between 1919 and 2020. Design: Relatively ‘modest’ houses sitting on large plots are a feature of the village. Speaking to tenants, working from home has meant, above all else, adaptation. Outbuildings in particular have come
into their own. No-one can guess what the live/work balance will look like in a hundred years. However, flexibility of design will be central, with potential to adapt spaces to new ways of working, and incorporate each new wave of proven energy efficiency with the minimum of difficulty. Food growing: The popularity of allotments had already soared before COVID-19, and has been described by many as a ‘lifeline’ during the pandemic. The pattern of use for the large gardens enjoyed by tenants in Village houses will always be variable. Turning the bowling green into allotments has clearly been popular in the village, at least amongst non-bowls players. More provision of this kind might be possible by reassessing large plots as they’re vacated. Maintenance and stewardship: In a place as small as Jordans, and with an ageing population, changes to maintenance regimes and to environmental stewardship can be treated with suspicion. In this respect, the learning may travel in the opposite direction. Interesting projects are springing up, like the local Chalk, Chairs and Cherries initiative launched last year by the Chiltern Conservation Board. One development might be to think more long-term about the fields the Village rent out for pasture. Throughout the 20th century, smallscale market gardening entered into for idealistic reasons frequently foundered. ‘Locally produced’ has also been found to sometimes involve higher energy inputs than imported food. However, much more is now known about the economic and environmental realities of small-scale operations. An intriguing idea is for the village to consider viniculture. Transport: Providing the single largest sector contribution to greenhouse gas emissions, transport is often the elephant in the planning room for new village developments. A recent report, “Garden Villages and Towns: Vision and Reality (2020)” by Transport for New Homes (subtitled “Which will we actually build? Garden Village dream or tarmac estate?”) is highly critical of many new developments, citing their excessive dependency on cars. Weekly bus services have 63
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1. Notional village house adaptation 1
arden studio building – A contemporary, G flexible interpretation of “cottage industry”
Explicit relationship between external and internal, articulated by openings and surfacing – Subtle changes in internal layout and external placement of communal growing beds connect the source of the food to the kitchen
ommunal allotment beds – one of three C possible places for growing. The communal allows for a medium between the larger scale commercial operation and the private garden allotments – a place to meet, incidentally
Boundaries made permeable, to form shared courtyards – Reworked boundaries are in keeping with the villages design standard; hedges rather than hard boundaries, but allow for a degree of free movement, expressing both privacy and communality
Simple, mown pathways connect the street to the Village Green through a planted boundary – The village green is the place to meet other households. An enhanced/refined maintenance regime could provide ecological benefits whilst addressing the founders ambition for environmental stewardship
Communal table within Village Green – a focal point, a place to meet, a place to eat
Private garden adapted growing spaces – as eluded to in point c. The choice to productively garden in a gradient from public/commercial, to communal, to private and domestic is provided.
Electric car (EV) charging points – strategically placed around the village
2. Idea of a contemporary, sustainable smallholding 1
Electric agricultural vehicles – Similarly to the village it’s self, the farm could be limited to electric vehicles, EV charging points and PVs on roofs
Integrated SUDS, water harvesting irrigation system – a linked system harvesting grey water and surface run off to supplement crop irrigation
Dairy farm realised – “model dairy” as was planned, implemented
Possible future vineyard space – Buckinghamshire already has the loamy soil that lends itself to grape growing. Rising temperatures in years to come may make wine making even more appropriate. Drawing © Archie Bashford
come and gone in Jordans. And despite benefiting from a rail station within 15 minutes’ walk from the centre of the village, the car isn’t going out of fashion as quickly as it is in nearby London. The rural equivalent of the 15-minute-city championed by the current Mayor of Paris – all your basic needs within 15 minutes’ walk or cycle of you home – is unlikely to arrive any time soon. Social (including tenure) The original intention had been that the society wouldn’t sell any part of the estate. The residential ‘cottage sites’ were developed as a mix of around 40% village owned and managed and 60% private leasehold properties. Then in 1967, the Labour Government introduced the Leasehold Reform Act, allowing individuals to buy the freeholds of their properties under certain conditions. Leaseholders in Jordans naturally opted to buy their freeholds. “The Leasehold Reform Act obviously changed things” says Chris Jenkins, the current Estate Manager. “but the Society successfully applied to the high court for a Management Scheme which was imposed in 1980 and secured the Society’s right to manage its estate and the freehold properties enfranchised by the Scheme.” This move probably saved the Village. It would have only taken one successful ‘Right to Buy’ application under the 1980 Housing Act to start a ball rolling capable of laying waste to the founders’ – and funders’ – ideals. The estate now has 158 dwellings, with 61 owned by Jordans Village Ltd – 40 houses and 21 flats. Intriguingly, rental rates in Village dwellings have been held significantly lower than the ‘80% of market’ used by local authorities to define affordable housing. Governance In its 95th year, the Village moved its status from Friendly Society to Community Benefit Society, using the new Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Act (2014). A Management Committee runs the affairs of the Village, with at least a quarter of its membership coming from the Tenant Members Committee (TMC). While a consensual status quo has more or less prevailed over the past century, there is an inevitable
tension – not least around local planning powers – between the tenants of Village houses and the private freeholders, in a part of the country where land values have risen in leaps and bounds. Summary When Jordan’s villagers celebrated their centenary in 2019, they could justifiably do so as members of a successful new settlement. The structure set in place by the founders has prevailed, even if the idea of local employment didn’t happen in the shape they imagined. One lesson for people looking to manage new garden villages is to stay on the front foot. The loss of Jordans Hostel and the children’s home next to the shop to private residential buyers represent missed opportunities. A more forward-looking plan might have given rise to different outcomes. Communities wanting to maintain a mix of affordable rental tenancies and private freeholds will not only need a carefully considered Design Guide, as proposed in the government’s 2020 White Paper; they will also need to be thinking about 2050 and beyond. Pressure from private freeholders and developers will eat up more and more time if there is no long-term plan. Communities need to set up advisory/ sterring groups that report to the Management Committee, and that meet separately to collate ideas and options. Some couples already talk in the first instance of dwellings as ‘two bedrooms, two offices’, reflecting the fact that they’ll both be working from home in the immediate future, with or without the pandemic (or children). Adaptability and flexibility will be critical. Don’t fix on single-solution models. Settlements are dynamic. The people inhabiting them change, as does the technological environment around them. Management structures need to be alive to that change, and capable of admitting when things have gone wrong. John Roseveare is a non-executive director who grew up in Jordans Village. Archie Bashford is a landscape architect, urban designer and Public Practice associate. 65
TRANSFORMING THE URBAN LANDSCAPE COMPETITION
TRANSFORMING THE URBAN LANDSCAPE COMPETITION CREATING A VISION FOR POST-COVID-19 STREETS AND SPACES. The Landscape Institute’s latest international design competition reveals the future shape of the high street.
‘Although we are the authors and the curators of this public realm vision, the real praise should go to the scientists, researchers and engineers who are already developing many of the technologies that we illustrated in our proposal that will help society tackle the climate emergency. Over the coming months we are intending to reach out to these, and other organisations so that we can have a better understanding of these emerging technologies,to inform our design processes and ensure Gillespies projects are as sustainable as possible. ‘The real challenge of course is how we make these ‘ideas’ a reality and we have already started working on some thoughts... ‘This has always been more than just a competition for us... it is the start of a green revolution!’ Adam Greatrix Associate Partner GILLESPIES LLP
All images © competitions entrants
TRANSFORMING THE URBAN LANDSCAPE COMPETITION
COVID-19 has had a devastating and unprecedented effect on people’s lives, their lifestyles and the places where they live. The ideas submitted in the competition provide us with a wealth of new thinking about the future design and management of the public realm.
The Landscape Institute looks forward to promoting the entries to civic leaders around the world as we move toward a greener recovery from this pandemic.
The competition, which was supported by GreenBlue Urban, Ground Control, Hardscape, Selux and Vestre, attracted 160 student and professional entries from China, Thailand, Israel, Turkey, Denmark, Spain and the UK. The President of the Landscape Institute, Jane Findlay, commented, “The contest was designed to generate new thinking and to offer a platform for entrants to engage with the debate about the future of our public spaces. I was delighted to see such imaginative and hopeful thinking.
Dr Nelson Ogunshakin Board Member for TFL, FIDIC Chief Executive Officer
Jane Findlay President of the Landscape Institute
“The quality of the submissions was incredible, not only in the standard of presentation but also the quality of thought and creativity. There is a great deal of talent out there, it is exciting to see that that the quality of the design of our urban spaces is in safe hands if we give our designers the opportunity to truly exercise their skills.”
This approach also includes our work in England as part of the UK Government High Streets Taskforce.
Warren Heaton Senior Manager, Ground Control Norman Emery Managing Director, Selux Lighting Mathew Haslam Founder and Managing Director of Hardscape Products Ltd Sarah Ichioka Director, Desire Lines Pte Ltd Romy Rawlings DipLA CMLI, Commercial Director for Vestre
Marie Burns Landscape architect, urban designer and transport planner Dr Ally Lu Lecturer in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at the University of Sheffield. Louise Page Marketing Manager, Greenblue Urban Dr Krystallia Kamvasinou Senior Lecturer / Planning, Urban Design, Architecture, University of Westminster
View entries in the online exhibition.
Professional Winner: Back Down to Earth
TRANSFORMING THE URBAN LANDSCAPE COMPETITION
PROFESSIONAL WINNER BACK DOWN TO EARTH A joint collaboration between Hilary Barber (landscape architect, graphic designer and artist) and Adam Greatrix (associate partner from the Gillespies Leeds studio).
JUDGES’ COMMENTS “Beautifully presented ideas on what we need for a real post-COVID-19 green recovery in our urban landscapes, brought together to prove it’s all possible in one street! Immense detail and thinking - could we just start to implement this?”
“This is the street where we work: an unremarkable street, full of tarmac and cars. It is exactly this type of street where an environmental revolution could take root – responding to the post COVID-19 opportunities and importantly, the climate emergency, to radically rethink our urban streets, for the sake of humanity. Our proposal peels away the existing grey carpet, ‘back down to earth’, to create a healthier and greener space. An ecosystem led planning approach where people and biodiversity have equal importance and nature can be introduced in a meaningful manner to create a balanced, thriving and resilient streetscape. This humble street when combined with other like-minded streets could incrementally start to enrich the social and environmental fabric of our cities, and engender a more sustainable future.”
11 SKY’S THE LIMIT Intensify city activity through maximising the roof space
All images © competitions entrants
10 CLIMATIC SKIN
structures create ‘all weather’ space
9 LANDSCAPE BATTERY Public realm used extensively for energy generation 8 COMMUNITY PARKLETS Flexible modular amenity space 1 SOIL LIFE SUPPORT SYSTEM Stripping away man-made surfaces and allowing the soil to be a thriving ecosystem
7 URBAN FORESTRY Tree planting as part of wider citywide Urban Forest
2 TREADING LIGHTLY Modular, recycled plastic, lightweight, raft road system
3 WATER MANAGEMENT Holistic management of rain water, waste water and water supply
4 REWIRE THE CITY Accessible service corridors allow rapid upgrading of city infrastructure
5 DIGITALLY ENHANCED Flexbile shared surface space managed digitally, in real time
6 PLANTING FOR NATURE Extensive, biodiverse and species rich planting,
TRANSFORMING THE URBAN LANDSCAPE COMPETITION
PROFESSIONAL RUNNER UP CANAL PARK EREWASH – A PARK FOR VITALITY by Joe Bossley, Senior Landscape Architect, FIRA.
“In the UK, 8 million people live nearby a canal, often in urban areas where open space is limited. Since the start of the pandemic, the canal corridor has become a vital escape for people needing to mentally and physically recharge. This increase in pressure on already constrained sites has exposed the challenges for visitors who wish to enjoy our canal whilst staying safe. The Erewash Canal Ilkeston provides a test bed for exploring the idea of how we can enhance the canal corridor to address the rise in the number and diversity of people looking to our canals for restoration, recreation, and a means of off road travel. “
“It is time to experiment; lets transform the Erewash Canal into a parkland destination that works for all.” JUDGES’ COMMENTS “Stands out for its diverse user-centric approach and the detail of its design proposal. Very convincing.”
TRANSFORMING THE URBAN LANDSCAPE COMPETITION
PROFESSIONAL RUNNER UP MY THIRD PLACE by Simon Hall, Director and Landscape Architect at PWP Design Limited in collaboration with R Vint Engineering Limited
“My Third Place is somewhere to connect with the local community, engage in cultural events and socialise with people outside of your home and workplace. Everyone in the country deserves be within walking distance of a My Third Place. There are opportunities within every community and our profession can bring these underused spaces back to life. We have illustrated this using a site in Hyde Park, Leeds to create an exemplar project. The opportunity to roll this out on a national scale has not been seen since the Victorian revolution of urban parks. This creates a fantastic post COVID-19 legacy.”
JUDGES’ COMMENTS “Love the idea of unlocking old council garages. Simple, strong, replicable idea.”
All images © competitions entrants
TRANSFORMING THE URBAN LANDSCAPE COMPETITION
STUDENT WINNER LINK AREA – FLOWING CONNECTION AFTER THE PANDEMIC
“The entire area that I chose shows a lack of green space. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and the strict regulations during the lockdown period, it was extremely difficult to take part in social activities. I chose an abandoned space in the centre of this area in my hometown (Beijing). I designed it as an open urban green space that could gradually transition from artificially to a natural environment. This area not only could provide better activities and workplaces for surrounding residents, but also has essential habitats for local animals.”
JUDGES’ COMMENTS “It addresses the design of green spaces in a city post-pandemic, it is a comprehensive and a beautiful design centred on a rain garden, which considers the importance of nature in the city with habitat creation; issues of pollution and climate change with practical design solutions, educating people about nature and providing an oasis for people who live in a highdensity area.”
by Zhouhui Lu, student at the University of Sheffield
TRANSFORMING THE URBAN LANDSCAPE COMPETITION
STUDENT RUNNER UP NATURE WORKS – REDEFINING URBAN WORKSPACES AS A FRAMEWORK FOR WELLBEING IN EVERYDAY LIFE by Shahaf Zakay – student at Israel Institute of Technology
“At a time where our life routines are constantly changing – disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic – lockdowns and isolation demonstrate more than ever the critical part played by immediate surroundings on our physical and mental wellbeing. The presence of natural environments in our daily landscapes becomes a real necessity. The project aspires to create balance and harmony between nature and man, enabling normal life patterns to exist. It aims to provide enhanced biophilic surroundings, as an inherent part of everyday routines. As work environments occupy a significant portion of our time, they constitute a design anchor and a planning strategy.”
All images © competitions entrants
TRANSFORMING THE URBAN LANDSCAPE COMPETITION
STUDENT RUNNER UP WARM YOUTH by a student team at Beijing Forestry University: Binming Huang: Main planner Sida Zhang: Designer and draftsman Lian Liu: Designer and graphic designer Zitong Feng: Designer and draftsman Yuan Ma: Designer and draftsman
“Huitian District is located outside Beijing’s North Fifth Ring Road and connected to Zhongguancun Science City. It is a super-large residential area formed during Beijing’s urbanization process. Under the influence of the epidemic, the high-density community has brought huge challenges to epidemic prevention. How to solve the emotional alienation caused by the epidemic has become an important issue. We propose to use intelligent spaces and green spaces to “heat” our distance between different groups of people, make the connection closer, and improve people’s mental health.”
TRANSFORMING THE URBAN LANDSCAPE COMPETITION
All images © competitions entrants
Sponsors were invited to choose an entry that merited a special accolade. The choices are as follows. Details are available on the competition website.
SPONSOR ACCOLADE – VESTRE
SPONSOR ACCOLADE – SELUX
SPONSOR ACCOLADE – GROUND CONTROL
MY THIRD PLACE
A TREE FOR ME
NO CAR PARKS
SPONSOR ACCOLADES – HARDSCAPE
SPONSOR ACCOLADES – HARDSCAPE
SPONSOR ACCOLADE – GREENBLUE URBAN
CREATING A BETTER SOCIAL AND ECOLOGICAL FUTURE IN GLASGOW
NATURE WORKS – REDEFINING URBAN WORKSPACES AS A FRAMEWORK FOR WELL-BEING IN EVERYDAY LIFE
by Simon Hall at PWP
by Elizabeth Diakantonis
by Will Bindley, professional artist
by Kit Bowen, Rashmi Pai Dongerkerry and Gary Stodart – TGP Landscape Architects
by Ste Allan of Urban Green
by Shahaf Zakay – student at Israel Institute of Technology
Introducing ‘Patchwork Quilt’ Pictorial Turf
Find out more at:
Rich, Layered Colour
POLICY By Theo Plowman
The Environment Bill Following a six-month hiatus as a result of COVID-19, the ground-breaking Environment Bill has now passed its Committee Stage, and we are now waiting for it to be reported back to the House of Commons for its third and final reading, where MPs will have a chance to propose further amendments. The Bill outlines measures intended to protect and enhance the UK’s environments in a world without EU oversight. Initially brought before the House of Commons in October 2019, the Bill suffered delays due to Brexit and the General Election, and most recently COVID-19. The UK’s departure from the EU leaves an environmental ‘governance gap’. The Bill aims to ensure and maintain key EU standards, including measures to tackle air pollution, meet net zero by 2050, and restore and enhance nature. The Bill includes several provisions of interest to our sector: New green watchdog The Office for Environmental Protection (OEP) will hold the government to account on environmental law and its Environmental Improvement Plan. The proposed body will enforce its powers through a new kind of legal instrument, an ‘environmental review’, that can force public authorities to take action if a court finds they have failed to meet environmental standards. The body will also examine the worth of new environmental policies and investigate potential breaches. Environmental issues enshrined in law As part of a new environmental governance system, the Bill outlines requirements for legally binding targets on air and water quality, biodiversity, and waste efficiency. These new targets replace those under the existing EU framework, which the UK has frequently failed to match – even finding itself in court in May 20181 for failing to deliver on air quality improvements. Biodiversity net gain If enacted, the Bill will enshrine in law 76
the principle of biodiversity net gain. This would require a developer to offset and improve the value of any natural habitat damaged or destroyed as a result of development. Biodiversity net gain applies to almost all development in England, with 10% net gain to be achieved through a structured plan. National infrastructure projects covered by the Planning Act 2008, some small developments not requiring an environmental impact assessment, or those on brownfield land, will be exempt from the net gain policy. If a developer is unable to provide a 10% biodiversity gain in habitat creation, it must provide an offset on another piece of land, or purchase conservation credits from the Secretary of State. There are, however, some lingering concerns: Will regression be halted? As acknowledged, there is no clear wording that ensures non-regression – simply the requirement for a biennial review of international environmental protection legislation. There is no requirement to align UK law with these ‘developments. The Bill as it stands implies a level of scrutiny, without going as far as outlining any method of tangible recourse. This is of course a concern. The Landscape Institute (LI), alongside other members of the Environmental Policy Forum2, are continuing to press for the principle of non-regression from EU environmental standards. Will the new green watchdog have ‘teeth’? The OEP will replace the EU in holding the government to account. Worryingly, though, the body remains tied closely to the government. The Secretary of State both sets the OEP’s budget and appoints its leadership; will it be able to bite the proverbial hand that feeds it? Some clauses within the Environment Bill now state that the Secretary of State ‘must have regard to the need to protect its independence’. However, on 21 October 2020, an amendment tabled by Environment Minister Rebecca Pow gave powers to the Secretary of State to issue and revise
enforcement guidance to the OEP, including investigations into how a ‘public authority may have failed to comply with environmental law’. If ratified, this will effectively put the Government in a position to overrule environmental protections when it is convenient to do so. What next? The slow progress on the Environment Bill means the new Office for Environmental Protection will not be ready by 1 January 2021, a worry in the case of a no-deal Brexit. With current estimates suggesting it is unlikely to receive Royal Assent before Spring 2021, it is vital that the government prepares interim plans. Working alongside the Environmental Policy Forum, the LI will be pressing the government to ensure that interim arrangements are created on a philosophy of non-regression from EU environmental standards What the LI is seeking for the Environment Bill: The Bill needs to: 1. Be founded on a philosophy of non-regression from EU environmental standards, embedding environmental principles and protections that are at least as strong as those we enjoyed as an EU member. 2. Outline a clear, robust target-setting process, laying the framework for ambitious and clearly measurable, legally binding air, water, and biodiversity targets. 3. A ddress concerns over the OEP’s independence and its ability to enforce appropriate standards. 4. F ully implement a sustainability skills agenda, equipping young people and employers to deliver a greener, cleaner economy. Theo Plowman is Policy Manager at the Landscape Institute 1
ttps://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/ h may/17/uk-taken-to-europes-highest-court-over-airpollution https://socenv.org.uk/page/EPF
POLICY By Ben Brown
The Planning White Paper 1. Donnington Quarter in East London is designed by Peter Barber. © Paul Lincoln
The Planning White Paper, “Planning for the Future”, published in August 2020, set out the Government’s proposals for a “once in a generation” reform of England’s planning system. Response from the sector and the public has thus far been mixed. Launching the White Paper, the Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick set out how the reforms would both simplify the system and support recovery from the pandemic, while giving more emphasis to quality, design and the environment. The LI has responded to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) consultation, which closed at the end of October. In short, the White Paper proposals seek to simplify, standardise, and digitise the planning system, with the aim of making planning consents quicker and easier to deliver, and thereby speeding up the delivery of housing. Some of this is welcome: the vision for a principally map-based planning system (rather than the policy-based system we have now) should increase transparency, as should the drive for more digital and machine-readable planning documents. The proposals to raise the standard of design are mostly positive, and it is exciting to see design back up the political agenda for the first time in a decade. Although, using this as a vehicle to introduce more permitted development rights (the so-called “fast track for beauty”) is a disappointing example of Government ignoring its own research1, which found in July 2020 that PD rights achieve exactly the opposite effect. Elsewhere, there are grand undetailed proposals for a new Sustainability Appraisal system and a reform of Environmental Impact Assessment – which sound exciting/ worrying (delete depending on your level of pessimism). Likewise, proposals to scrap Section 106 and the Community Infrastructure Levy are mooted, with a single replacement levy. This will only be successful if it delivers more money for local green infrastructure, including its maintenance, which isn’t yet guaranteed.
There are some proposals which are much more obviously concerning, and which the LI will be advocating to change. For example, the proposals to standardise all Local Plan policies would reduce the ability of local authorities to set locally specific expectations for new development, or to raise standards above a minimum floor. The current planning system remains unchanged for now, with all its current strengths and weaknesses still apparent. As the LI said in its response: “The foremost challenge for planning is climate change: mitigating it and adapting places to its effects. If the planning system is not in service to addressing climate change, it is not fit-for-purpose. This means building in the right place, with low-carbon materials, and designing places that
are green, resilient, dense, and walkable.” There are upcoming Government consultations on various aspects of this, including a National Planning Policy Framework rewrite and a new National Model Design Code. Keep an eye on our weekly Vista newsletter for more info. Our full response to the Government’s detailed proposals can be found on the LI website. Ben Brown is the Head of Policy and Insight at the Landscape Institute
Save the date: Upcoming events in 2021 Stay up to date with our range of webinars and CPD events.
CPD event: Health, Wellbeing and Place: How landscape delivers positive change 27 – 29 January, Online Discuss how landscape underpins public health and wellbeing and learn what are benefits of green infrastructure for healthier communities. https://health-wellbeing-andplace.eventbrite.co.uk
Webinar: Technology, People & Place: Utilising tech to engage people across generations 2 February, 11am – 12pm, Online This session will explore real case studies that prove that technology can be great! https://technology-peopleand-place.eventbrite.co.uk
Webinar: Inclusive play in natural environments 16 February, 11am, Online This interactive session will explore what we mean by natural and inclusive play and consider how we can design to take into consideration all six senses in play. https://inclusive-play-innatural-environments. eventbrite.co.uk
Webinar: The Landscape of Outdoor Learning – A response to the 11400h EY Expansions 17 February, 12pm – 1:30pm, Online Explore the benefits of well-designed, nature based playgrounds in Early Years outdoor learning & child development. https://the-landscapeof-outdoor-learning-eyexpansions.eventbrite.co.uk
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Join us live or catch up on LI Campus, the LIâ€™s online training and events platform. Follow the links to find out more.
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Vestre: Materials matter with Vestre 30 March 2021 Romy Rawlings UK Commercial Director, Vestre With over 40% of global carbon emissions being emitted by the construction industry, we all have a part to play in minimising the impact of the materials we specify for our projects. For instance, concrete is the source of around 8% of the world’s CO2 emissions; steel is responsible for approx. 7%. If these industries were countries, they would closely follow the USA and China in terms of their damaging global impact. Those who specify hard landscape materials need a technical understanding of the impact of their specifications upon embodied carbon, whole life CO2 emissions, resource use, ethical procurement, and other related aspects – all of which are important factors to consider when weighing up any potential product or material for a project. Life cycle analysis – cradle to cradle - is vital to ensure a truly sustainable approach where all manufacturing impacts are assessed and fully considered. It’s important to ensure a holistic focus on every aspect of specification since an imbalanced approach – for instance a fixation only on embodied CO2 or recycled materials – can lead to damaging impacts in other, related, areas. This balanced approach is supported by a product Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) or Environmental Product Declaration (EPD), as certified by bodies such as the Nordic Swan Ecolabel Vestre’s product demonstration session comprises a consideration of the key materials used in the production of our outdoor furniture, along with a review of physical samples including steel, aluminium, weathered steel, timber, powder coating etc. Detailed technical specification information on each is discussed, with an emphasis on the importance of understanding both CO2 and the broader EPD. Information about common manufacturing methods (including welding and hot dip
Vectorworks: Workflows 16 March 2021 Katarina Ollikainen Landscape Industry Specialist, Vectorworks UK We always come back to workflows. It doesn’t matter how many cool tools and tricks you have if you can’t put them together in a good workflow. This is where the magic happens, and where things suddenly make sense. I’m not talking about a cookie-cutter approach where you precariously follow every step of a recipe, but more of a way to look at the desired outcome and create a map to get there. The last webinar in our series will tie together the pieces we looked at earlier – BIM, GIS and 3D modelling – and how to make the most of the amazing resources available. We will follow a small project from start to IFC export and focus on how to make it flow – how to set it up for what you need to produce further down the line. However, we want to do this with a very specific angle in mind. Today, Ecology is sorely underrepresented in BIM, and this must change. It has to be part of the design process from the start, not an afterthought towards the end of a project. We’ll look at what Landmark can do to further this, especially with the power of GIS. It’s quite interesting when you start looking at GIS: it’s not so much a new tool but more a new background to work from, and it’s the link between the real world and our model. With the ability to combine the National Grid (Northing and Easting coordinates) with GIS (Latitude and Longitude), you have a system that works for both worlds. A few places where GIS plays a (background) role are: • Your BIM project needs to be placed correctly in the world to enable collaboration – GIS will take care of this. • A tree survey is recorded on site and then fed into Landmark to create individual 2D and 3D trees, each and every one in its right place – GIS again.
galvanising) is also discussed since these processes have environmental impacts that should be considered. Simple and efficient recyclability at end of life is also an important consideration. Finally, to support truly sustainable specification, a focus is needed on management or maintenance that will ensure a minimal impact through a whole life approach. Since some 70-80% of carbon emissions result from the operational phase of a project, an understanding of the importance of both embodied and in-use carbon is required: a focus only on embodied carbon alone can give a misleading result. Longevity, durability and minimal maintenance are key to minimising both the initial impact of any product and ongoing resource use. Since the Landscape Institute declared a Climate and Biodiversity Emergency, it’s clear that many specifiers feel they’re lacking the detailed information they need to make informed choices around product specification. This demonstration will enable a more complete understanding of the questions to ask of suppliers of street furniture in particular, but the principles apply to any product. It’s time to demand more from the landscape supply chain if we’re to really make an impact on the current climate crisis. Get some tips on where to start from a company that has operated carbon neutral production for over ten years. Romy Rawlings is a Chartered Landscape Architect and UK Commercial Director for Vestre, a Norwegian designer and manufacturer of street furniture. Romy’s 25-year career has been based in the landscape sector, and she is passionate about the impact of good design upon those using outdoor space, believing that landscape architects are well placed to counter many of today’s global issues. Romy is a former trustee of the Landscape Institute and chair of the LI Diversity and Inclusion working group.
• E normous amounts of data are available in the form of Shapefiles, ready for you to pull into your project, and with GIS they’ll literally fall into place without © Kellogg Park | Courtesy of Pacific Coast Land Design, Inc. complains. • Your photos for verified views/LVIA have the camera coordinates registered – you then use GIS to precisely place a render camera inside Landmark to create views. The list is long and very exciting. So please join us for the third session of playing Vectorworks – this is where the fun really begins. Prior to June 2019, Katarina worked as Senior Designer for Ann-Marie Powell Studio for five years. During this time, she had the opportunity to develop the studios workflow and to introduce new ways of working with, and sharing, data in the design process. Her interest in systematic approaches to problems and workflows stems from an earlier life where she developed and wrote manuals for parachute equipment. Katarina is now the Landscape Industry Specialist at Vectorworks UK and in this role, on top of playing Vectorworks (she has been instrumental in product planning for Vectorworks Landmark), she’s involved in the continuous work on BIM implementation. The main focus is on collaboration and workflows – how can we exchange information in the most effective way with all parties involved, and how can we use all this when we communicate with clients? It’s all about people.
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GreenBlue Urban: Scaling SuDS Schemes – from microSuDS to Major Projects 23 February 2021 Howard Gray PR & Specification Consultant GreenBlue Urban have always viewed our role in the urban design industry as educators – carrying out countless presentations, exhibitions and learning days for a wide variety of disciplines. Our investment in teaching people joining the landscape and arboriculture industries has been important to our towns and cities, many of which have benefited from high quality, resilient urban realm schemes creating sustainable and pleasant places and spaces. The COVID-19 crisis has reinforced the need to provide the same level of educational support. GreenBlue Urban has embraced the digital age, and in particular is proud to support LI Campus. GreenBlue Urban have also focussed on providing resources online, with daily updates on the website; technical support, case studies and relevant blogs enabling all urban realm practitioners to keep up to date with the very latest in sustainable development methodologies. SuDS systems can work on practically any scale; from plot-level components like rainwater harvesting and green roofs, to very large schemes that include several SuDS systems working together. The impressive scheme in the Grangetown area of Cardiff is an excellent example, and one that GreenBlue Urban is proud to have played a part in. What options are available? Well, not all SuDS interventions have to be major. Small scale features are possible, for example bioretention rain garden systems that capture and cleans storm water providing amenity and biodiversity to new and existing spaces. The next GreenBlue webinar to be hosted live on 23rd February, will detail our latest solution the HydroPlanter – that can be retrofitted into
Jupiter Play: Technology, People & Place 2 February 2021 Inclusive play in natural environments 16 February 2021 Kristina Causer Head of Sales and Marketing, Jupiter Play Has the way children play evolved and does the landscape need to change with it? The topic of play is hugely complex and relates to so much more than the simplicity of a small child engaging in a recreational past time just for fun. In today’s high pressured world we always seek out the measured benefits of our activities and have lost sight of the wider topic of wellbeing; until the global pandemic hit. Pre 2020 there was already rising concern for our children spending too much time indoors, in particular; glued to a screen. This was exacerbated during the first lockdown, where families were confined to their homes and more reliant on the virtual world for learning and entertainment. The public realm in terms of green and urban space is now working harder for us than ever before. The pandemic reconnected so many people to the outside world, with every tiny pocket of space being utilised and new ways of exercising outdoors found. But it also highlighted huge inequalities in greenspace provision which came to the fore in “England’s green space gap” report by Friends of the Earth, the first comprehensive England-wide analysis to show the correlation between green space deprivation, income and race. Jupiter Play will be presenting a range of webinars over the following months that reflects on a number of issues that impact the play and landscape sector and more importantly the communities we as industries serve. We look at the world of technology and gaming and why it is such an engaging form of play. Projects such as the POD Squad in
highway schemes or developments of any size. The modular nature of the system means that it can be used on a single plot as a ‘microSuDs’ or combined to provide effective flood mitigation on highways or retrofitted into urban environments. Putting nature at the core of your drainage design strategy is key to adding value to any development projects. The solutions shouldn’t be restricted to holes in the ground. Trees play an important role in addressing flood risk. What’s more, combining microSuDS with other SuDs structures greatly reduces the volume of water that needs to be attenuated. So, it’s a win-win for any developer who takes a creative approach proposed by a drainage engineer who ‘gets SuDs’ Please do join us for a product demonstration and detailed webinar on how GreenBlue Urban can enable your schemes a success with numerous case studies and testimonials from specifiers alike. Howard is an enthusiast for successful urban trees. He has been planting trees in urban areas for over 40 years and is passionate about making sure that every tree has the same opportunity of realising its species potential. Understanding the many conflicts, both financial and engineering, with planting in our congested towns and cities, he can work with designers and contractors to achieve the best result. Having worked on a number of SuDS schemes across Europe, with both local authorities and developers, he is uniquely positioned to present the vision – enabling sustainable cities through the use of green and blue infrastructure.
Withernsea and the first interactive in London – Bollo Brook, will explore how using technology and interactive play create high levels of engagement in activity and play. But this subject matter shouldn’t be taken in isolation, the world of technology and natural play should be complimentary; in the seminar Inclusive Play and Natural Environments the absolute need for children to connect to the environment at a playful level is investigated. Children today have gone through some of the most challenging times in their childhood. We must take this opportunity to learn from this and move beyond idealistic and nostalgic notions of play and play space design to create places for children and young people to feel they have a place in the heart of their community. Kristina has been creating playful environments for over 16 years, working in partnership with Local Authorities and Landscape architects across the UK and for a while in Sweden too! Passionate about the right for all children to play, Kristina was one of the founding authors of the PiPA (Plan Inclusive Play Areas) toolkit; a publication to help guide better inclusive design, now widely used in the procurement process in the UK. Kristina now leads the Innovation Hub of research and creative development within Jupiter Play, tackling key issues such as sustainability in the supply chain as well as championing the Sustainable Shoots programme at Jupiter Play.
Jupiter Play: Technology, People & Place – 2 February 2021: https://technology-people-and-place.eventbrite.co.uk Jupiter play: Inclusive play in natural environments – 16 February 2021: https://inclusive-play-in-natural-environments.eventbrite.co.uk
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Hardscape: Collaborating with Artists in the Public Realm and Placemaking Pioneers 19 January 2021 Mathew Haslam, Managing Director, Hardscape This webinar offers an insight into how artists working in the public realm express their placemaking aspirations, bringing creativity and physical narratives to place through cultural, social and heritage-led contexts, and looking how that journey is developed with research, sampling, material selection and most importantly, creative collaboration. This is an opportunity to get behind the scenes of placemaking projects and understand the vision of the artist, from initial design concepts to implementation, including the challenges of material choice, logistics, value engineering and client discussions, through to final installation. Public art is freely accessible to everyone and anyone. It is often a reflection on society and can intentionally or indirectly determine a sense of place through its response to a particular site. It can be an all-encompassing communal activity and public engagement, reaching a wide variety of people. It can be inspiring, stimulating, divisive and challenging, but can also help invigorate all sections of a community. Traditionally, public art provided a legacy of monuments, memorials, civic statues and sculptures commemorating or celebrating historic events and people. More recently, the scope of public art has expanded, contributing to placemaking through embedded interpretation in the landscape design or via fleeting activities such as performance, dance, theatre, and ephemeral installations. Street art, including murals and graffiti, whether permanent or temporary, also embraces political themes and social protest, adding energy and dynamism to the public realm.
Peabody Launches Green Infrastructure Framework 18 February 2021 Phil Askew Director of Landscape and Placemaking We’ve recently launched our Green Infrastructure Framework – ‘Living in the Landscape’ – which captures our strategic approach to managing and utilising the unique blue and green spaces of Thamesmead. ‘Living in the Landscape’ is about making the most of Thamesmead’s unique natural assets. Peabody owns 65% of the land, which includes: 240 hectares of parks and green space; 7km of canals; five lakes; 5km of river frontage and 30,000 trees. The framework sets out five themes: 1. T he big blue – to see the full potential of Thamesmead’s lakes and canals realised. 2. W ilder Thamesmead – maintaining and creating habitat for wildlife. 3. A productive landscape – the landscape is used to educate, from outdoor classrooms to learning environmental skills such as food growing. 4. A ctive Thamesmead – enjoying an active lifestyle which improves people’s health and wellbeing. 5. Connected Thamesmead – improving the connectivity within Thamesmead and into central London. In a post pandemic world, we need to think differently about our blue and green spaces. These spaces have a crucial role to play – whether it’s improving connectivity so people can walk, run and cycle between different neighbourhoods (which in turn has positive effects on people’s health and wellbeing), addressing climate change or what the future of urban development and city living will look like. We are pioneering the way and creating a sustainable new town for London where people want to live. There’s nowhere in London with the amount of green spaces and waterways in Thamesmead – we have more than double the amount
Permanent public artworks can remain in the public eye for decades, and as such require skill and consideration in commissioning, collaborating, conceiving, creating, delivering, installing and maintaining. Public art and creative interpretation should be planned from the outset of any placemaking project. Artists should join project teams early to ensure their contribution has an opportunity to flourish. This two-way creative collaboration can influence the design process from the start, which in turn unlocks greater creative potential and tangible economic value to the project. Register for this insightful webinar and listen to the practical experiences of experts who have created and produced stunning, innovative public art for the public realm. Mathew is a 1980s geology graduate who formed Hardscape Products Ltd in 1994. Mathew’s desire has always been to encourage the use of raw geological resources, whether in an organic state, or shaped by multiple production techniques to realise aesthetic demands and functions. He is a passionate advocate of creative design especially in the landscape design sector. Mathew puts maximum energy into educating and informing others externally, whether a student at an early stage of understanding paving specification or professionals wanting to know more about hard landscaping material choice.
https://hardscape.co.uk/ iew on https://campus.landscapeinstitute.org/ V from 19 February 2021
of green space per person than the London average. ‘Living in the Landscape’ underpins everything we do within Thamesmead’s rich landscape. As a major landholder in the area, we’re invested for the long-term and we will maintain and enhance the town now and for future generations. ‘Living in the Landscape’ was commissioned by Peabody from a team led by LDA Design. Please join our webinar with Phil Askew, Director of Landscape & Placemaking at Peabody and Neil Mattinson, Director at LDA Design to hear how ‘Living in the Landscape’ was created and how we’re going to bring it to life. Dr Phil Askew is Director of Landscape & Placemaking at Peabody leading on Thamesmead, London’s New Town and one of London’s largest regeneration and development projects. He has a background in Urban Design, Landscape Architecture and Horticulture and leading on major regeneration and green infrastructure projects. Prior to this he led the design and delivery of the London 2012 Olympic Park at the Olympic Delivery Authority and its transformation into the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, the UKs largest new urban park in over a century. At Peabody a landscape led approach to the unique green and blue landscape assets of Thamesmead is ensuring they are central to the regeneration process and their potential as green infrastructure is realised. The green infrastructure strategy ‘Living in the Landscape’ has been developed to underpin this work in Thamesmead.
F or more information, please visit http://landscapeinstitute.eventbrite.com
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