Designing for gender equality Celebrating 100 years of women in landscape architecture

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2022 Issue 3 Designing for gender
Celebrating 100 years of women in landscape architecture
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Women and landscapea special edition guest edited by Jane Findlay

As we were preparing this edition of the journal, the death of Queen Elizabeth II was announced, and it made me pause for thought. The period of mourning and watching the historic news reels of her reign reminded me just how much our lives have changed since her accession to the throne during the period of postwar austerity.

Her reign of 70 years and 214 days – the longest of any British monarch – means she has presided over seismic changes in planning, design and construction in the UK, from the brave new world of architecture and the post-war rebuilding of Britain to the built environment’s response to the climate and biodiversity crisis. Now, the built environment sector has changed beyond recognition.

Queen Elizabeth II cut her fair share of red ribbons, opening numerous public buildings across the UK and the Commonwealth in her role as head of state. Many of us in the built environment sector will have met Her Majesty at an opening ceremony. Having worked extensively on public sector projects, I had the pleasure of meeting her on several occasions. The joke on site was that the Queen

always thought that all buildings smelled of new fresh paint, as construction teams would be working late into the evening before her visit.

At a time when men still wielded all the power, the young Elizabeth was a vital role model. It meant at least one female in official photographs. The Queen could never be described as a feminist, but her accession to the throne was a significant marker on the road to second-wave feminism and she was the ultimate role model for women - strong and dignified.

It is, therefore, appropriate that in this edition, dedicated to Women and Landscape Architecture, we look back at those women who have led the profession, assess where we are today and how we can break down the structural barriers that hold women back, and support women to achieve success in the future.

I would like to thank all of those who have contributed to this edition of Landscape. Let’s hope the Carolean Era is one where women can blossom in our profession.

Jane Findlay CMLI

Immediate Past President of the Landscape Institute

2022 Issue 3 Designing for
equality Celebrating 100 years of women in landscape architecture Cover
Raums (Score
image from Ringstrasse Concept
Aspern Die Seedstadt Wiens, Partitur
of Public Space) Gehl Architects, 2009.
Contents 4 Introducing the Women of the Welfare Landscape project 10 Celebrating the ‘not-seen’ Just 14% recognise women and none are awarded to a landscape architect 17 Blue Plaque Blues Immediate Past President Jane Findlay reflects on her presidency 20 A President for the unprecedented Investigating the Aspern neighbourhood of Vienna 35 Designing for gender equality Three practitioners consider the barriers to progression 44 The impact of gender on career progression Evaluating the transformation for women landscape architects 38 The changing relationship in Chinese landscape Why ‘New Lives, New Landscapes’ by Nan Fairbrother remains required reading 46 New life for a classic The importance of reimagining collective histories and mythologies 41 Reimagining the past Lynn Kinnear on her thirty-year career Advocating for Design 30 6 Reflecting on seventy years The ‘Elizabethan Age’ in landscape architecture BRIEFING: REFLECTIONS FEATURES Three past presidents discuss life, landscape and the future of the profession Past Perfect 25
FEATURES 48 Post-natal depression 52 Cultivating culture How Bradford is creating green and safe spaces 50 Seeing the world through the eyes of a child Amplifying female voices to create more equitable landscapes Making the world inclusive using landscape design CASE STUDY 54 Safer by Design Making our streets and public spaces safer for the most vulnerable OPINION 56 New models for running landscape practices The former chair of Policy at the LI considers new approaches REFLECTION 58 Access to nature - my life in landscape Personal reflections and a family picture album raise some big questions PRACTICE 60 Gender inclusive design EDLA showcases its work and philosophy RESEARCH 67 Improving women’s safety in public spaces A new report from Marshalls challenges the industry to make improvements RESEARCH 64 The Landscape Skills and Research Project Highlights of the LI’s new research programme 70 LI LIFE CAMPUS: Learn from anywhere 5


Reflecting seventy years of landscape architecture

It will take many years to evaluate the impact of the ‘new Elizabethan age’ on the built and natural environment. Landscape invited a number of past presidents to choose a significant moment.

1. In October 1981, Brian Clouston and Partners were invited by the Merseyside Development Corporation to lead the Riverside Reclamation Team. The official opening of the International Garden Festival was held on May 2 1984.

© Liverpool Echo.

2. Liverpool International Garden Festival ’84 guide, designed and produced by Brunswick Publishing.

2. 7
Liverpool International Garden Festival
4. 3
Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

Ministry of Defence Executive Headquarters at

© LLDC 4. Opening
© FIRA 5. A visit
© Thamesmead
Archive and London Metropolitan
6. RHS
of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park 2012.
of the Ministry of Defence Executive Headquarters at Abbey Wood, Bristol designed by Jane Findlay IPPLI.
to Thamesmead in 1980.
Back to Nature Garden at Chelsea Flower Show, 2019. Codesigned by the Duchess of Cambridge, Andree Davies and Adam White PPLI.
Adam White
Opening of the newly-designed Jubilee Gardens on London’s South Bank, 2012.
South Bank Employers’ Group
Jubilee Gardens RHS Back to Nature Garden at Chelsea Flower Show
Abbey Wood

Celebrating the ‘not-seen’:


An introduction to the Women of the Welfare Landscape

A major new Arts and Humanities Research Council funded research project uncovers women’s contribution to post Second World War landscape architecture and looks at the role of the women who helped to establish both the profession and the Institute.


2021 marked the 70th anniversary of Brenda Colvin becoming first female president of the Institute of Landscape Architects (today’s Landscape Institute), this year celebrates the 100th anniversary of the founding of her joint practice, Colvin & Moggridge. 2023 will see the 75th anniversary of the establishment of the International Federation of Landscape Architects (IFLA), in which Colvin also played an important role.

Among these milestones of the profession and professionalisation of landscape architecture, it is crucial that we gain a more thorough understanding of its history, and of the key people who shaped its development, including a number of female professionals whose contribution to landscape architecture in a variety of forms and practices –such as writing, campaigning, teaching, working in policy or professional organisations as well as design – is often ‘not seen’.1

While the work of key female professionals such as Brenda Colvin, Sylvia Crowe, Lady Allen of Hurtwood or Jacqueline Tyrwhitt are relatively well known, the Women of the Welfare Landscape project sets out to go beyond understanding their individual contribution, and instead aims to look into women’s collective impact on landscape architecture, both in terms of design, and beyond. As Sylvia Crowe wrote in a letter to Geoffrey Jellicoe, “team-work is the only possible solution in a profession that covers such a wide range of subjects, many of them requiring not only a different training but a separate set of capabilities, and a different type of mentality.”2 Collaboration between leading thinkers and designers in the post-war period was manifested in a variety of different ways. In their book Women and the Making of Built Space

in England, Darling and Whitworth argue that “the mythologization of the design process”3 and the focus on the design product hides the contribution of many other thinkers and actors. Writers, campaigners and educators get much less attention, than their successful contemporaries with design careers. In this short introduction to this ongoing research project, the focus will be on collaboration within and beyond the field of design, to start painting a more nuanced picture of the ways landscape architecture can be practised.

In 1929, when the Institute of Landscape Architects (ILA) – originally the British Association of Garden Designers – was established, two founding members were female: Lady Allen of Hurtwood, at the time working as garden designer in collaboration with Richard Sudell, and Brenda Colvin, who by then was running her own independent garden design practice. Their vision for a changing, independent profession hugely shaped the discipline’s future, and their work through the Institute was a catalyst for this development. As Colvin wrote: “The wider applications of landscape architecture are those of regional planning. While the main work of members may be at present laying out medium sized gardens, we had to remember that our most important contribution to the life of the nation would be in the wider field.”4

Allen and Colvin both served the Institute in a variety of roles, including playing an active part in various committees and the Council, as well as Lady Allen serving as honorary VicePresident between 1939-46 and Colvin as President between 1951-1953. Soon after the establishment of the Institute, they were joined by other

1. Lady Allen of Hurtwood

© Modern Records Centre, University of Warwick Library.

2. Brenda Colvin

© MERL Brenda Colvin Collection.

3. Sylvia Crowe

© MERL, Brenda Colvin Collection.



visionaries such as designer and author Sylvia Crowe; designer, author and educator Madeleine Agar; landscape architect, urban planner and educator Jacqueline Tyrwhitt; and architect and landscape architect Sheila Haywood, then working with Geoffrey Jellicoe.

In an article for the ‘Your Daughter’s Future’ section of the Evening Standard in 1936, Lady Allen described landscape architecture as “one of the newest professions for women” and highlighted, that, “as in all growing professions that are not fully

1 Darling, Elizabeth (2020) ‘The Not-Seen’ https:// uk/features/the-notseen-ggz64

2 Letter from Crowe to Jellicoe MERL SR LI AD 2/2/1/25

3 Darling, Elizabeth & Withworth, Lesley (2007) ‘Introduction: Making Space and Re-making History’ in Women and the Making of Built Space in England 1870–1950 London: Routledge p. 3

4 Rettig, S (1983) The Creation of Professional Status: The Institute of Landscape Architects between 1929 and 1955. Unpublished manuscript p. 3 MERL SR LI AD 2/1/1/28

Dr Luca Csepely-Knorr

5 Hurtwood, Lady Allen of (1936) Your Daughter’s Future. 1. Landscape Architecture Evening Standard, Monday, September 21. pp. 24-25.

6 Interview with Sylvia Crowe. Published in: Harvey, Sheila (ed) (1987) Reflections on Landscape. The lives and work of six British landscape architects. London: Gower Technical Press. P. 34

7 Gibson, Trish (2011) Brenda Colvin. A career in landscape. London: Frances Lincoln Limited. P. 124

8 Jellicoe, Geoffrey: The Wartime Journal of the Institute of Landscape Architects. In: Harvey, Sheila & Rettig, Stephen (1985) Fifty Years of Landscape Design. London: The Landscape Press pp. 9- 26 . 22.

9 Jellicoe, Geoffrey (1979): ‘War and Peace’ Landscape Design February 1979 p. 10

recognised, a woman of ability and push must at first actually devise new avenues for the expression of her work.”5 Her comment and article in general sheds light on two equally important aspects of the profession shortly before and during WW2. Firstly, that it needed to establish itself through a growing membership, professional standards and education. And secondly, that women found many ‘new avenues’ throughout this process, without which the LI and the profession would look very different today.

Allen’s article describes the different educational pathways to becoming a landscape architect, including the route she and many other women took: training in horticulture. Lady Allen herself held a Diploma in Horticulture from the University of Reading, Brenda Colvin and Sylvia Crowe studied at the Swanley Horticultural College under Madeleine Agar (herself a Swanley graduate under Fanny Wilkinson), while Jacqueline Tyrwhitt had RHS qualifications. This background was significantly different from the majority of (male) members, holding qualifications in architecture or town planning. As Sylvia Crowe remembered, “most of our members were architects and/or town planners and to get them to realise that landscape architecture was a third different profession was not always easy.”6 With membership numbers being small, the idea to merge with larger, more respected institutions, like the Town Planning Institute (today RTPI) or the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) was a recurring question before and during WW2. In 1934 at the Town Planning Institute’s annual conference and summer school at St Peter’s Hall in Oxford, Gilbert Jenkins, himself a member of the Institute, recommended the merger of the two.7 Between 1943-1945, the next question – whether the Institute should assimilate with the RIBA – was dominant. As Geoffrey Jellicoe, then President of the ILA who led the discussions described it, “The choice was not easy. On the one hand lay security within a body whose prestige, expertise, resources and powers of

patronage were immense; on the other hand, a dangerous road of independence in a world where the Institute numbers were still infinitesimal.” In the description of the events Jellicoe recalled that “at the Council meeting prior to the decisive meeting the architecturally-minded majority favoured amalgamation and empowered the President to meet the RIBA special committee to inform them that the ILA Council had declared itself sympathetic; and to report back as to whether negotiations could begin.”8 The Council minutes and the other resources in the Archives of the Institute highlights two main opponents to the idea: Brenda Colvin and Sylvia Crowe, who were tirelessly arguing for the importance of an independent Institute to secure strong enough professional emphasis on the biological and ecological aspects of the profession as well as questions of large scale rural planning, including forestry. Retrospectively, Jellicoe recalled the contribution of the two women as a “famous outburst”, and that it was

“thanks largely to those two Furies (‘the friendly ones’ to the Greeks) that the warm embrace of the RIBA had been resisted.”9

Deciding to take the ‘dangerous route to independence’ meant a renewed effort to establish the Institute and the profession’s reputation. Building links with other professional bodies in the field was a key goal in this process. According to Geoffrey Jellicoe’s recollections, in 1946 not long after the decision by the Institute to keep its independence, at a council meeting, “Joan [Lady] Allen had popped up and said ‘let’s call an international meeting, and possibly have an international federation arising from it’. We all agreed – it sounded awfully easy – and the motion was passed.” Organising an international conference and exhibition wasn’t awfully easy. However, the ILA found an extremely capable member to undertake the task. Returning from active military service, Sylvia Crowe was asked to take on the position of Chairman of the International Conference

4. Wylfa Power Station idesigned by Sylvia Crowe © Luca Csepely-Knorr.

Committee.11 The conference and the associated exhibition was held in the London County Council’s County Hall in August 1948. After the conference a meeting was convened of the representatives of 14 countries in Jesus College Cambridge on 14th August where the International Federation of Landscape Architects (IFLA) was established. Not surprisingly, the presidential post was given to the British – as convener of the conference, and Geoffrey Jellicoe became its first lead. Brenda Colvin was nominated as representative of ILA, and Sylvia Crowe became Honorary Secretary. Crowe held the position for two years, during which time the constitution of the Federation was written and accepted. She stepped back after two years but had a seat for life on Council. In 1953 she was elected Vice-President, and was Secretary General between 1956-59 (while also acting as President of ILA).

Colvin, Crowe and Jellicoe saw IFLA as a key achievement, and in 1976, when the Institute was considering leaving the Federation, they strongly argued for it, when they stated that IFLA is “essential for us to break out of insularity into a very much wider world than that of our daily experience” and that the Federation is “a power for peace”. As they argued, the aims of the founders were “first, to promote understanding and knowledge throughout a war-shattered world through the common language of landscape; second, to raise universally the prestige of landscape in the public mind; and third, to enable member countries to keep abreast of world ideas”12 – a vision and dedication that could not be more important in our current global crises. As Crowe said in 1979, at the occasion of the Institute’s 50th anniversary, “We have contributed much, gained much and still have a vital role to play”.13

Maintaining and strengthening the independent Institute and its international standing was one way to establish a recognised profession, but education and educational standards – another key aspect discussed in Allen’s 1936 text – was equally important. Establishing educational standards has been a key goal of the



Colvin and Madeleine Agar were both members of the Women’s Farm and Garden Association (WFGA), through which Colvin – together with Jacqueline Tyrwhitt – launched a course to train female gardeners who could not afford tuition fees for horticultural colleges. The 6-month course specialising in food production started in 1942, and the collaboration of the two of them led to further educational projects. In 1942, Colvin started to teach landscape architecture in the Regent Street Polytechnic to architecture and planning students and Tyrwhitt taught the history of town planning. A year later Colvin started to teach surveying and drawing to Diploma students at Studley

Horticultural College for women, and also started to teach for the renowned Architectural Association. Her famous book, Land and Landscape was developed from her lecture notes. Here, she taught an intensive course on trees, as well as design studios and history of landscape architecture. The same year – most probably on the basis of their experiences in architectural schools – she and Tyrwhitt embarked on their next joint project: a book, that only two years after the first publication was already in its third edition. Trees for Town and Country described 60 trees suitable for general cultivation in Britain aiming to show them in different periods of their growth.

5. Evening Standard Article. Warwick University Archive © Modern Records Centre, University of Warwick Library

The intention was to help visualise how trees would look as they matured, for the benefit of professionals with no education in planting or horticulture but who might oversee strategic tree planting, including architects and planners.

Together they also organised a postgraduate evening course through the School of Planning and Research for National Development (SPRND) that Tyrwhitt was leading throughout the War. The SPRND course led to the final examination that allowed students to enter both the Town Planning Institute and the Institute of Landscape Architects, and Colvin worked as a lecturer there until the 1950s.

Writing about the legacy of Sylvia Crowe, Jack Lowe recalled that “Full training for the landscape qualification in the years immediately after the Second World War was not easily found. Only one British school offered a comprehensive course and there was no longer a pupillage system. For students already qualified in related professions and studying to pass the entry exams, the greatest hurdle was in design subjects – suitable tuition, books, and journals being scarce. It was in that void that the writings of Sylvia were eagerly sought; and they were highly influential not only among the emerging landscape profession, but in sending clear signals to the world outside.”14 If we add to this Peter Youngman’s statement, that Brenda Colvin’s Land and Landscape was a pioneer book which had an enormous influence in “spreading the wider view of landscape” whilst also considering Tyrwhitt’s many publications, like the Town and Country Planning Textbook and Planning and the Countryside, the understanding of their educational profile and their role in creating a common understanding of what landscape architecture is, becomes even more profound.

In her 1936 article for the Evening Standard, Lady Allen argued that “if it is left too exclusively to men, the rehousing of our people may result in towns where too little regard is paid to those whose lives are spent in the home”, and that “for those who can succeed, it is a profession which is not only one of the most delightful in the


world, but one that offers a great contribution to the happiness of mankind.”

Brenda Colvin, Sylvia Crowe, Lady Allen of Hurtwood, Jacqueline Tyrwhitt and their collaborators continued to advocate for the profession of landscape architecture throughout their careers. Brenda Colvin designed landscapes across the country at every scale from private gardens to power stations and New Towns. She went into partnership with Hal Moggridge in 1969, establishing Colvin & Moggridge, which is the longest running landscape practice in the country today, with a greatly varied portfolio of projects.

Sylvia Crowe authored several books, and also ran a successful design practice as well as working closely with the Forestry Commission. She co-authored her last book with landscape architect Mary Mitchell.

Lady Allen’s work and advocacy for children’s welfare and adventure playgrounds saw her to become an important member of the International Playground Association, as well as working with the UN. Her many books and articles as well as talks benefitted hugely the development of children and children’s play.

Jacqueline Tyrwhitt worked extensively with CIAM, and taught planning and urban design in Canada and at Harvard. She was remembered as a hugely influential teacher as well

as someone whose organisational and editorial skills were crucial in the formation of international networks and publications.

Allen, Colvin, Crowe and Tyrwhitt collaborated very widely and contributed to the development of British landscape. While this short summary can only give a glimpse into some of their activities, the Women of the Welfare Landscape project will uncover their work and most importantly their networks in more detail. We aim to learn more about women’s agency and contribution to the landscape profession and understand more about how they contributed to ‘the happiness of mankind’ by creating landscapes for the welfare of all.

Dr Luca Csepely-Knorr is a chartered landscape architect and art historian, researching the intersections of the histories of landscape architecture, architecture and urban design from the late 19th century to the 1970s. She is leading the AHRC funded ‘Women of the Welfare Landscape’ project, and is Co-Investigator of the project ‘Landscapes of Post-War Infrastructure: Culture, Amenity, Heritage and Industry’. She is incoming Research Chair in Architecture at the Liverpool School of Architecture.

6. Drakelow Nature Reserve, designed by Colvin & Moggridge. © Luca Csepely-Knorr

‘Women of the Welfare Landscape’ is an Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) supported research project that commemorates the network of women and their collaborators who have had a major impact on shaping the post-war designed landscapes of the British Welfare State. The research focuses on understanding Brenda Colvin’s networks and collaborations and through these the wider questions the role of women in the creation of the landscapes of the Welfare State. The project aims to shift attention to the women’s role as educators, campaigners or advocates; and projects of the everyday: landscapes in service of communities. It will analyse landscapes of public housing, public and country parks funded by municipalities and landscapes of infrastructure commissioned by publicly owned, nationalised industries, as material examples of landscapes for social benefits and ‘fair share for all’: a key objective of Welfare Planning.

A travelling exhibition is designed to return the work of Colvin & Moggridge to the communities they designed for. By taking it to the universities in Edinburgh, Reading, Birmingham, Sheffield, Manchester, Belfast and London the exhibition will be a

Further reading:

Darling, E & Walker, N (2019)

Suffragette City: Women, Politics, and the Built Environment (London: Routledge)

Darling, E & Whitworth, L (eds) (2007) Women and the Making of Built Space in England, 1870-1940. London: Ashgate; Darling, E & Walker, N (eds) (2019) Suffragette City. London: Routledge

Duempelmann, S. (2004) Maria Theresa Parpagliolo Shephard (19031974). Ein Beitrag zur Entwicklung der Gartenkultur in Italien im 20. Jahrhundert (Weimar: VDG); Duempelmann, S. and Beardsley J

freely accessible event allowing the local community, staff and students of each institution to engage with the research. The places to hold the exhibition were chosen to facilitate a discussion between the past of landscape architecture and its future: all of the partnering universities are centres for training landscape architects. Through collaboration with the Modernist Society, The Gardens Trust, the Garden Museum, the Museum of English Rural Life and Historic Environment Scotland, the exhibition will also feature in public galleries and spaces, such as East Kilbride Library, in the centre of Colvin’s first New Town project in the 1950s.

At each stage of the travelling exhibition, public-facing events are being organised in tandem with a ‘Show and Tell’ event to collect visual resources (family photos, postcards etc.) and memories of the landscapes of Colvin & Moggridge and the post-war period. The collected materials will be organised and publicised on a crowd-sourced HistoryPin archive.

Through a series of widely accessible online and blended public symposia organised in collaboration with educational charities such as the Society of Architectural Historians of Great Britain (SAHGB), TGT and

[eds.] (2015) Women, Modernity and Landscape Architecture (London: Routledge)

Gibson, T (2011) Brenda Colvin: A career in landscape (London: Frances Lincoln Publishers).

Mozingo, A and Jewell L. (eds) (2012) Women in Landscape Architecture: Essays on History and Practice (London: McFarland & Co)

Powell, W. & Collens, G. (eds) (2000) Sylvia Crowe (London: The Landscape Design Trust)

Shoshkes, Ellen (2013) Jaqueline

Tyrwhitt: A Transnational Life in Urban Planning and Design (London: Routledge) Way, T. (2009) Unbounded Practice.

international research networks such as the Women in Danish Architecture Project, ‘Women of the Welfare Landscape’ will widen the discussions to involve international audiences.

In partnership with the LI, a series of online CPD events will be organised to help students and academics, as well as chartered members of the Institute, to gain a better understanding of methodological and theoretical questions for researching post-war Welfare Landscapes.

If you would like to learn more about our activities, please follow us on:

Twitter: @WomenWLandscape Instagram: @women.welfare.landscape HistoryPin: women-of-the-welfare-landscape/ pin/1173722/

We would like to hear about projects, memories, photos etc. that you think might be relevant to this project. Please do get in touch with us through

Women and Landscape Architecture in the Early Twentieth Century (Charlottesville & London: University of Virginia Press)

Campaigns and projects: ‘Women Taking the Lead’ campaign by The Cultural Landscape Foundation:

MOMOWO: Women’s creativity since the modern movement 1918-2018 http://www.momowo.polito. it/#3/17.39/-3.25

Women in Danish Architecture project https://www.womenindanish


the mark of a good landscape scheme is where you cannot readily see where the landscape architect had been at work.

Blue Plaque Blues

In 2018, Blue Plaques were turned down for Dame Sylvia Crowe and Branda Colvin. If successful, the plaques would have been placed on the office that they had shared in Marylebone in west London.

Blue Plaques in London have been awarded by English Heritage since 1986 (previously they were awarded by the Royal Society of Arts, London County Council and Greater London Council). The scheme started in 1866 and has been replicated with similar schemes across the country. Outside London, local authorities and civic societies across the UK award Blue Plaques, some schemes of which are registered with English Heritage, such as the Gateshead scheme.

In London, the Blue Plaque scheme identifies the buildings in

which ‘notable figures’ from the past lived and worked. Key criteria for proposing a Blue Plaque are that twenty years must have passed since the candidate’s death, at least one building associated with the nominee must exist within Greater London (barring the City of London, which has its own scheme) and in a form that the nominee would recognise, as well as being visible from a public highway.

The Blue Plaque scheme welcomes proposals from the public, which are then considered by their Panel. The current Panel is made up of 11 individuals who will consider proposals, though from cursory research it is unclear whether an English Heritage staff team assess and shortlist nominations in advance of the Panel seeing them. The proposal forms ask for information about the ‘the life and achievements of the person’ being proposed, as well as why the proposer believes ‘this person deserves a plaque, and how they meet the following selection criteria’.

The selection criteria cover the nominee’s contribution to human welfare and happiness;

their exceptional impact in terms of public recognition; and the grounds for their being regarded eminent and distinguished by a majority of members of their own profession or calling. And in items one and two of this list lies the rub for a landscape architect.

It is both the point and the frustration of the vast majority of landscape architects’ work that, at its best, it does not call attention to itself and therefore their work is highly unlikely to meet the condition of public recognition. Not for the landscape architect, the edifice that reaches to the sky or that shimmers with endless panes of glass. Instead, in Sylvia Crowe’s own words, “the mark of a good landscape scheme is where you cannot readily see where the landscape architect had been at work.” Furthermore, “we are trying to make a land which people can enjoy, a land, too, where wildlife can flourish.”1

The impact of these two landscape architects on the built environment and on the profession is not in doubt. However, for the wider public, the breadth and scope of their work,

Just 14% of Blue Plaques have been awarded to women and within this number, none has been awarded to a landscape architect. Sabina Mohideen

from private garden to townscapes and infrastructure landscapes, and their legacy in terms of thinking and practise, must be preserved and promoted.

However, as it currently defines value of public recognition, there is a long road to travel before these two truly extraordinary landscape architects get the respect they deserve with a Blue Plaque. Making your mark in a way that the public will confer fame and/or value is not, currently, within easy scope of a landscape architect’s work.

There are, of course, exceptions. Charles Bridgeman, Capability Brown, John and Jane Loudon and Sir Geoffrey Jellicoe all have Blue Plaques marking where they lived in London. While there is no ‘landscape’ category, they each fall under the ‘gardening’ one, with only Sir Geoffrey Jellicoe being identified as a landscape architect, and the others being associated with landscape gardening. This is problematic in itself – if the only way to recognise a landscape architect’s work is through seeing it executed within the field of gardening, how should work like forests, woodlands, reservoirs, and large infrastructure sites be acknowledged that does not fall within that category?

While it is impossible to know what evidence of ‘impact in terms of public recognition’ and ‘contribution to human welfare and happiness’ was provided in their proposals, there is a clear commonality across the work of all of these individuals. They all designed landscapes attached to the homes of the wealthy and landed gentry – in short, their gardens.

Even Sir Geoffrey Jellicoe, while not primarily known among the landscape profession for his work in this area, has the rose garden at Cliveden, St Paul’s Walden Bury, Hartwell House and Sutton Place listed among his key works.

Unlike the majority of open spaces that landscape architects design, in keeping with Sylvia Crowe’s maxim of work that does not call attention to itself, these grand places are designed to be admired, in craft and impact, even when using the artifice of ‘appearing natural’ to achieve

this effect. This approach is most humorously summed up in Tom Stoppard’s play Arcadia, when the fictional character Lady Croom says of her Brown-designed landscape ‘Sidley Park is already a picture, and a most amiable picture too. The slopes are green and gentle. The trees are companiably grouped…The rill is a serpentine ribbon peaceably contained by meadows on which the right amount of sheep are tastefully arranged – in short it is nature as God intended…’.

Aside from the attention-calling character of these landscapes, there is another aspect to why designers of these places invite notice and acclaim more easily. They are the landscapes we are biased to appreciate. In a previous issue of Landscape 2, I quoted Kofi Boone, Professor of Landscape Architecture at NC State University, who points out that “...we have an implicit professional bias toward not only European landscape, but privileged European landscapes.” I would argue, however, that it is not just a professional bias, it is a societal one. We are conditioned to give value to the gardens of a stately home or private squares of a West London borough in a way we would not dream of ascribing value to the functional, landscapes of a nuclear power station or the everyday landscape of a muchloved local park.

This is not to say that neither Sylvia Crowe nor Brenda Colvin designed for the wealthy and the prominent properties of the UK, or that Sir Geoffrey Jellicoe’s equally notable work that did not involve such landscapes were not recognised. But there is an additional hurdle that women have to clear. And that is the simple fact of being a woman at all.

Since the scheme’s inception in 1866 ... 14% of Blue Plaques have been awarded to women.

It has long been identified that women’s work goes unnoticed and, therefore, unrewarded. The traditional


2 Black Landscapes Matter pp.70-71, Landscape, Issue 1-2022


plaques-to-tellworking-classstories/ 4 https://en.wikipedia. org/wiki/Fanny_ Wilkinson

roles of care giving, child raising, and home making are all taken entirely for granted – unremunerated and most certainly not celebrated. Giving birth, dressing, washing, tending to the sick and vulnerable, cooking, feeding and cleaning were, and still are for many households, just natural facts of life that ‘happen’. The immense dedication, skill, commitment and practiced expertise involved is taken entirely for granted. It is work we overlook because it is so much a part of our everyday, and so vital to our survival, we default to thinking it happens naturally and requires no effort at all, much like the planning, design and management of our landscapes.

Even where women have blazed what should be paths of glory in fields, they have historically been kept from entering, any kind of public acknowledgment has been withheld. (Ada Lovelace anyone? Or Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson whose mathematical skills helped NASA win the space race? Not to mention potentially millions of others lost to history). And we see this again with the decision not to award Sylvia Crowe and Brenda Colvin Blue Plaques when they were nominated for recognition.

This 2018 decision is a matter or real regret and, as this article hopefully makes clear, the impact is that an opportunity has been lost to make a wider public aware of their considerable contribution to the profession, to England and society. While I maintain that there should be persistence with this, by reapplying when possible, I would also argue that it is time that we no longer rely on long-established processes and bodies alone to help tell landscape architects’ stories.

We now have more power than ever in which to ensure that legacies are not just recognised but made. Websites such as Wikipedia, blogs and podcasts and posts on social media – put power in the

hands of people to celebrate the individuals they decide deserve time and respect. Ada Lovelace may not be in the mainstream but has long been recognised through patient campaigning. Similarly, the book, followed by the film, Hidden Figures brought the stories of Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson at NASA to a mass audience. It was through a video on Tik Tok that I discovered that Hedy Lamarr was an inventor, whose work is incorporated into Bluetooth and GPS technology, including the invention of WiFi.

We can wait for the Blue Plaques scheme to catch up with what the landscape profession knows about the value of celebrating Sylvia Crowe and Brenda Colvin but we can also ensure that while we wait, their story, and that of other brilliant people are told in a variety of public-facing ways.

And there is hope here. This year, when the Blue Plaque scheme ‘aims to tell the stories of London’s working class with its 2022 awards’3 Fanny Wilkinson will be recognised as Britain’s first professional female landscape gardener. Her achievements include public gardens across London – she served as landscape gardener to the Kyrie Society, which aimed to ‘bring beauty to the lives of the poor’.4 While perhaps a patronising sentiment, there is no doubt that it is wonderful to celebrate the practice of someone whose work had its greatest impact on those without financial advantage and privilege. Someone extraordinary, using their skill and creativity to create public benefit for the ordinary. Someone just like Sylvia Crowe and Brenda Colvin.

Sabina Mohideen is a freelance programme manager, with a background in EDI, events and change management.

Since the scheme’s inception in 1866 ... 14% of Blue Plaques have been awarded to women.


A President for the unprecedented

It’s strange to think that three years have passed. So much has happened and how different the world was when we gathered for the LI-90 Festival of Ideas at the Olympic Park, where Dr Wei Yang, the then RTPI Vice President, announced that I would be the next President Elect.

I remember being thrilled: thrilled that so many women had stood for election, after research had shown a widening gulf between male and female leaders in the profession. Thrilled that more members had voted than at any election since 2011. And thrilled that those members had put their faith in me. It gave me a deep sense of responsibility to do my best.

Back when I was campaigning to become President, I could never have foreseen what the next three years would bring. It has been unprecedented on so many fronts. Of course, we were all wise previously to the challenges we faced and that we still face today - in particular those of

climate change and biodiversity loss (in fact, the temperature outside whilst I’m writing this article has reached a staggering 39 degrees). The relationship between human health and nature was a guiding principle of my manifesto – looking at the evershifting relationship between health and nature, and how we can turn our cities into places where both can thrive. The fact is that designing healthy places for people is not just a nice idea, but an achievable reality. In order to be elected, I prepared a manifesto outlining the issues that I believe were important to our profession; the balance of the built environment and nature; the relevance

Immediate Past President and guest editor of this edition of the journal reflects on her presidency. Jane Findlay 1. Working from home during lockdown © Phil Champion

of our profession; skills; encouraging young people to join us; developing role models and leaders to champion our profession; support for our registered practices; and growing a strong supportive and modern professional Institute.

This is how I truly believe our profession can march in from the verges and take a leading role in delivering infrastructure. It’s the key intersection between the art and science of landscape: between the intangible and the tangible; the expressive and the evidenced; the beautiful and the biophilic. It’s what has underpinned my every agenda priority: the knowledge that with a strong, skilled, supported workforce, we are the profession best equipped to build a world where human health and environmental health could co-exist. Little did I know when I was elected how important the topic of health would become. COVID hit, lockdown came, and just like that, everything I’d expected of the coming two years was out the ‘attic window’. But had the vision really changed?

I’d wanted to improve the LI’s influence and relevance. When COVID gave us uncontested proof of just how valuable green spaces are to people, our work became more important than ever. I’d also wanted to improve diversity and inclusion in landscape. When COVID highlighted such stark inequality of access to nature, it

became immediately clear that the people who plan and design our public places need to champion, and represent, all the communities we serve.

I’d also wanted to build a strong and supportive LI. When the business, learning, and welfare pressures of life under lockdown became apparent, it was clear the LI had to do everything we could to support our members through a difficult time.

The status quo shifted –dramatically – but the goals remained the same. My time as ‘Lockdown President’ is unprecedented and the way I had to work changed along with everyone else. It has been a challenging two years, adapting to these new ways of working with new colleagues from the LI team working remotely and connecting virtually with the membership. Conducting my formal role of chairing Board of Trustees and Advisory Council has been more challenging, those adhoc conversations and the relationshipbuilding we take for granted when meeting in person is more difficult when we are working remotely.

If I had to do it all again, I probably wouldn’t do everything the same. But overall, I’m very proud of what we’ve achieved as an Institute in that time. We’ve created new opportunities for people to enter the landscape profession. Together with the Trailblazer group, the LI launched

Level 3 Technician apprenticeship and is working with delivery partners on the Level 7 Landscape Professional apprenticeship, both a fantastic way to future-proof the landscape sector.

We’ve transformed our digital offering overnight to deliver CPD, networking events, Pathway to

Chartership exams, and more online. We’ve held two fully online Awards ceremonies – and by making them free and accessible to all, massively broadened the scope of how we showcase the very best of our wonderful profession.

We’re returning to the Troxy this year to celebrate in person – but we’ve learned a lot from the past two years and will make sure people can continue to access and enjoy the Awards online.

We’ve produced landmark policy work, including our Greener Recovery paper and Landscape for 2030, that demonstrate to decision makers the enormous benefits that landscape-led projects bring.

COVID has had a huge influence on the way I have been able to perform my role and responsibilities, it has also presented many opportunities. My presidency is perhaps not as dramatic as others have been, but I may have been more visible than previous presidents and I have been able to really focus on the message, the link between healthy places and healthy people. The digital world has made the President more accessible to members through online conferences, webinars and digital coffee mornings than ever before, it is one of the positive outcomes of COVID and I have enjoyed meeting so many of you.

The LI CPD conferences in digital format have attracted a formidable list of influential speakers and have

2. Design for Planet event at COP26 © Design Council 3. Panel discussion at the President’s Reception in May 2022.
© Ron Gilmour
2. 3.

probably been one of the more enjoyable and exciting parts of my role as president. I have been privileged to share the company of some very impressive women, including Dame Fiona Reynolds (former DG of the National Trust), Baroness Brown of Cambridge (member of the House of Lords and chair of the Climate Change Committee’s Adaptation SubCommittee), Carolyn Steel (architect and author) and Kotchakorn Voraakhom (Thai landscape architect and influencer).

I like to be on the front foot, so for each conference I will carefully prepare

with a morning coffee just as we go live, posters falling off the wall, internet outage, speakers dropping offline and having to adlib, or our recently adopted dog performing ‘zoomies’ behind me. I have learnt so much during my tenure as LI President, it is the best CPD I have ever done, and it’s been great fun!

As soon as the world opened up last September, I took every opportunity to speak at conferences, sit on panels and chair in-person events to champion our profession. The LI went to COP26, where we championed the fundamental importance of an integrated, landscape-led approach to securing a sustainable future. We attended MIPIM and put green at the heart of the debate at the world’s leading property conference.

Smaller crowds than in previous years led to a different kind of MIPM experience with different priorities and successes. The published programmes were pretty much the same as they’d always been. By the time March arrived, the conversation had shifted fundamentally with environmental, social and governance (ESG) suddenly rising to the top of the agenda. Social value, nature-based placemaking, sustainable design were everywhere.

Investment and Infrastructure Forum as a partner at the Beyond Net Zero pavilion. The LI was also represented at the first ever Footprint Plus conference in Brighton, to continue making sure that policymakers and investors know the value of naturebased solutions. I spoke about the benefits and the importance of parks and green open space on national radio, attending industry awards to celebrate the best the sector has to offer. Meeting with CEOs and presidents of other built environment institutes enabled me to build relationships and emphasise the importance of professional collaboration to solving the challenges we collectively face.

Even through the final month of my presidency I continued to champion the relevance of our profession as creative problem solvers, banging the landscape drum to the very end!

These last two years haven’t all been plain sailing – at times it has been quite a stressful and demanding personal challenge for me, for example working with three different CEOs during my term in office, would be disruptive and challenging for any organisation. Historically and in recent years the Landscape Institute has experienced a higher turnover of staff, elected officers, trustees, staff and volunteers, as well as a higher than usual number of internal disagreements and complaints on issues which relate to aspects of governance and operation of the LI.


by researching each speaker and formulating questions I think the audience would like to hear answers to. But things don’t always go to plan; the awkward entry of my husband

In fact, by day 3 it was all MIPIM News talked about, and we were on hand to have those important discussions with the decision makers, developers and financiers.

We attended the UK’s Real Estate

For the future of our Institute and the welfare of the staff and volunteers it was imperative that the Board of Trustees addressed the regularly occurring issues surrounding governance and member behaviour. We commissioned an independent review to ensure that the LI was fit for the future, to make us a more equitable and stronger organisation. Completed towards the end of 2020, this significant piece of work involved consultation with a wide range of individuals across the LI. It made recommendations to improve our ways of working and to improve longstanding issues that continue to hamper the work of the LI and successive presidents. I’m pleased to

4. Arit Anderson CMLI, CEO Sue Morgan and Advisory Council member Wing Lai CMLI at the Presidents’ Reception. © Ron Gilmour Collaboration with other built environment institutes - with Timothy Crawshaw President of the RTPI.
4. 5. FEATURE 22
© Ron Gilmour

report that the first phase of this work has been completed despite a challenging couple of years and many of the recommendations are now business as usual. There is a two-year change programme to deliver the more complex improvements to operations, strategy and more.

This last couple of years have been a wake-up call for humanity. Not only did we realise that nature was so important to us – we realised that human activity was so detrimental to nature. COVID changed how the last two years played out. But it didn’t change what matters.

No matter the crisis, no matter the variables, no matter the ever-shifting ecology of today’s world, human health and environmental health are the same. We humans are, and always have been, part of our biosphere.

Every negative effect we have on our environment is a negative effect on us.

The world needs planners, designers, managers and more who work with nature, not against it. Whose projects make a difference not just in one area, but across multiple areas. That is us, that is our domain and I’ve said it many times before, and I’ll say it again: our time is now. And key to our success is healthy collaboration with organisations in the built environment sector.

Anyone who feels that the profession has either lost or is losing its way needs to watch the footage of the online awards ceremonies. Many of the acceptance speeches were made by the younger members of our profession. It portrays a profession that is confident in itself and in its message. Yes, we still need wider recognition within the general public, but you are never going to convince people of your value if you don’t have a feeling of self-worth.

For the first time in my career, I feel that the profession is finally emerging as a force in its own right. What we all need to do is support the enthusiasm, vigour, and ability to see

things through fresh eyes, which is evidenced by our younger members.

The role of President is ephemeral, our time at the helm is short. I have merely scratched the surface and, with other challenges we have faced over the last two years, there is never sufficient time to complete the job. That is why continuity is crucial, driving forward the LI strategy and not losing sight of the goal of the LI to lead and inspire the landscape profession, to ensure it is equipped to deliver for the benefit of people, place and nature, for today and for future generations.

Our apparent difficulty in making ourselves heard and influencing is something that has long dogged our profession and will not change if all our efforts are channelled into regular “governance navel gazing”. It’s not what most of our membership want. They need a dynamic, modern professional institute that supports them on their career journey, that will champion our sector, grow our profession and ensure the highest standards.

We are passionate about our work, our profession, and our legacy but we are poor at self-promotion. Kathryn

6. 2022 Graduation Ceremony. © Andrew Mason 7. The LI attended COP26 in Glasgow working with Scotland branch chair Rebecca Rylott.
© Sue Morgan

Gustafson sums it up beautifully, “Landscape Architects are a shadeloving species.”

Landscape Architects need to become advocates. We need to ‘convince our elected leaders that this (landscape) is important stuff’.

So, what should we prioritise for the next 20 years?

Leadership Landscape architects are “generalists” in nature and have a broad understanding of climate change, social inequalities, the built and natural environments. We need to use this knowledge to work with allied professionals by leading and uniting teams to create greater environments for people. By becoming leaders, we will create and greatly improve the environments and places that allow everyone to thrive.

We should encourage and support the next generation, those young leaders and role models, through development and mentoring programmes to become leaders of our profession. They must be helped and encouraged to become involved in the LI and to stand for election on Advisory Council, an honorary officer role, or to volunteer for a position on a committee.

Political Leadership

We need a strategy for placing more landscape architects into the elected, appointed, and bureaucratic offices where the big decisions about how to

plan, design, and manage the land are made. This is how we construct a positive feedback loop between private and academic practice, which can bring invention and creativity, and government, which offers a tremendous scale of impact.


For landscape architects to become changemakers, we must change how they are taught. Landscape schools should create more opportunities within their programmes to: Develop the ability and capacity in students to engage in the political process to create change; understand better the language and systems of power; accept the responsibility of professionals as engaged citizens and as members of a democracy.

Build knowledge and capacity beyond the traditional core of the profession; engage in collaboration on research, teaching, and service with other disciplines; learn from how other fields generate, disseminate, and apply knowledge, and how they engage the public and advance their agenda.

Encourage more red-brick universities to provide accredited courses to cover all aspects of landscape.

Equality, diversity and inclusion

We are fortunate to work in a broad profession that attracts people from all walks of life. The gender balance of

those at the start of their careers has always been even and today there are more women entering the profession than ever before. However, there’s still a long way to go before women are represented equally at the more senior levels as practice principals and business owners.

It’s one of the LI Strategic goals, but we are not there yet. The LI must actively promote a profession that is balanced, diverse and inclusive, representing the communities we design for and which addresses the dearth of black practitioners.

Landscape architects and landscape professionals are holistic – we understand both natural surroundings and built environment, and the interface between them. With our skills and expertise, we are positioned to handle the questions of how we plan and design our urban and rural spaces the face of the monumental problems we face. Our contribution to society is pivotal and vital as we address both the built and natural environment. We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity for our profession to excel - landscape professionals “must become a sun-loving species.”

I’m truly proud to have served as your President. And I’m confident that, with passion, skill, and support, our Institute will continue to go from strength to strength.

8. Jane is one of the founding Directors of Fira with offices located in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter.

1. Jane Findlay, Sue Illman and Kathryn Moore.

© Paul Lincoln

Days after the Commonwealth Games, Jane Findlay, Sue Illman and Kathryn Moore, all past presidents of the Landscape Institute, met in Birmingham to discuss landscape, life and the future of the profession. Their conversation was recorded by Paul Lincoln.

Past Perfect

How did you become a landscape architect?

Jane Findlay (JF)

I was inspired by Dame Sylvia Crowe through someone I knew at the Forestry Commission. Although he didn’t suggest going into forestry – he thought it wasn’t a career for a woman – he suggested that I should become a landscape architect mentioning Sylvia Crowe, who worked for the Forestry Commission designing forests and large-scale landscapes. This ticked all my boxes with its combination of arts and science. I was lucky to come across landscape architecture before completing my A-Levels. I went to Leeds where I met my husband Phil who is also a Landscape Architect. He found a job in Birmingham, and I followed him to the city where I started with Percy Thomas Partnership, a large architectural practice, working on projects healthcare projects and schemes that were the catalyst for the regeneration of Birmingham.

Sue Illman (SI)

When I left school, I had a place at university to study law, but had second

thoughts and decided against it. I studied accountancy for three years, which, as I was good at maths, was OK, but I became bored by it. So, one day I went to a careers office and picked up a leaflet on landscape architecture. And I just thought, ‘that’s everything I want to do.’ It was towards the end of September, I called the university in Cheltenham on a Monday, went for an interview on the Tuesday, was accepted on the Wednesday and I started the following Monday, joining in week six of the course. I’ve never looked back.

Kathryn Moore (KM)

I had never heard of landscape architecture. What inspired me was being driven back from Manchester University one day by my father. We were on the A449, which is an exceptionally beautiful road and the landscape around it is extraordinary. I thought I want to do something with landscape. I had been planning to do a course in geography after completing a foundation course in art and design, but I found a leaflet that said if you're interested in art and you like geography, then landscape architecture may be the career for you. This led to me doing the master’s course in Manchester University.

How has the profession developed during your time as a landscape architect?

JF It’s changed profoundly since I started my degree at Leeds

Polytechnic. In the early years of my career, we often worked ‘for architects’, there were fewer landscape-led schemes and there were some master planning projects – we didn’t work as strategically as we do now. Information technology has completely transformed our world and the way that we work especially how we collaborate with other construction professionals. We’re also gaining the credibility that we’ve often looked for. I think we do have something important to offer that wasn’t recognised in the past. We are perhaps ‘a shade-loving species’ [Gustafson] as we rarely promote our work and talk about what we can do and how great an impact we could have, but I think our time is now. It’s not just about climate emergency, it’s about our existence, our health and wellbeing. If we don’t look after the planet, we’re not looking after ourselves. There is a danger that people think of themselves outside of the ecosystem, that the natural world just carries on without us. If we’re going to be healthy and comfortable, we have to look after our planet, our reserves, our natural resources. None of this can be ignored anymore.

SI When I first started, we were very much second-class professionals, asked to fill in spaces around buildings once the architecture had been designed. Today, a landscape-led approach is normal, and we rightfully have our place at the table. The majority of developers and their design teams understand and respect our approach these days. Now, we are generally allowed the broadest of scopes where its required. However, we still have a job to do in terms of selling our full skill set and helping the client to understand how much more they can get out of each of their projects, if they allow us the scope to show what we can do.

KM Practice is expanding beyond the purely technical. We recognise that working with the processes of nature and addressing climate the emergency are now givens in any kind of practice. We recognise that whether our practice is primarily concerned with ecological design, SuDS, urban design

Jane Findlay, Sue Illman and Kathryn Moore 2. Sue Illman in her fern garden.
3. Jane Findlay, Sue Illman and Kathryn Moore. © Paul Lincoln

Today, a landscape-led approach is normal, and we rightfully have our place at the table.

or planning, developing policy, or landscape management or any other mode of practice, it all has a spatial dimension one way or another. This needs to be shaped well, with care and expertise. What is created plays a fundamental role in shaping the relationship people have with the territory they occupy, work in, move through, remember or cherish.

Seeing the bigger picture is repositioning landscape practice beyond the provision of green infrastructure or blue infrastructure. The challenge now is of a greater magnitude – we are beginning to recognise landscape as the infrastructure upon which we all depend, culturally, economically and ecologically, a vital resource to be harnessed if we are to address global challenges effectively and at scale. Understanding the immense restorative capacity of landscape (in its widest sense) to support the green recovery, the construction and transformation of our cities is a fundamental part of the West Midlands National Park (WMNP) Awards being run by the WMNP Lab at BCU.

How do you think the landscape profession needs to adapt over the next 30 years?

JF We are generalists, which makes us very holistic in the way we approach our work. We have to realise that we can’t operate in our own little sphere, we have to be open to collaborations. I think we have to be self-sufficient and skilled; we are highly competent professionals with the confidence and the ability to be able to deliver highly skilled, creative work. It’s important that we focus on all the issues of climate change, biodiversity, net-gain, health, and well-being – all these have got to be streams that feed into our projects at all stages, which I think as a very diverse and holistic professional we can do, as we are good at pulling all these threads together.

SI We’ve always worked with the environment as a fundamental part of what we do. And now those messages around adaptation are being

heard loud and clear, and not only from us. However, we’ve got to be so much more vocal about what we do, and how we can effect positive change. We are all beset by issues around flooding and problems with water resources, and as a profession, we can make a major contribution to tackling this. We need to think about resources, the environment and how we’re going to create places for people that are liveable in our changing environment, and how within that context, we will monitor and adapt to deliver the ongoing change that we need.

KM The most important thing we must do is stop dividing nature from culture and thinking of nature as something that’s out there and that culture is something elsewhere. Natural systems do not stop when you enter the building.

Education needs to respond by encouraging the exploration of ideas, to encouraging students to constantly see the bigger picture, and to understand the role of economics and governance. One of the things I try to encourage students to take on board is to become political.

Addressing the challenges expressed through the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and the other guidance and commitments are a crucial part of our work. As a special envoy for the International Federation of Landscape Architects [IFLA] I was invited to co-author a policy paper “Roadmap to a Just and Regenerative Recovery” for the UN Habitat Professional Forum. Presented

at the UN Urban Forum in June, it is timely. Over the last two years, more than $1 trillion dollars has rushed into Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance investment funds in the US, according to the Harvard Business Review (2022). In the UK, investors are looking for suitable ESG projects. The significance of the HPF Road to Recovery is that it moves landscape more firmly towards the economic realm – and as we know, you’ll only persuade people to take things seriously if there is a clear understanding of its long term social, environmental and economic value. This is what we need to adapt to.

Tell us about one project you’re working on at the moment that really excites you

JF I’ve been working for a decade or more on the National Memorial Arboretum, the home of remembrance, and of the Armed Forces Memorial. It commemorates and celebrates the efforts and sacrifice that people have made for this country. It was the idea of David Childs back in the late 1990s. He was inspired by a visit to Arlington Cemetery and the National Arboretum in Washington DC, and wanted to create a year-round national centre of remembrance here in the UK. It’s in the National Forest, who provided the funding. We originally worked on the new masterplan for the site. Our latest project is on land donated to the Arboretum by Tarmac from their adjacent sand and gravel extraction works. It will expand the site by another 25 acres. Our plans are to transform the existing scrubland and silt pond into an inspirational and restorative landscape, where people can gather to reflect and contemplate the impact of the pandemic and remember loved ones who have died as a result.

4. Kathryn Moore.


Find out more about the National Memorial Arboretum

SI In recent years, I haven’t focused on design, but I have spent a great deal of time on policy work and training. So that’s really been the big focus of what I do, as well as coordinating a number of larger design projects. Sharing knowledge and trying to inspire others to understand the scope of what we can do has focused on water management, as this is such a fundamental part of life now. Enabling people to understand why we need to do it, and how we need them to engage with it, is so important. We see so much SuDS work which is just atrocious. Most of the people I’m training are civil engineers, highways engineers and facilities management people. By explaining the principles, and illustrating good and bad practice, we can help them understand what good looks like, and the important role of landscape. We need to encourage the professionals we’re working with to approach the job properly, to get it right, and to maximize the benefits for all. We’ve needed water management policy to change for a long time, and now it finally is.

Find out more about the Updated Guidance on Flood risk and coastal change published on 25th August 2022 flood-risk-and-coastal-change

KM I argue that redefining theories of perception, design, and landscape has implications far beyond the academy. My current work investigates the nature of these implications. The potential for HS2 as a social, environmental and economic catalyst

for all the communities along the route, builds on the work carried out for the Black Country Consortium in 2004/5. The study for North Warwickshire funded by the Environmental Agency in 2016 shows the relationship between the communities of the West Midlands plateau and the rivers and streams, the canals, geology and topography as a powerful connective tissue across the region that could have immense social and ecological benefits.

These projects led in turn to the idea of creating West Midlands National Park (WMNP), formally launched in 2018 at Birmingham City University (BCU). Having since built widespread support with institutions, authorities and communities across the region and nationally, it is a strategic project for BCU. Supported by Andy Street, the Mayor for the West Midlands Combined Authority and Birmingham City Council (recipients of a WMNP Award in 2021 for its vision, “Our future City Plan”), the WMNP Foundation is chaired by Dame Fiona Reynolds.

masterplanner and has delivered complex public realm projects for residential, infrastructure, higher education and biomedical sectors, and is particularly experienced in design for healthcare. Jane is a sustainability advisor on the University of Warwick Estate & Environment Committee and a landscape advisor for the National Memorial Arboretum.

A past President of the Landscape Institute and Honorary Fellow of both the Society for the Environment, and University of Gloucestershire, Sue Illman is a practicing landscape architect and a specialist in historic landscape conservation, with a long-term interest and expertise in hard landscape construction and planting design. Sue is a passionate advocate for Sustainable Drainage Sytems (SuDS) as a key element in sustainable design practices. She has extensive experience in both lecturing and the delivery of training about SuDS and also speaks about the wider subject of sustainability, of which water is a key part.

5. National Memorial Arboretum

© Credit

6. Topography, rivers, canals: the centre of Birmingham on the high ground overlooking the Rea and the Tame valleys.


Find out more about the West Midlands National Park

Jane Findlay is the founding director of Fira Landscape Architecture & Urban Design and the Immediate Past President of the Landscape Institute. She is an experienced

Professor Kathryn Moore, Former President of the LI and IFLA, has published extensively on design quality, theory, education and practice. Her book ‘Overlooking the Visual: Demystifying the Art of Design’ (2010) redefines theories of perception, providing the basis for critical, artistic discourse, and setting a new way of looking at landscape, putting it at the heart of the built and natural environment. This work informs her teaching, enabling a more democratic way of teaching design, equipping students with the confidence and skill to become designers. Her radical proposal for the West Midlands National Park (WMNP), based on over 25 years of research was applauded in the 2020 UK Government Review of Landscapes. Reimagining the region from a spatial landscape perspective to drive inclusive social, economic and environmental change, the WMNP is attracting considerable support nationally and from UN Agencies.

© Kathryn Moore
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Advocating for Design

Hattie Hartman (HH)

Why did you decide to study landscape architecture and how did you select the Edinburgh course?

Lynn Kinnear (LK)

I’m from Edinburgh so it was on my doorstep. My grandfather was a builder and he was quite keen for me to study architecture.

HH Did you come to London straight after you finished the course?

LK Initially I worked for Gillespies on the Liverpool Garden Festival and the reclamation of the Lanarkshire Steel Mills. They brought me down to London to work on master plans. When their master planning work dried up, I moved to SOM to work on Canary Wharf. SOM was a very disciplined environment and I learned a lot. I was paid very well and racked up lots of overtime. So I went traveling for a year to Australia, India and other places. When I came back, I worked for Jo when she had her first baby.

Jo Gibbons


While I was having Miles, Lynn kept the jobs going.

LK Then I took a teaching job at University of Greenwich and set up the practice. My first projects, were from

the London Docklands Development Corporation, whom I’d previously worked for at Gillespies.

HH How would you describe your USP when you first set up?

LK I wanted to work with local communities to effect change to their public space.

HH Even after all the large-scale master planning that you’d been doing?

LK I’d learned that that didn’t work. SOM’s accomplished Beaux Arts approach to master planning didn’t adequately address local communities. For me, the ultimate project was Norman Park in Fulham. Engagement funding had kicked in, and we set up

1. Brentford High Street - The reclad timber sheds create a light destination on the canal and advertise the history of Brentford as a crop growing place for London.

Recently appointed a Mayor’s Design Advocate, KLA's Lynn Kinnear reflects on her career and the challenges of juggling a demanding practice and motherhood in conversation with university friend Jo Gibbons of J&L Gibbons and Hattie Hartman, Architects’ Journal sustainability editor. Hattie Hartman
© Grant Smith

2. Walthamstow

community groups across the social divide and taught them how to be clients. In many of those early projects, we funded the engagement ourselves.

JG Engagement is never adequately funded. But you do it anyway because the deeper and the better you do it, the better the outcome.

HH How many people have worked with you over the years?

LK I’ve always kept it small, say three or four, because it’s a teaching practice. We bring in specialists, as needed. I like to employ people straight out of university and take them all the way through. I see teaching people as part of my role as an employer. It’s one of the things I really enjoy.

Andrew Grant working on large land reclamation and ecology-based projects – he was a year ahead of us. And Gross Max, which is Bridget Baines and Eelco Hooftman and the German and Dutch practices, like West 8 and their spinoffs. In the UK, there’s a tendency to think of us as an offshoot of architecture.

JG Either that or gardeners.

LK My last big project was 200 hectares. We deal with the landscape and it can be very large-scale. That’s what we’re trained for.

HH And also to look beyond the boundaries of the site.

JG We rarely get a brief that fulfills the full potential of a project. So in a way you are ‘clienting’. Most likely, you add on all the services that that you’re going to do anyway. Our code of conduct is to service the client, but also the environment. The paymaster is the paymaster, but the actual client is the community.

LK I take a curatorial role, which means delivering something appropriate and aspirational. Otherwise, we’d just be marking time, earning a bit of money.

I see teaching people as part of my role as an employer.

HH How has your USP evolved?

LK Initially we developed a reputation for working in the crossover between art and landscape architecture. For example, with Richard Wentworth at the Walsall Art Gallery, we explored taking over vehicular space for pedestrians. And we also piloted work with schools and non-territorialised play across generations: non-gender and non-generational specific play. Gradually, our USP shifted as we developed more strategic knowledge. Both Jo and I worked on the GLA’s ALL London Green Grid

JG In terms of USP, your character set the tone of the practice, which was: ‘I’m going to max out the brief and probably add a lot of stuff that you haven’t even thought about.’

LK Brentford High Street was like that. The strategic work for the GLA gave me confidence to challenge briefs.

HH Your website describes KLA as a small landscape practice with a European perspective. What do you mean?

LK Although we’re dealing with British landscape, the practices we admire are far and wide. That includes

JG To us it’s fundamental to align with the geology that underlies everything. What’s interesting is the ability for practices such as ours to work on a huge variety of scales.

HH You’re often a small practice in a consultant team trying to get across big ideas. How do you get your voice heard?

LK A project manager once told me that I behave like a client. I am quite tenacious and determined. You have to be judicious about when to ask a client for decisions and when things just happen because you’re doing a good job.

JG It’s complex and dynamic because we’re talking about ephemeral qualities. It’s not bricks and mortar, it isn’t static, it will grow and develop. And it requires people to look after it to nurture the vision.

LK Maintenance-free landscape does not exist.

JG You probably have architectural practices that you’ve built a relationship with because when a big job comes along, you want that immediate sense of ‘I know you, you know me.’ So you can put the bid together swiftly.

LK We have a very good relationship with Witherford Watson Mann. On Walthamstow Wetlands, they were sub-consultants to us. It was landscape architecture-led because it was about increasing public access to a sensitive landscape.

Wetlands – Increased public access to an ecologically sensitive landscape. © Penny Dixie

HH Are there other architects that you consistently work with?

LK We’ve worked with Henley Hale Brown and with AHMM over the years. In the old days, I did a lot of masterplanning with the Richard Rogers Partnership. That’s such a schlep across London just to go to a meeting. Sean would have to come with me in the car and hold the baby.

HH That’s a perfect segue to my next question. How did you juggle the messy relationship between running your practice and motherhood?

LK I found it really difficult. Whatever you do, you feel like you’re not being a mum properly, you’re not doing your job properly. Plus, Sean had his own practice as a director of FAT. They were doing groundbreaking architectural work so they got lots of press. It was difficult for me to fight my corner.

HH You’ve alluded to Sean’s work, and you still live here in Blue House which Sean designed in 2002 as a live-work home while he was at FAT. A provocative attitude shines through, particularly in its playful cartoon-like exterior. Did this approach find its way into your work? And how does it express itself in landscape?


LK Back then, I was interested in making landscapes which were objects like architecture. It was a reaction to the fact that we are so invisible, always background. Helling Street Park was about making an object with a confident identity as a place. I had lots of conversations with Sean and crossover stuff was happening.

When I get a brief, it’s always a challenge to be a little outrageous, for example Brentford High Street. The brief was for lighting bollards along the canal to link the Golden Mile of GlaxoSmithKline and Sky with the

high street so employees could walk down the canal safely. We ended up with a reclad shed and a marketplace renewal.

HH What do you consider your defining projects?

LK First Norman Park, and I won the President’s Medal for Brentford High Street. That same year we won the Stirling Prize for Burntwood School with AHMM. Also Drapers Field, a waved landscape that links to the Olympic Park in Leighton, Walthamstow Wetlands, Crystal

4. Burntwood School

– Careful site planning and celebrating the variety of tree forms as a key visual orientation.

I resist strongly if I’m given a project and the architecture has already been plonked on the site.

3. Lynn Kinnear outside her home The Blue House. © Edmund Sumner
© Timothy Soar

HH Tell me more about Burntwood.

LK The reason that we collaborated a lot with AHMM is they let us do site planning. I resist strongly if I’m given a project and the architecture has already been plonked on the site. Our major impact on Burntwood was site planning: weeks and weeks of moving the buildings up and down, adjusting the levels. It was a real juggle to get those buildings sitting properly in the landscape with all the correct gradients so that you don’t have horrible great big zigzag ramps, because there’s quite a fall across that site.

HH Why has landscape architecture maintained such a low profile? With the climate emergency, has its time come?

JG I wish there was a vision for our landscapes. It’s been over six years since the Brexit vote and there is confusion over ELMS, the English Landscape Management Scheme. Very little aligns across environmental policies and there is a real danger in the ‘growth’ agenda that the environment will be left unprotected. Climate change is the biggest challenge we face, where the landscape architecture profession can effect positive change. Developers realise they need to define their ESG and targets for biodiversity net gain over the minimum requirement.

LK The UK’s new agricultural policy opens the door to more tree planting and permanent rewilding.

JG Yes, it is about flood climate change adaptation, flood attenuation and nurturing the soil because some say that perhaps we’ve only got 40 harvests left, the soil resource is so degraded.

HH Too often architects are oblivious. It’s only about the building.

LK That’s because most sustainability and carbon zero stuff is about the building. But now, the urban greening

Palace and most recently Green Victoria
5. 6. 7.
5, 6. Drapers Field – A carpet of non territorialised play and an active walk to school in the Olympic Village. © Adrian Taylor 7. Drapers Field –Sign made from traffic mirrors.
© Ben Smith @KLA

factor has been introduced. Will it open the door for substantial improvements? Or are we going to piddle along doing a slight variation of what we did before? We have to think strategically, but we also have to deliver stuff. I’m a proponent of working both ways. We have to do pilot projects on the ground.

HH So Lynn, You’ve wound down your practice now and are no longer taking on new clients. What’s next for you in this new chapter?

LK First of all, I’ve given myself permission to stop completely. I’m

not taking on new projects but I’ll still do design review. I was recently appointed as a Mayor’s Design Advocate and I do design review for Harlow and Gilston new town and for Newham and Tower Hamlets.

I want to take stock and have a bit of space.

HH When you look back, what are you most proud of?

LK My daughter, Lily. And setting up the practice and sticking to my own agenda.

JG My boys are my best design projects. I don’t know whether it is because we are both mothers and women in practice, or whether it’s just that landscape for us is not just a job, it’s who we are.

LK Yes, I’m totally immersed in it. I view my staff as an extension of my family though I’m often quite tough with them. That toughness is about wanting people to achieve their potential. To unlock that potential in people is a really great role.

HH Are you happy with where you are or is there work left undone?

LK I’d like to think that there is a legacy that continues and that the new generation will work strategically in pivotal environmental roles. Landscape architects should use their skills to promote citywide strategies such as blue roofs that address flooding hot spots and proliferate wildlife, school playgrounds that double as nature reserves and streets as the linear parks of the future. It would be nice to be able to pass on ways to do that. Having spent my working life in a city context, I’m now interested in the design solutions that respond to the challenges in rural areas, for example the future of agriculture and the need to replenish our soils and the huge need for rewilding. I also think some of the emerging ideas in rural areas could transfer to urban settings for example how the natural signatures of London: its downlands, river valleys and geography and geology should be the underpinning ideas in repairing the ecology of the city…… perhaps focussing on the rural/urban fringe is an interesting way to explore this and I am hoping that my work with Harlow New Town will support more thinking about this.

HH It is a privilege to love what you do. Not everyone can say that.





landscape for us is not just a job, it’s who we are.

9. 8.
Crystal Palace Park – Celebrating the elevated concrete bridge of the NSC as a unique lookout point over London’s Southern Downlands. Green Victoria –Combining SUDS and play in the public realm to improve people’s everyday experience of ecology.

Designing for gender equality

Aspern Seestadt, translated as ‘Lake Town,’ is a unique and sustainable community in the suburbs of Vienna. The design process commenced 20 years ago, and construction will continue until 2028. In 2002, the former airfield site of 240 hectares was earmarked for one of the largest urban development projects in Europe.

Aspern will provide housing for 20,000 people and workplaces for thousands of people too. It has a unique design strategy set out in the ‘Score of Public Space’1 which illustrates overarching design principles such as: the city of short distances, priority to pedestrians and cyclists, high-capacity public transport, a network of paths linking to the surrounding areas and a circular boulevard or ‘ringstrasse’ as it is known in Vienna. What sets this development apart is that gender equality has been considered throughout the design process, through enabling local people to participate in the design process, to naming all the streets after eminent

female figures such as the singer Janis Joplin and the architect Zaha Hadid. This sets a clear identity for the community from the start which is confirmed by the developer’s brochure stating that ‘Aspen Seestadt has a female face.’2 It is these considerations of gender equality in the design of outdoor spaces that have so often been overlooked in the past but are crucial to the success of developments and for the inclusivity of all the population.

Aspern is currently in Phase 2 of construction, with Phase 3 starting in 2023. To date, the project has created a masterplan that, in the words of Johannes Tovatt, ‘creates streets and public spaces that are fundamentally

Investigating the Aspern Neighbourhood of Vienna. Amelia Russell 1. Aspern Urban Lakeside: Health + Leisure | aspern Die Seestadt Wiens (
© Daniel Hawelka

public, human, lively, intimate and secure.’3 The development has fulfilled the brief by delivering housing, offices, commercial areas, business, research facilities and a new train station, all of which combine to provide the ideal work/life balance for residents. Living space and jobs for all generations sit side by side, with city living viewed through the lens of gender. The result is a cohesive, well-designed place with prestigious open spaces, where it’s not noticeable that gender mainstreaming exists, but if it did not,

then it would be clearly apparent. The success of this development must be partly attributed to the ‘Smart City Vienna Framework Strategy,’4 Vienna’s strategy for sustainable development based on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, adopted by the authorities in 2014. Vienna is seen as a global pioneer in city development involving input from residents and innovation from businesses, technology, and research communities. The key objective of the strategy is the best

quality of living for all people in the city. The strategy states as part of the Smart City concept ‘Vienna belongs to women and men, and all groups of society take part in shaping it. This calls for the promotion of women, gender mainstreaming and gender budgeting.’5 This strategy underpins and sets the focus for successful and equitable developments like Aspen. Several other European cities have now adopted this model including Barcelona, Copenhagen, and Berlin.

Post 2028, when Phase 3 of Aspern is completed, the long-term objectives of the development will be to provide an attractive vibrant city with all the amenities of urban life carefully and sensitively planned to facilitate healthy and quality living.

Half of the entire area will be devoted to public open space, along with a 50,000m2 lake as a centre piece. This is a ‘model city within a city’6 where the public space provides for mobility, commerce, culture, leisure, and recreation. It is also proving attractive to investors and businesses who are recognising the adaptable and multifunctional nature of the spaces and buildings, this is demonstrated by the total investment figure of 5 billion Euros. It is a sustainable solution for business needs and will provide a total of 20,000 workplaces. Together, all aspects offer a holistic solution reflecting market and lifestyle trends to provide a robust and attractive mixed-use development.

As a Smart City, Aspern has achieved detailed but flexible planning, which will support the growing demand for city housing in Vienna with homes for over 25,000 residents. In 2005, the City of Vienna advertised a two-stage tender process for drafting a masterplan following an EU-wide advertisement. Tovatt Architects & Planners in collaboration with N+ Objektmanagement were commissioned to design the masterplan following an intensive evaluation process with 15 International experts. The masterplan was accepted by Vienna City Council in 2007. A separate public space design strategy was developed by the Danish urban design consultancy Gehl Architects, culminating in the ‘Score

2. 3.
2, 3. Ringstrasse Concept – Aspern Die Seedstadt Wiens, Partitur Des Offentlichen Raums (Score of Public Space) Gehl Architects, page 44/54, 2009.


page 76, 2009.

for Public Space’ which identified the important and harmonious role of outdoor space at Aspern.

In 2012 the detailed designs were produced by the masterplanning team for the northern section of Aspern, these informed the land use and zoning plan, road construction and the Environmental Impact Assessment. There have been several Landscape Architect firms involved in the open space detail designs and delivery over the years, along with a development corporation providing innovative project review, and a project committee supporting ongoing consultation work and overarching quality control for the project.

As a Smart City, Aspern has achieved detailed but flexible planning, which will support the growing demand for city housing in Vienna with homes for over 25,000 residents.

Underpinning this commissioning approach is the challenging work achieved by the forward-thinking City planning team since the early 1990’s. Undergoing rapid expansion at this time, the City was awarding many contracts, and notably no women had been invited to pitch for the work. Eva Kail of the City’s Strategic Planning Unit was concerned that ‘only men were defining the new structure of the city’6. In response to this, Kail invited only women architects to submit ideas for a social housing project where

designing for the everyday needs of women was a prerequisite design principle. This was to demonstrate that accounting for gender within the design process resulted in improved outcomes for the whole community. Several pilot projects ensued to demonstrate gender mainstreaming which culminated in the ‘Gender Sensitivity Guidelines’7 that have been applied to all parks across the city since 2005. These principles of gender mainstreaming now appear in everyday policy with sanctions imposed on those that do not comply. Aspern is a clear example of where the tool of gender mainstreaming has been considered throughout the commissioning and design process to deliver exceptional and inclusive public realm as part of a sustainable and innovative development appealing to all.

Amelia Russell CMLI is a Landscape Architect and Environmental Scientist working for the Environment Agency. She is a sustainability expert with wide ranging experience in consultancy, local government, and charitable organisations.


1 The Score of Public Space, Gehl Architects 2009 Partitur des öffentlichen Raums | aspern Die Seestadt Wiens (

2 Aspern development business hub website ‘Public Spaces: Strong Women and Street Names’ Public spaces | aspern Die Seestadt Wiens (

3 Aspern development business hub website, ‘masterplan’: Johannes Tovatt, master planner for Aspern Seestadt Master plan | aspern Die Seestadt Wiens (

4 Smart City Vienna Framework Strategy, Smart City Wien Framework Strategy 2019-2050 - Vienna’s Strategy for Sustainable Development

5 Smart City Wien - Framework Strategy Page 14, July 2014, Vienna City Administration.

6 Eva Kail, City with a female face: how modern Vienna was shaped by women | Cities | The Guardian, May 2019.

7 Gender sensitivity guidelines, Manual “Gender mainstreaming made easy” (

Research links

• The aspern+Seestadt Wien places emphasis on play • Playground@Landscape (

• City with a female face: how modern Vienna was shaped by women | Cities | The Guardian

• How Vienna built a gender equal city - BBC Travel

• Landscape Journal Spring 2022: Whose landscape is it? by Landscape, the journal of the Landscape Institute - Issuu

• Public spaces | aspern Die Seestadt Wiens (

• “Gender dimensions of product design” (

• Gender-focussed design and planning: building an inclusive public realm | Turley

• Smart City Wien Framework Strategy 2019-2050Vienna’s Strategy for Sustainable Development

• Smart City Wien_Framework Strategy.pdf ( ref page 9 smart city quote

4. Blue Side Aspern Die Seedstadt Wiens, Partitur Des Offentlichen Raums (Score of Public Space, Gehl Architects),

The changing relationship between women and Chinese landscape

From a historical perspective, the traditional Chinese landscape and gardens have gone through a period of generation, turning point, heyday and maturity in the context of patriarchal society, which means it was difficult for women to influence the landscape profession in the feudal era1. From the 14th century Ming dynasty, the traditional Chinese landscape became mature in art philosophy, but being confined behind the high walls of homes was the fate of most women – they were allowed to be the main users of the private gardens but without the right to participate in landscape design2. In the 17th century, private gardens became common educational spaces for women learning life skills and understanding the natural world. Enduring restrictions and confinements, women attempted to seek opportunities to break through the contradiction between social confinements and their own needs3

With a reshaped world and culture post war, the connotation, boundaries and scope of work of Chinese landscape have undergone great transformation. While women demand equal rights with men, the characteristics of modern landscape

appear to be a move away from distinction on grounds of gender. Rather than say neutral or equal, a more accurate approach to describe this is that the gender disparities have been ignored in general. However a positive trend for taking gender differences in account can be perceived, such as the industry pays more attention to encourage friendly work environments for females than previously4. To illustrate women’s leadership of this transformation, we have selected three female landscape architects as examples.

The first is Xueping Han from Rockery Han, which is an extended clan of rockery landscape artists and creators throughout the ages. As a prestigious master in Chinese landscape and gardens, Rockery Han has a history from the 19th century


Daoguang Dynasty. Since the traditional arts and craft families had a rule of passing on skills through males but not females, Xueping’s achievements can be seen as a milestone in breaking through the gender gap between men and women in the ‘inheritance system’ of Chinese traditional landscape and gardens. Xueping Han was born in 1964, Suzhou China, the fourth generation of the Han family. The first 12 years of Xueping’s career were in the Diaoyutai

1. Communal minigarden in Beijing © Xiaolei Hou

2. Head Office Tower of the Bank of China

© Beijing Rockery Han Landscape Architects Co. Ltd.

1 Du C. L.; Kuai C. The Garden Often See a Beautiful Woman— The Interdependence and Interaction between the Chinese Women and Garden. Chinese Landscape Architecture. 2014, 30, 11-14.

2 Liu S. S.; Huang X. Pursuit of Refinement: Women’s Education Shown in Chinese Garden Paintings. Chinese Landscape Architecture. 2019, 35, 76-80.

3 Zhou X. P.; Chen L. P. Freedom and Confinement: Women’s Use of and Influence on Garden Space in Late Ming Dynasty. Journal of Tongji University (Social Science Section). 2021, 32, 62-70.

4 Jacky B; Zhuang J. D. Where is Women’s Position in the Landscape Architecture Profession. Chinese Landscape Architecture. 2014, 30, 83-85.

Chinese landscape architecture has undergone a major transformation, not least for women landscape architects. Sha Li, Wei Kuang, Xin Yang

5 Xueping Han. Shanshihan Dieshan. Beijing Fine Arts Photography Press. 2018.

6 Xinhua News Agency. The Green Heart adds a beautiful name card to the sub-center of Beijing . Available online: https:// (accessed on 16 August 2022).

7 Xinhua News Agency. Everyone Plants Trees Will Grow Into Forests. Available online: https://article.xuexi. cn/ (accessed on 16 August 2022).

8 Declaration of Landscape Architecture in China. Hou Xiaolei: root in the profession, expand and innovate. Available online: https://mp.weixin. (accessed on 18 August 2022).

State Guesthouse Administration of Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In 1998, to take forward the inheritance of the Han rockery artistry, she resigned from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and opened a practice, Beijing Rockery Han Landscape Architects, which has been included in the National Intangible Cultural Heritage list. Among Xueping’s numerous projects, one was the Head Office Tower of the Bank of China, allied with world-renowned architect Leoh Ming Pei, who brought a high degree of recognition to Xueping’s expertise5

Min Yu, the second example of women landscape leaders, represents a pioneer group born in the 1970s which have undertaken more than a hundred landscape planning and design projects. Min has won a dozen national awards and is well-known for managing large-scale ecological recovery schemes such as forestry parks and urban GI infrastructure. Working on the project Green Heart Forestry Park in the sub-centre of Beijing, she had a brief discussion with General Secretary Xi Jinping6

Afterwards she was interviewed and reported for “Everyone Plants Trees Will Grow Into Forests” by the Xinhua News Agency7. Min continuously promotes the benefits of the landscape profession to the public. She has been rated as the 2020 Capital Greening and Beautifying Advanced Individual, a national honour granted by

the Office of the Capital Greening Committee, together with the Beijing Municipal Human Resources and Social Security Bureau, approved by the Beijing Municipal People’s Government and the Capital Greening Committee.

Professor Xiaolei Hou, who was born in the 1980s, is the third example

3. Urban Green Heart Winter Solstice Node © Min Yu
4. Ecological Restoration Project, North Caohai of Guizhou © Min Yu
3. 4.

we’d like to introduce. After receiving a Ph.D. at Beijing Forestry University, she has been working in the School of Architecture, Central Academy of Fine Arts. During a 14-year career including teaching, researching and practicing,

Xiaolei has also undertaken around ten national and local funded projects, and has won international honours including ASLA and IFLA awards8 Comparing with the two female examples above, Xiaolei is more

focused on the leading role of landscape in the public harnessing of the power of information interconnection.

Dr. Sha Li is Associate Professor in the School of Architecture and Design China University of Mining and Technology. Her research interests include Landscape-led planning and management; and landscape history.

Dr. Wei Kuang is a Lecturer in the School of Landscape at Beijing Forestry University. Her research interests are Artificial Intelligence and landscape.

Dr. Xin Yang is Professor in the School of Architecture and Art at the North China University of Technology. Her research interests include Carbon-neutral landscape; climate change landscape mitigation



Advising on public engagement, Chongyong Street © Xiaolei Hou Olympic Forest Park Beijing
5. 6. FEATURE 40
© Beijing Rockery Han Landscape Architects Co. Ltd.

1 Owen, Linda R. Distorting the Past: Gender and the Division of Labor in the European Upper Paleolithic. Kerns Verlag Tubingen (November 2005).

Reimagining the past


For all the credit given to the originality of our imaginations, these require references and an “education” of sorts to draw on for new ideas to evolve. When history is only written from a singular perspective, it robs our imagination of a more complete picture – only permitting a certain portion of water to be drawn from the well. In order to imagine a city built by women, we need to reimagine our collective histories and mythologies; embarking on a journey of excavation to unearth the hidden stories of women who have come before us. And not just from this century and the one immediately preceding this one, but further back where history and mythology begin to blur.

In the Palaeolithic period, we find humans living in a subsistence economy consisting of hunting, gathering and foraging. We also come across the assumption that men were hunters and women gatherers or child bearers, without any prominent roles in the subsistence strategies of their group. This bias still persists today. In Distorting the Past: Gender and the Division of Labor in the European Upper Paleolithic 1, author Linda Owens sets out to debunk the myth that men were hunters and suggests that women had a much greater influence in society. And looking at some of the most famous Palaeolithic artworks; the famous cave art markings found in France and Spain suggests this could be true. National Geographic has reported evidence that three quarters of the handprints found in cave art from this period were made by females, suggesting women were some of the first landscape artists of society.

Fast forward to the Sumerians, and we come to the evolution of god and goddess myths. These were used to support the emerging hierarchical

structures of the royal families of the time. One of the most enduring myths to emerge from this period is that of the underworld and the figure who returns in spring to allow life to return to the Earth. In the Sumerian myth it’s Innanna (or Ishtar) and Dumuzi, in the Ugaritic myth it’s Anat and Baal, and in the Egyptian myth it’s Isis and Osiris. In all three stories the goddesses are linked with agricultural abundance, political stability, legitimating kings, and restoring the land to a state of plenty. And they are also associated with water and flooding. The first examples of landscape design emerged during this time. Landscapes which arose from contemplating the miraculous effects of irrigation on a dead world. As part of the ancient temple complexes, Paradise Gardens developed that idealised the flooding of the landscape and were seen as the metaphysical expression of the pantheon of the gods and goddesses. The most famous of these complexes was the Tower of Babel and its Hanging Gardens, most likely an ancient ziggurat which the Babylonians called the Tower of Etemenanki or

Now is the time to realise the importance of reimagining collective histories and mythologies.
Arlene Dekker 1. The Spotted Horses mural in Pech Merle cave, France.
© Courtesy of Dean R. Snow, The Pennsylvania State University

“House of the Platform between Heaven and Earth”. The Hanging Gardens of Babylon are a famous expression of early manufactured landscapes. The ziggurats and paradise gardens eventually evolved into the pyramids that characterise Egyptian society; the Nile forming a continuous metaphysical landscape whose annual flooding symbolised divine order and permanence. The physical spiritual landscapes of the ancient Mesopotamians and Egyptians reflected each other; each closely tied to the three goddesses, creating a rich expression of architecture, myth, and designed gardens.

Another important female Egyptian figure is Hatshepsut, an Egyptian queen and pharaoh who reigned from 1504 - 1483 BCE and is considered one of the most prolific builders in ancient Egypt. She commissioned hundreds of construction projects throughout both Upper Egypt and Lower Egypt, that were grander and more numerous than those of any of her Middle Kingdom predecessors. Hatshepsut was an extraordinary woman. She is the first recorded female ruler in history and the first recorded female patron of large scale art and architectural projects. By far the most famous of Hatshepsut’s many architectural contributions is her funerary temple Deir-el-Bahari in Thebes, and one of the most striking examples of the creativity that flourished during her reign. The blending of landscape, terraced architecture, and sculpture creates one of the greatest architectural wonders of the world and a masterpiece of pharaonic design. Like Hatshepsut herself, it is a true original.

These are only a few examples of the many stories of powerful women and their influence on our mythology and landscape waiting to be unearthed. To reveal forgotten collective histories and mythologies helps us reinterpret and recontextualise our own knowledge base and gives space back to figures that used to be there. Allowing our imaginations to draw from the well without limit. like the soft earthen banks swallowed by the flooding Nile in the springtime, our imaginations become fertile places

from which new seeds can grow. Seeds with the power to imagine cities built by men, by women, and all types of people, making new space for each other in the future.

Arlene Dekker is a landscape architect with nearly 10 years’ experience working on major projects at various scales in the public realm.

2. Burney Relief Panel depicting the Goddess Inanna. The panel can be found in the British Museum.

© BabelStone CCO

3. Egypt. Luxor. Deir el-Bahari (or Deir elBahri). The Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut - aerial view in early sunlight.

© Adobe Stock Photos #111868231

The blending of landscape, terraced architecture, and sculpture creates one of the greatest architectural wonders of the world and a masterpiece of pharaonic design.

2. 3.
THE WILD FLOWER SPECIALIST ENDORSED BY ROYAL BOTANIC GARDENS, KEW Tel: 01256 771222 Email: How low can you grow? If you need enhanced biodiversity while managing height restrictions, our new Limited Edition Low Growing mix fits the bill. This floral, highly scented blend provides a low level, attractive habitat for insects.

The impact of gender on career progression

In a previous edition of Landscape, Romy Rawlings considered the barriers to career progression within the profession – here she responds to two important examples.


2. Carolyn Willitts.

The childcare system in the UK is among the most expensive in the world. Full time nursery places can be in excess of £1,000 per month, which leaves many parents questioning whether it’s financially viable to work at all.

Back in 2016, having recently married, my husband and I had sold our house in preparation for a move from Cambridge to Manchester. We’d both accepted new jobs but hadn’t formally started them when we discovered the pregnancy. I was especially concerned how this would be perceived by my new employer and was introduced to a campaign called ‘Pregnant Then Screwed’ lead by Joeli Brearley; I also contacted ACAS for advice.

Fortunately, my new employer was understanding, and while neither I nor my partner was entitled to any maternity pay, my job was secure and they agreed to a 3-day working week upon my return to work after 9 month’s maternity leave. On my return, I didn’t cope well at all and suffered a mental breakdown, for which my employer was supportive. I wasn’t aware that this was going to be so hard, adjusting to a new life balance, being apart from


my baby who had been totally dependent on me for the past 9 months, all while trying to build on my career in the profession I love.

Looking back, I don’t know what I was expecting but people would comment about ‘enjoying my time off’ on maternity leave and that coming back to work would be some sort of relief to get my life and freedom back again. It wasn’t. I had my second child eighteen months later and returned to work 3 days a week as I had been previously. Except this time there was the COVID pandemic, I was to be furloughed until further notice. I found this difficult to cope with mentally, having all my projects taken away and then no communication from my employer, as this is what was instructed by the government at the time. During the pandemic, we had a situation where people could go to the pub, yet many partners were unable to be present as their children were born. For parents, not being able to socialise with their new-born babies, it was an extremely lonely time.

In February 2021, I featured on

BBC News, addressing the gender pay gap and discrimination within the construction industry. I have guided peers that have been mistreated and offered support to others who have been discriminated against. Some are unable to speak out due to fears over losing their jobs, while many more who have lost their jobs have been offered a pay-out in return for signing a Non-Disclosure Agreement to avoid any negative Public Relations or legal action against their former employer. I set up my own landscape design studio so I could be around for my two young sons. I wanted to carry on the career that I am so passionate about and be there for the school runs, the first nativity, the sports days and the graduations. Don’t get me wrong, sacrificing a monthly wage, not knowing what might happen, was a risk, but a risk I took for me and my family’s future. Having young children, time moves so quickly, but being around for the milestones and just being present for them was worth more than money.

Finally, if you’re reading this as an owner/director of a company, have you ever considered how you would feel if your daughter was subjected to discrimination for having a family, or even the thought of wanting a family? Would you be upset if she was overlooked for that director role as it seems you cannot be a director working only part time hours? Because these attitudes and beliefs are forcing someone to decide between their career or having a family. Why can’t it be both? In the past 18 months, I have proved this is possible.

Romy Rawlings Nicola Phillips.

For those of you who may still be questioning whether there really is an issue at all; those of you who simply don’t see the need for change; those who wonder why we have a terrible skills shortage in our profession; those who are not sure what needs to be done – look no further.

Carolyn Willitts

“Dear Sirs...” I’ve just received a project enquiry from an architects’ practice. Thank you, that’s great, we’ll take a look. But also, really? We are a company of five women. Around a third of the job applications that we receive begin: Dear Sir or Dear Sir/ Madam. I’ve got a good idea: why don’t you spend thirty seconds Googling the company so you can open with a name? It will make me think you’ve done some research.

I’ve been invited to contribute to this article and have been thinking about how I set up CW Studio and that we are all women. This wasn’t planned. As I started to get busier on my own, I looked around for freelancers and found a plethora of brilliant women, all seniors and associates from high profile companies, who had a second child and weren’t allowed to come

Romy Rawlings

In the past, when I’ve written about issues around gender equality in the landscape profession, it’s been a relatively high-level conversation. I’ve talked about research and surveys, government policies that need to change, and how we could do better by looking to Scandinavian countries and their far superior attitudes to equality, particularly around working parents.

But now, I’m not sure there’s much more I can say about those aspects. They’re all publicly available and it’s easy enough to find out more about them if you’re interested. And that’s one of the issues here. I’m not convinced everyone is interested, or takes the repercussions of what is going on, every day, seriously. Is it unconscious bias in those not directly affected, or is it actually conscious?

There are still many who refute that there’s a gender pay gap. There are many, many men, in senior leadership positions, who clearly don’t understand the issues, never mind know what to do about them. Equally,


back to work part time. So, they set up at home as freelancers and I won the prize of being able to work with women who had more experience than I did. Bingo! But how is this a thing? What is everyone thinking?

One of my amazing freelancers became my first employee, and the more women we worked with the more women wanted to join our merry band.

there are many women who haven’t personally encountered any problems and question whether gender inequity really exists. I should make it clear that I personally have no axe to grind. My son is 22 and, while I remember the challenges and childcare costs of being a full-time working mother, it’s a very distant memory! What saddens and angers me in equal measure is that very little seems to have improved in the two decades since I was struggling in the ways Nicola and Carolyn have described. Of course, some aspects have improved in the 15 years or so since I was in their positions (e.g., paid paternity leave), but it’s nowhere near enough.

For those of you who may still be questioning whether there really is an issue at all; those of you who simply don’t see the need for change; those who wonder why we have a terrible skills shortage in our profession; those who are not sure what needs to be done – look no further.

Both Nicola and Carolyn are running their own successful practices and managing to balance their home and work lives – maybe that’s all for the best. But what’s clear is that

Our USP was flexible and hybrid working, but post-pandemic everyone’s doing it! Well, not quite everyone yet. Maybe soon.

I set up on my own because the architecture practice I worked for closed down in the recession and I didn’t feel I could interview for a new job while undertaking IVF just in case it actually worked. Yes, working for yourself can be more flexible when you have a child. But it can also be less flexible: I’d like to speak to my boss as I need to pick up my child from school, it’s an emergency. Oh, hi me! But now I have an incredible and supportive team I can go on actual holiday and leave my work behind.

So, top three thoughts: Hybrid and flexible working please! More affordable childcare! (If you don’t have retired family nearby it may cost you more than you earn.) And be bold! The older I get, the less cautious I am about playing by the rules, which is a whole lot of fun.

neither really felt they had a choice and were almost forced to give up their previous full-time employed roles. There are so many more women making the same ‘choices’. They are giving up security, salaries, pensions, and so much more. But it’s the unsympathetic and unsupportive businesses who are missing out on their expertise, passion and talent, at a time when more landscape professionals are so desperately needed.

I thank them for bravely baring their souls in an attempt to improve the situation for others who will find themselves, now and in the future, in the same position. Please take note of what they have to say and, if you want to know how to be a better employer of women, just ask any of us!

Nicola Phillips is Director and Principal Landscape Architect at Nicola Jayne Landscape Design Ltd

Carolyn Willitts is Director and Landscape Architect at CW Studio Ltd

Romy Rawlings is Commercial Director and Landscape Architect at Vestre Ltd


New life for a classic

I discovered ‘New Lives, New Landscapes’ (NLNL) by Nan Fairbrother, in a secondhand bookshop when I was considering moving from horticulture and garden design (with natural history on the side) into something more meaningful. It confirmed my interest in landscape as a discipline, instigating enrolment on the MSc in Landscape Ecology Design and Management (better known as the LEDM) at Wye College, then part of London University.

Fairbrother was born just before the First World War, had a degree in English, and her first career, before becoming one of the first wave of landscape architects, was as a hospital physiotherapist. She wrote several books, with NLNL published in 1970, reflecting rising environmental and ecological concerns, putting forward a vision firmly rooted in concern not just for the landscape but for those living and working within it. The first of the three sections is a historical perspective describing landscape change over time and the post-war scenario as ‘a new society in an old

setting’: the third and final section sets out a four-point plan for a new landscape framework. It is, however, the middle section, ‘landscapes for an industrial democracy’, in which she analyses the impact of social dynamics on rural and urban landscapes, comparing the speed of this to the snail’s pace of land use planning reform. It was this that led Fairbrother to advocate for change, arguing that a robust land use planning system is essential for the controlled evolution of the environment and setting out a code for landscape practice (Fairbrother 1970 page 362).

One of the delights of reading Nan Fairbrother’s work is her turn of phrase, perhaps the result of her academic background; her books are a good read as well as thought provoking. While we’d probably all agree that “As the birthplace of the industrial revolution Britain had a world start in landscape destruction – even though competitors rival if not surpass us in vandalism”,(Fairbrother 1970, page 176) few would put this quite so succinctly, and perhaps even fewer would be willing to acknowledge so bluntly our pivotal role in the current climate crisis and biodiversity emergency. Her visionary – and sometimes brutal –turn of phrase borders on the political, directly challenging the preservation/ conservation landscape agenda, and reminding us that landscape, urban or rural, is the direct result of

human activity and reflects changing social agendas. She grew up during the Depression but l suspect would be deeply shocked by cuts to basic services and our seeming inability to control, for example, sewage pollution and litter. Her statement that no-one could imagine the NHS could ever be

‘New Lives, New Landscapes’ by Nan Fairbrother remains required reading.
Debbie Bartlett
1. Alfred A. Knopf; 1st edition (January 1,1970).

2. Architectural Press; 3rd edition (January 1, 1971).

3. Penguin Books; Second Edition (January 1, 1972).

abolished is a stark reminder that the 1960s were a time of great optimism. Her comments on electricity pylons – “l accept them in the landscape as anyone would who brought up a family without electricity or gas” (Fairbrother 1970, page 105) – is a reminder that landscapes are functional and that pylons, like wind turbines, do not permanently disfigure the landscape; the benefits outweigh the ‘cost’ in terms of scenic beauty. Part one of NLNL ends with the statement that the view is fleeting, so expendable for a season while the landscape is long-term (p159). A stark contrast to the views of certain politicians who, despite the energy crisis – and that is not too strong a word – affecting us all, have expressed the view that they do not like to see solar panels in fields!

Fairbrother’s analysis of the post war social change and the impact on the landscape of increased leisure time and greater mobility (increasing

countryside recreation combined with the welfare state and expectations of a better quality of life) provides food for thought in this, the post COVID-19 era. We are again experiencing rapid change with working at home revitalising villages and re-focusing of personal agendas on what really matters. At the same time the divide, not just between north and south, but between rich and poor is increasing dramatically. In the wider context of the climate emergency and biodiversity crisis what does this mean for those of us concerned with ‘landscape’, and the people living in it? And how should we respond?

Fairbrother, who died in 1971 aged just 58, saw landscape architects as the solution to resolving conflicting agendas but regretted that there were too few to have meaningful influence. We no longer have this excuse.

Dr Debbie Bartlett is a Chartered Landscape Architect, Fellow of the Chartered Institute for Ecology and Environmental Management and Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. Her current role is as Professor of Environmental Conservation at the University of Greenwich.

REVIEW 2. 3. 47

Making the world inclusive for people suffering from post-natal depression


After 39 years of having a life on my own, a new chapter of my life called ‘mothering’ started and it completely changed my view of almost everything, including landscape architecture and town planning. When my first baby turned 6 months, I was diagnosed with Postnatal Depression (PND). PND is a depressive illness which affects more than 1 in every 10 women within a year of giving birth, and lasts at least two weeks or longer, but the latest study shows it could appear anytime within 3 years after giving birth.

Research also found that up to 1 in 10 new fathers suffers from PND. One of the causes for my case was isolation. I was living on a busy road and there wasn’t much interaction with the neighbours. I had moved from Japan

and had no family here. During my dark period, a local small playground played a significant role in motivating me to get out of the house and saw me through the hardest times. People did not mind if the baby was crying outdoors and I was also able to meet some new mothers who were also feeling isolated. However, I began to notice that the current forms of landscape design were failing to address the needs of people with PND.

Firstly, I noticed various issues at a small scale. I joined a local support group based in a brand new housing development that had many small to medium-sized parks which we used for outdoor meetups. They were equipped with attractive natural play equipment, but had no fencing. Most of us were there to let the babies and pre-schoolers play and enjoy some adult conversation or have some ‘me’ time. But the no-fencing concept did not allow us to do so. Some off-theshelf equipment was also not thought through, such as slides which were inaccessible for toddlers, requiring adults to lift them up all the time.

These might be negligible problems for most people, but for someone like me, it felt like the whole world was hostile towards me and my baby at that time. Secondly, I also found problems at a larger scale – town planning. When I had my second child, I moved to a different town in the same county and had a very different experience there.

The first town (Town A) I lived in was a relatively new town, mostly developed by a scheme initiated by a local authority in the 1970s. It has an extensive residential area with public services and businesses. However, all services and functions necessary for new parents, including GP surgeries, play areas and children’s centres, were distant from the town centre and rather dispersed. The road I was living on also lacked any footpath connectivity, even though it was in a rural area. It was impossible to go for a walk from the house with the pram even for half a mile. Those town arrangements made my feeling of isolation even worse.

The second town (Town B) I moved to was a typical historic town, where the residential areas sprawled around

The quality of landscape design can have a huge impact of those suffering from post-natal depression.
Tamae Isomura

During my dark period, a local small playground played a significant role in motivating me to get out of the house and saw me through the hardest times.

the churches and the high street. In this town, almost every function listed above was located in or close to the high street, and within a walkable distance of each other. The most notable difference was that I was supported by many elderly people. I used to go to three different baby groups run by the churches in the high street, which were all helped by elderly volunteers. Meeting and talking to them as experienced parents helped me incredibly to get through the hard times. This was not observed in Town A, but in Town B, its accessibility enabled interaction of people and a strong sense of community was developed. Although I was totally new to the area, I felt more supported and welcomed by the community, and did not suffer from PND for the second time.

In fact, the issues raised above overlap with other issues we are currently facing, such as development of sustainable communities and better connectivity. A thoughtful design and planning with a new viewpoint to be inclusive to people who are suffering from PND may change the world to a better place for everybody. These considerations may include: better town planning to achieve accessible towns such as walkable and buggyfriendly layout; place making to facilitate an interaction between new parents and elderly people; and green social prescribing. Park design will also benefit from the therapeutic landscape design providing a sense of security and restorative places for new parents, as well as thoughtful design on play equipment and rest areas to meet their needs.

Last but not least, to new parents who are currently suffering, you are not alone and please do not suffer on your own. Please seek help and ‘accept help when someone offers it to you.’

These were the most helpful words I was given by my health visitor when I was in the darkest place.

Tamae Isomura is a Chartered Landscape Architect who has been delivering therapeutic landscape for vulnerable people at hospitals and care homes throughout her career.


On 10th October 2022, the Baby Bereavement Garden at Broomfield Hospital in Chelmsford, Essex, for which I contributed to its design, was formally opened by the Bereavement Midwife Team as part of Baby Loss Awareness Week 2022.

About 5 years ago when I had my first son, I went to a baby group held in Chelmsford Library and met a lady with her baby there. We started talking about our birth experience and she said she had a baby in Basildon Hospital although she lived in Chelmsford. I asked her why, then she told me that she lost her first baby at Broomfield the day after the baby was born and she never wanted to go back as it was too painful. I was so shocked and urged to create a place where she could come back to Broomfield and remember her baby.

Not long after that, a bereavement midwife, Lyndsy at Broomfield contacted my husband Richard, grounds and gardens manager at the hospital, to ask whether there was any

location to put a baby bereavement garden, and I said ‘yes! I will design it!’.

The design concept of this garden is ‘butterfly garden’. This garden area is not specific to any religion or background. The image of the butterfly is open to interpretation - it can be a symbol of spirit, soul, angel, or perhaps ‘friends’ of lost babies. In the biodiverse environment on the edge of the ancient woodland, wildlife friendly planting will encourage various habitats including butterflies and benefit to the existing ecology of the natural heritage of Broomfield Hospital.

A short journey to the quiet seating area was created so the families have a contemplative walk. Semi-permeable fencing was provided as a screen so that people have respect for others in the garden. A gate leading to the woodland at the end of the journey is, again, open to interpretation - some may see it as a place where the baby’s spirit flies through the gate to the beautiful woodland.

1, 2. The Baby Bereavement Garden at Broomfield Hospital in Chelmsford, Essex,.
© Tamae Isomura

Seeing the world through the eyes of a child

It is women who are best placed to inform the design changes that will make a difference to our own lives, so it is imperative that we amplify female voices in order to create more equitable landscapes.


From a personal perspective, being able to advocate for spaces that will work better for my daughter and other little girls like her is a huge motivation for me...

1 Feminist City: Claiming Space in a Man-Made World Hardcover – 7 July 2020

Last year, there was a seismic shift in my world perspective: I became a mother to my beautiful baby daughter, Anna. As an unexpected consequence, my awareness of the obstacles presented to women in our inherited built environment sharpened into maddening focus – firstly as a heavily pregnant woman; then as a cautious new mother (with a bulky pram!); and most recently in mothering a young toddler who is only just beginning to learn how to move around the world by herself. In her book ‘A Feminist City’1, Leslie Kern observes that “as a new mom, the city was a physical force I had to constantly struggle against.”I can definitely relate to that, as the consequences of our landscapes having been designed almost exclusively by and for men, for hundreds of years, now seem glaringly evident to me at almost every turn.

What would the opposite look like? I’d like to think that in a world designed by and for women, the world around us feels safe and welcoming. I’m sure all footpaths are at least wide enough to allow two pushchairs to pass one another without either one having to disembark onto a busy road. Public realm is step-free by design, with regular at-grade crossings providing safe priority passage through cars –of course with reduced traffic, and at reduced speeds. Cycle routes are generous and segregated, and facilitate cargo bikes and trailers as standard. A pregnant lady has plentiful choices of where she might perch for a rest, and perhaps begins to chat to an elderly woman who has paused for a seat on the way home with her groceries.

In a world designed by and for women, streets are designed for the needs of our most vulnerable, not our most able, and so automatically meet the needs of anyone in the community with similar mobility and safety needs.

A woman meanders home at night alone and carefree, without having to consider detouring for visibility, permeability, or light. Streets are overlooked and animated, with clear, unobstructed sight lines encouraging interaction as people feel comfortable enough to voluntarily engage with strangers. No-one worries that they shouldn’t be there so late, or feels the need to cross the street in fear.

The landscape enables friendship. Young girls grow up with play spaces to suit their needs. Parks incorporate places to gather, sit and chat alongside spaces for football and skateboarding; and open spaces for performance and social exercise are as common to pass by as climbing frames. Facilities essential in caring for infants, disabled and elderly people are well considered in all public space; and critically, the landscape is walkable, enabling people of any age and with any level of mobility to participate independently for as long as possible and also for resources to be shared easily between support networks.

Caring for others is inherent in how places work.

Of course, the reality is that our environment is entangled with social and cultural norms which have developed over centuries, and there isn’t an easy or quick fix to many of the embedded issues we face in many of today’s landscapes. But as my sensitivities to these issues have heightened, so too has my resolve and drive for change – and I’m hugely optimistic that the future of landscape is inclusive.

Fundamentally, it’s women who are best placed to inform the design changes that will make a difference to our own lives, so it’s imperative that we amplify female voices in order to create more equitable landscapes. We’ve already made massive progress: there are now more and more women engaging with the issues around what our collective environment should look like, in all different ways.

Meaningful consultation and co-design enable women to join the conversation at local level. Engagement with schools has become standard

good practice, and as a result raises awareness within families of local development projects. Events are organised to tie in with school pick up times and after mealtimes to counteract previous obstacles to female participation. Technological advancements in GIS and open data for cities also now facilitate the use of female social data in analysis and design. For example, typical commuting routes by women – which are often more convoluted than the direct routes taken by men as we navigate school drop offs, elderly care, or grocery shopping enroute to and from work – can now be used as part of baseline analysis and help to inform a considered and inclusive design response.

Perhaps most importantly, new campaigns and initiatives like Women in STEM and Choose Landscape are encouraging more and more girls into built environment professions. In our studio, for the first time ever, we have more female landscape architects than male, working together openly and collaboratively to create the best landscapes we can, which are useable by everyone. From a personal perspective, being able to advocate for spaces that will work better for my daughter and other little girls like her is a huge motivation for me, and I hope that every project we work on now goes a little way to helping her feel more that our landscapes are for her too – I’m certainly designing them with her in mind.

Lisa McRavey CMLI is a Senior Landscape Architect with independent Scottish landscape architecture studio

RaeburnFarquharBowen. Having originally studied architecture, her experience in multidisciplinary practice quickly led her to become a passionate landscape architect.


Cultivating culture


We’re trying to create an environment that is greener, safer, fun and inclusive for everyone to enjoy. A stereotypical view might be to say that women inspire a more equitable and inclusive environment. That they are more creative and nurturing. They listen, and ask more questions to better understand situations. They can also be better collaborators and team players! They understand how each of us use spaces differently, redefining the needs and ensuring that everyone feels equal and valued. Women tend to value different things to men, with issues like personal safety, inclusivity and opportunities for

social interaction would perhaps be higher on the agenda. Also, informal play and areas for young children and interaction across the generations may be more valued by women.

Moreover, if we expect our landscape environment to truly reflect our society, then our profession needs to consider the people we design for –whatever gender, ethnic origin, sexual orientation, religion or disability.

At university, women are better represented in landscape architecture than in most sectors of the design and construction industries, but senior positions in our profession remain male dominated. Only four women have ever been president of the Landscape Institute. We need more women in prominent roles in the landscape architecture professions and leading on important landscape projects, demonstrating greater equality in how the built environment is designed, managed and planned. More positive role models will enable greater choice for young

people over where their career paths might take them.

The work we do in Bradford is a good example of how sustainability and the landscape is important to every person within the Bradford District. By working with communities to co-create and co-design green spaces, the people of Bradford have an active role in shaping and collectively enhancing the place we call home. The Chief Executive and Leader of the Bradford Council are women. Girls growing up in our district will benefit from seeing these role models. As the Team Leader of a small, but diverse landscape architecture service, I believe our clients’ experience and engagement with our team offers some valuable lessons.

Bradford is a district with challenging levels of deprivation in some of its neighbourhoods, but also a young population – 21.4% are under 15. It is important that we are enabling young people to take part in shaping our district.

The head of landscape and heritage for Bradford (City of Culture 2025) reflects on the impact of diversity in creating places that are greener and safer for women and girls. Saira Ali
1. Co-design / Coproduction workshops with pupils at Lilycroft Primary school for Scotchman Road/ Kashmir Park. © Sonia Fayyaz

Things are improving, but a lack of diversity professionally and in commissioning work has historically shaped our landscape.

How are we doing it?

Women and girls in Bradford have an opportunity to contribute to local placebased design initiatives, such as Better Place and JU:MP, with workshops running in our neighbourhood programmes to allow their input and opportunities to shape final design concepts for parks and community green spaces which will be inclusive to them, their families and friends.

We are working with the Make Space for Girls Charity (see #1-2022 Landscape for more details). This includes running workshops with local teenage girls to understand the barriers and opportunities for them to gain increased access to greenspace. We are also working with girls to co-design and develop green space using a ‘whole system approach’ for example, offering matched funding from the Home Office to improve lighting.

We are also keen to influence the planning department to incorporate places to play in future developments.  We are doing this in order to ensure that we are understanding and acting on all areas of local needs and expectations. South Asian women and girls are therefore the highest priority group for JU:MP, as they are under-represented - particularly in green space developments. We are engaging girls through schools, Islamic religious settings and local organisations (their “safe spaces”).

Provision for teenagers tends to be skate parks, multi-use games areas (MUGAS) and BMX tracks, which can become dominated by boys, making them off-putting to girls. By having the workshops with girls, we were able to explore the barriers and enablers to girls accessing greenspace so that we could co-design space that appeals to them to benefit their physical and mental health. As well as developing green space, we are animating it, providing activities to encourage children and families, to ensure that spaces do not get territorialised, and families know that they are safe spaces to visit.

What are we hoping to achieve?

Engaging with the community and involving them in the design process

creates a sense of ownership and a desire to take care of it and hopefully connect with others. Creating inviting, exciting, high-quality greenspaces that all of the community value and access will support physical and mental health and give people pride of place. Our hope is to achieve:

More child and teenage friendly safe places, supporting families to spend time together

More lighting as appropriate to make streets safer (including low level as well)

Women-friendly sports spaces –which will hopefully get better after the women’s football team won the Euros this year!

Play spaces on routes to/from school

Suitable parking at facilities (not just supermarkets but social spaces/ homes too) with space to get buggies and children in/out of cars Working on attitudes of entitlement to use spaces, for all, so that women/teens/children feel safe Pitches for women-orientated sports in neighbourhoods – netball etc. Benches and seats suitable for breastfeeding (sheltered/screened)

Public toilets – with changing tables for babies, disability access.

An inclusive and equitable public realm needs to reflect all of society. Gender stereotyping is unhelpful and divisive, and overcoming the cultural legacy of inequality is still difficult. My observation is that women are more perceptive than men of the barriers in society, and hence in the public realm, as they still experience them.

A key issue is one of leadership. There are not enough women in construction and placemaking, but lots of women in senior roles in public health, and now local government leadership teams, especially across the South Pennines area. The public sector is often more assertive about inclusivity and diversity than the private sector.

Comparatively, more women study landscape architecture than men, but are not reaching senior positions in the profession. This is certainly in part because there is still not enough support in terms of

breaks for childrearing and care of elderly relatives. Responsibility still falls heavily on women who then take time out of work, then fall behind on promotions and training.

There are also not enough women as clients for placemaking projects. Women are happy to have their voice heard, but we need to create opportunities for them to contribute, such as child-friendly engagement that fits around work/childcare responsibilities.

Things are improving, but a lack of diversity professionally and in commissioning work has historically shaped our landscape. There are some great historic role models of women shaping the landscape, but we need a new generation of visible leadership. We believe Bradford being awarded City of Culture 2025 will open eyes to our District, and our work to shape the public realm. These are exciting times for our communities, and my team.

My experience in landscape architecture is that it is really important to be innovative, as well as inclusive. Trying different ways to achieve inclusion, such as engaging parents through activities for the young, knitting groups, and women’s woodworking groups, attracts a different audience, and gives space for voices to be heard in an informal setting.

My hope for the future is that our outdoor spaces are seen as safe, no agenda, well maintained, where the community takes ownership and cares. We teach the next generations to be custodians of our public realm, to reduce antisocial behaviour, vandalism and litter. Our communities recognise the value of newly planted trees in our landscape for air quality, flood mitigation, shade, beauty, diversity and wildlife. Educating with this message needs to start when they are young.

Ali is a landscape architect and

Saira Team Leader, Landscape, Design and Conservation at City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council

Safer by design


According to a YouGov poll earlier this year, two thirds of women still don’t feel safe in the built environment. What needs to happen to make our streets and spaces safer for the most vulnerable?

at night, many will be staying in for safety reasons. To protect themselves, the survey found almost a third of the women consulted avoided being alone when out, with 28% steering clear of certain areas. More than half of the women regularly avoid being out at certain times to reduce the risk of harassment or sexual assault.

instance by generating higher footfall, concern traffic engineering - wider pavements, slowing traffic, bringing roads to grade and eliminating underpasses, and integrating more cycling.

When Sarah Everard tragically didn’t make it home from visiting a friend, multiple protests followed and society joined in a big conversation about women’s safety in the public realm. Many of us expected this to be a pivotal moment.

One year later, in March 2022, a YouGov poll for the BBC showed that many women continue to feel unsafe going about day-to-day activities. Two thirds said they don’t feel safe walking home at night, at least sometimes. Of the 20% who never walk home

Maybe the most surprising thing is that these figures aren’t even higher. Elsewhere in Europe, the situation is not taken as given. Women’s fear is recognised as a societal problem that requires action. So, as designers working in the UK, what can we do to effect change?

We need to start by being more alert to impacts from the current gender imbalance in UK urban planning, engineering and design, where men hold most of the senior positions. Many of the design moves that can make a place feel safer, for

Although that gender imbalance seems to be slowly changing, for now it continues to impact on both the quality of guidance for designers and, crucially, the way it is interpreted. ‘Secured by Design’ is a police initiative to improve security in places and buildings. Implementation of its standards is often too dependent on the single-focused approach of Designing Out Crime Officers, whereas good design requires nuance and a balance to be struck. For example, ‘Secured by Design - Homes 2019’ states that development is not to be compromised by excessive permeability caused by having too many routes. This is to prevent burglars

Sophie Thompson 1. Olympic Transformation. © Robin Forster Photography

In larger and wilder spaces, the trick is concentrating lighting on the key routes to condense activity along them, which protects nature as well as people.

making easy getaways but for women, having a choice of routes at night can make the difference between a place feeling safe or not.

Standards have been further compounded by advice received from counter terrorism and security professionals, for example relating to hostile vehicle mitigation measures. Seating is often designed out because of concerns about lingering, even though ‘eyes on the street’ make any public space feel safer. Planting is often heavily restricted in case it impedes natural surveillance or camera sightlines when CCTV is being used to tackle anti-social behaviour.

An overhaul of guidance is required to support professionals in the built environment, one that takes a more holistic and tailored view. More support is needed for good design that deploys cross-discipline common sense, involving landscape architects early in the decision-making process for projects large and small.

When Camden Council resolved to tackle anti-social behaviour issues at Whitfield Gardens, on Tottenham Court Road in central London, poor lighting and overgrown shrubs made the place feel like a no-go area after dark. LDA Design had to reconcile polarised public views, with café customers wanting extensive, open spaces and the Friends of Fitzrovia group wanting all planting retained in-situ. The solution lay in good lighting throughout, seats where people would want to sit, a new choice of routes and planting at the right height and density, opening up the space.

In larger and wilder spaces, the trick is concentrating lighting on the key routes to condense activity along them, which protects nature as well as people. This is how Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park was designed and a similar principle is now being adopted with Union Terrace Gardens in central Aberdeen, a two-and-a-half-acre park which had a reputation for being unsafe. When the park re-opens later this year after extensive restoration and redesign, its key routes will be quite bright in contrast to lower levels.

North American journalist and urbanist Jane Jacobs observed that while violent crime can happen in a well-lit but empty subway station, it will almost never happen in a darkened theatre which is full. In Newcastle city centre, one approach being taken by LDA Design in redesigning public realm is to provide reasons to dwell. A typical city centre pedestrian cutthrough, Saville Row, will be animated with playful features including swivel birdcage seats, distinctive planting and a giant botanical mural.

One of the major barriers to improving women’s safety is the widespread failure of urban policymaking and planning committees to properly engage with women and girls and involve them at all stages of the discussion, including early-stage co-production.

Gender-tailored spatial analysis can help resolve both macro and micro issues. We know that spaces and facilities for sport and exercise, for example, are still largely designed with boys in mind. Make Space for Girls,

which campaigns for better public spaces for teenage girls, highlights that some local authorities spend more on facilities for dog waste than for teenage girls. They are encouraging designers to advocate and support creative new ideas and approaches to park space, informed by conversations with local girls and young women. Girls feel safer the more women and other girls they see using spaces. Curation of girl-only activities such as sports, guided walks or rollerblading need to be properly considered.

At Aberfeldy Village in Poplar, East London, where the remaking of two large estates is planned, LDA Design is working with ZCD Architects to find the best ways to listen to teenage girls and understand the nature of the places they want for exercise, relaxing and socialising. Those spaces will often look and feel distinctively different from spaces that boys enjoy, with more opportunities to gather informally and to exercise with some degree of privacy.

For all the societal complexity that underpins the issues of safety for women in the built environment, there is so much more that we can be doing right now. If we drag our feet, the consequences can be deadly.

Sophie Thompson is a landscape architect and leads public realm at LDA Design. She has twenty years’ experience in the design and delivery of liveable streets, squares, and green spaces. Sophie currently leads the £35m West End Project, one of the most ambitious transformations of public realm in central London.

2. Whitfield Gardens.
2. 3. 55
© Michael Grubb Studio
Saville Row.
LDA Design

New models for running landscape practices


Whilst honouring Brenda Colvin, Sylvia Crowe and others, it’s hard for us now to envisage a world of landscape led by women. Despite the fact that over half the UK population is female, men continue to dominate the public image of the landscape industries, appearing as leaders of major practices and companies, client groups, decisionmaking bodies, landowners and financial institutions. Women are at least as effective as male designers

and planners (some might say even more so) but seem to be less interested or confident in broadcasting their achievements or competing for awards and honours than some men.

As a landscape planner, graduating initially in 1971, I observed that attitudes to women in landscape have barely changed in over 50 years. It’s hard to claim space and make your mark when the work environment is dominated by men. Anyway, doing what you’re told in the world of landscape design does not guarantee success for women. Ways of working are now rapidly changing, in part due to COVID lockdowns. A recent Observer article1 suggested that “the Great Resignation – or at least the Great Thinking about Resignation – is upon us.” In the 2020s, working

practices don’t have to be more of the same. So, as well as encouraging women to compete with men for traditional leadership positions, my view is that we should set up our own supportive, inclusive, communitybased organisations in order to break down the structural barriers within the landscape industries that hold women back. Non-hierarchical, equitable and collaborative organisations offer a way forward for young landscape architects seeking to establish their professional practice.

Once you have learned your trade, worked out what you are good at and if you have begun to feel that you are going nowhere with your present employer, think about any opportunities you’ve spotted in the last few months where you could make a difference.

The creation of new types of organisations offer a way forward for women landscape architects establishing their professional practice, argues the former chair of the LI’s Policy and Communications Committee.
Kate Bailey
1 Sam Parker, The Observer, 21 August 2022 1. Pollination Street in Todmorden created by Incredible Edible Todmorden.

The landscape profession is full of energetic, intelligent, caring and hardworking young people, many of whom are finding different ways to operate away from the outdated ‘old-boysclub’ patriarchies of long-established organisations.

Work out what drives you, which challenges you feel passionate about, and your personal appetite for financial independence, and look carefully at the motives of people who advise you to stick to a ‘conventional’ career path.

The landscape profession is full of energetic, intelligent, caring and hardworking young people, many of whom are finding different ways to operate away from the out-dated ‘old-boys-club’ patriarchies of longestablished organisations. I have identified a small number of people who have continued to inspire me over the years.

Eleanor Trenfield (founder ETLA 2017, co-founder EDLA 2022) identifies the practice’s values as visual storytellers, as educators and as green innovators. Her 2021 blog – review of a ‘year of growth and gratitude’ – talks about her wish to build a practice that is inclusive and flexible, to appeal to younger generations who are looking for an equitable sustainable work environment. In a Q+A for International Women’s Day March 2022, Eleanor explains “it became obvious over time that the environment I was in was not supportive of more significant career growth. It was plain to see that men far outnumbered women in partnership roles and this culture can’t help but filter down throughout the business.”

Johanna Gibbons (Founding Partner, J&L Gibbons) has been named a Royal Designer for Industry (RDI) for her “pioneering and influential work combining design with activism, education and professional practice”. The practice website explains that “[they] are dedicated to collaborative practice and upholding the origins of the profession which cross the arts, sciences and humanities”, as demonstrated by, for example, the Urban Nature Project with the Natural History Museum in London (2019-22).

Johanna is also the founding director of a social enterprise company (CIC) ‘Landscape Learn’ which is concerned with developing a model that “provides

adaptive learning that can support knowledge sharing, celebrates difference, enables personal development, encourages specialism in subjects that excite and challenge the individual, supports community empowerment.”

Kathryn Gustafson (co-founder Gustafsen Porter 1997 + Bowman 2002) originally studied applied arts and became a fashion designer. She is now a landscape architect renowned for creating sculptural land forms. She has founded landscape practices in the US and UK; their designs are sensitive to community needs, incorporating the principles of inclusive design, connectivity, public engagement and sustainability. All but one of her business partners are female; 90% of her work is public, supporting the creation of healthy and liveable cities. For example, in February 2022, Gustafson Porter + Bowman’s landscape plan for the Eiffel Tower site was given final approval by the city of Paris.

cancer and their families, setting up the first Maggie’s Centre in Edinburgh in 1996. Fundamental to the Maggie’s approach is the belief (supported by documented evidence) that therapeutic landscapes, exploiting light, colour and a connection to nature, are places which “encourage feelings of well-being amongst their visitors and users.”

Pam Warhurst CBE co-founded Incredible Edible Todmorden in 2008, a local food partnership that reinvents community resilience through fruit and vegetable growing. She wanted to “focus on local food to re-engage people with the planet we live on, create the sort of shifts in behaviour we need to live within the resources we have, stop us thinking like disempowered victims and to start taking responsibility for our own futures. All with no paid staff, no buildings, no public funding: radical community building in action (motto: if you eat you’re in.)”.

The movement started small, with a seed-swap and a community herb garden on unused land in Todmorden, and today has spin-offs all over the world.

Kate Bailey is a landscape planner and landscape architect, former trustee of the Landscape Institute and former chair of the Policy and Communications Committee.


Mary Reynolds calls herself a ‘reformed Irish landscape designer’, author and nature activist. She started her career during the 1990s designing gardens in Dublin, discovered that the wilderness was her true inspiration, and currently specializes in healing gardens. Mary promotes an international movement ‘We Are The Ark’ which aims to create habitats and maximise diversity, eco-system services and provide sanctuary for wildlife. The Ark website says “We are not a structured organisation and we do not claim to have all the answers” but hope to re-educate people to live in harmony with nature on their land – to become guardians rather than gardeners.

Maggie Keswick Jencks (1941-1995) – writer and garden designer – was the partner of Charles Jencks, architectural historian and landscape designer. Together they championed the transformative potential of designed environments to help people with


Access to naturemy life in landscape

Personal reflections and a family picture album raise some big questions.

Lake District, and flowery Alpine meadows.

Children were supposed to go out and play.

1950s to 1960s – Early years and school

My Festival of Britain/ New Elizabethan generation emerged from wartime constraints with a new sense of optimism. Some earliest landscape memories are of walking round the corner to our local park, Paddington ‘Rec’, where I learned to ride a bike; Regents Park, where I owned my own island; and Hampstead/Kenwood with the best climbing trees and a lake that had a pretend bridge. I believed that wherever you were in London you could see a tree. My first awareness of different gender interests was aged 5: when I wanted to dig for buried cities in the school playground (not conventional girl behaviour for the time) and when I was abandoned by my boyfriend to play football – something girls were certainly not invited to at that time. It has taken until the Lionesses won the UEFA Women’s EURO in 2022 to start turning this around. But whilst girls may be more likely to be allowed to join in traditionally male sports, are the needs of those who prefer more quiet enjoyment still being sidelined?

In Nature Study we placed quadrants in an oak wood near school and identified the ground flora. A seminal book ‘The Map that Came to Life’1, about two children going on a 10-mile walk, showed me how OS maps work. My horizons were expanded by holidays to the seaside,

As I reflect, it’s hard to imagine children being given such freedom to roam now. We learned how to navigate using memory, a sense of direction, maps and compasses. Parents have legitimate concerns about traffic, and fear the crimes splashed across the media, but the result is far more time indoors and in front of screens, with children having even less outdoor time than prisoners2. Access to safe green spaces is limited and is reducing for many urban children, with densification and reduced funding adding to the pressure on parks3. Although the value of time in nature is now well proven, the reality is that it is being lost. How will the next generation learn to connect with, or understand, the natural environment? We must push not only for more neighbourhood parks and open spaces, but safe access to them so children can leave home without constant supervision again.

Late 1960s to 1980s – Study and early work years

In 1967, the Torrey Canyon hit rocks off Cornwall, turning the seas black with oil pollution, killing many seabirds and other animals. It was my first awareness of environmental disaster, and I wanted to do something. I gradually focussed my learning on botany, geography, and art, eventually leading to a BSc. But what to do with it? With the seeds sown by a fellow student, and knowing the profession had equal numbers of notable leading women and men, I took a two-year full-time post-grad course in Landscape Design. I enjoyed the broad curriculum and long hours

at the drawing board and shared a Northumberland cottage with a group of fellow male students, but it was only me our landlady asked to clean the place up.

The world of work was full of challenges. As a young woman, it was commonly assumed you were not part of the professional team. I was often the only landscape architect on the team and men held most senior positions. Constantly having to prove my competence was wearing. Pin-ups were on walls, not only in site cabins but some professional offices. On the other hand, when visiting site heavily pregnant, contractors were amazingly cooperative.

Managing work and small children was hard in the 1980s, but child care is more expensive and harder to find now. Fathers struggled too, as paternity leave was minimal and fathers were not always respected for taking it. We see this continue today. I worked part-time for local authorities because conditions of service made working and having small children possible. Even now, few workplace crèches have materialised. If more


1 https://the-artifice. com/the-map-thatcame-to-life/ 2 https://www. environment/2016/ mar/25/three-quartersof-uk-children-spendless-time-outdoorsthan-prison-inmatessurvey

3 https://www. Urban-PlaygroundHow-Child-FriendlyPlanning-and-DesignCan-Save-Cities/Gill/p/ book/9781859469293


Sue Lowenthal January 1955 with my father and brother, Hampstead Heath. © All images from the author's collection

women were in leading roles, would we see more now to benefit the current generation? We must act now on this to see benefits for future generations.

1990s to 2000s – Political change: public funding cuts & privatisation affect women in landscape. When my children were old enough, I worked full-time, but funding cuts and political changes meant local authorities were losing their design teams, and I wanted to continue in the landscape profession. After moving to a small landscape practice, I joined a large multidisciplinary consultancy at a lower grade. This was standard practice for anyone with a gap in their working life, and particularly affected returning mothers. Equality legislation helped change landscape professionals and support new landscapes in theory, but hours were long and not flexible, few mothers of small children worked there, and most managers

were still men. The work was varied and rewarding, and I was constantly learning new skills, so I hung on in there. But was a generation of women with valuable skills lost to the profession because the juggling was just too hard – did we succeed in trying to prevent this?

2010s to present - Benefits for women from environmental & equalities legislation & the pandemic; landscape and ageing.

I was not getting any younger and eventually took advantage of new legislation allowing anyone to ask for reduced hours. But were women compromising their progress by taking this route, which fewer men were doing? It gave me a functioning work-life balance without the default retirement age that affected many in earlier decades.

There is progress – young women landscape professionals have gained in confidence, whereas during my generation, it felt culturally unacceptable to boast. Despite this gradual change, women’s achievements at the upper levels of organisations are still not proportionate. Women may succeed professionally before having children, but what then? Is this still why it’s still easier for men to get to the top? My daughter – not a landscape architect – recently had a baby, and her company have offered her a promotion on her anticipated

return. We must recognise that having children can add skills, rather than be a hindrance.

Looking forward

I see some further positives as a result of the pandemic: combined with advances in technology, a hybrid between office and home working is now common. Working hours can flex around caring responsibilities which can benefit both men and women. Does most childcare and housework still fall on women? We must look to ways to change this.

Environmental legislation and the urgency of climate change mean the landscape profession’s skills are increasingly sought-after – experienced women are doing amazing work with landscape specialist expertise. With our understanding of the need to be future-ready, the importance of broader diversity and inclusion will make ours a profession genuinely reflective of the whole spectrum of society if we can tackle those big questions.

Susan Lowenthal is a Fellow of the Landscape Institute, with over 40 years’ experience within local government and the private sector currently working as an Associate Landscape & Urban Design Consultant for WSP UK Ltd in London.

2. Sometimes I had to take my daughters to site with me if childcare failed.
4. 59
Hackney, London c. 1990. 3. At Liverpool Garden Festival, 1984. 4. Garden of our Northumberland cottage, c 1979. 2. 3.

Gender inclusive design

Jade Goto opened the discussion by saying, “I live, work and exist in a world that has been designed by men, for men.” She continued, “women’s voices and differences in female physicality have been marginalised or ignored by a patriarchal society and it is only very recently it is occurring to people that this matters.”

‘’Perhaps more shocking is that this male bias is still at work in all our lives. Research by Caroline Criado Perez for her book ‘Invisible Women’1 demonstrates this.’ The research shows that the entire world has been designed to work best for the average

male. According to Perez, this happens in all aspects of modern life. Until very recently, even the regulatory size for the car crash test dummy....was designed to best fit the male body.’

Whilst the panel emphasised this complexity, simple solutions suggested included more lighting, more open and community spaces, wider pavements and avenues. Smarter infrastructure in parks, such as adequate lighting, CCTV, clear sightlines, plus the position of the toilets, multiple exits, and an open feeling to prevent entrapment were also felt to make a huge difference. These are examples, and as with all

design, there should be some care in the way these principles are applied: for example, greater levels of lighting can have an impact on wildlife, wider pavements can alter the character of streets, sightlines can change the intimacy of a space.

Eleanor Trenfield explains, “from their early teens, females are often inadvertently made to feel uncomfortable in public spaces or to feel that these spaces are not for them. Take, for example, the work that Make Space for Girls is doing to raise the profile of this issue and campaign for more inclusive design in parks for teens, where most

1 https:// carolinecriadoperez. com/book/invisiblewomen/ 2 project/oxted-quarry/ 3 project/commissionersroad-strood/

EDLA was founded five years ago by Eleanor Trenfield. In a panel discussion, the founding director and three of her colleagues consider how different the world would be if women had played a more significant role in designing it.
Eleanor Trenfield, Jade Goto, Georgia Timpson and Jaya Wighe

1. Oxted Road –EDLA’s current project Oxted Quarry illustrates how public realm can be designed in a way which is welcoming and engaging to all.


2. Commissioner Road, Strood- One such EDLA scheme where nature and play friendly design is at the heart is Commissioners Road, in Strood. The design sees a wide array of public open space, with a wealth of green and blue infrastructure, and several creative play areas. The scheme connects nature to new homes for people and children in the area by using the existing topography to create a site-specific response to play.


provision is aimed at boys. Take the Fields in Trust Guidance, on which most local authorities now base their play requirements. This does not even acknowledge that boys and girls use open space differently and proposes sports uses that will be primarily used by boys”.

EDLA’s current project, Oxted Quarry in Kent2, illustrates how public realm can be designed in a way which is welcoming and engaging to all. The project which would provide 75 new homes and 57 acres of parkland created within a lime quarry, has been influenced by the principles of safety for woman and proposes wide pathways, clear sightlines, and adequate lighting which is mindful of ecological concerns.

Georgia Timpson argues that “public realm needs to be designed so women can be seen but not watched”. This may take the form of ‘natural surveillance’, such as street vendors, other residents and passers-by. High boundary walls that block people off, or dark unlit areas without exits, ultimately increase the risk of danger to women. This was also something that was considered in EDLA’s Oxted scheme.

would have been different was in the celebration of softness in design. It was felt currently that angularity and strength was more respected than gentler, softer solutions. This has an impact on both the design for children and how nature is seen and used in space making; both rarely considered. An approach that tackles this is on Commissioners Road, Strood3. In this project, EDLA was commissioned to design public open space, with a wealth of green and blue infrastructure including creative play areas. The scheme connects nature to the new homes for people and children in the area by using the existing topography to create a site-specific response to play. The use of natural play elements such as wood, stone, sand, and plants also foster creative play among children, while blending cohesively into the surroundings.

“Until we change how we are taught, challenge the syllabus, and do much more to encourage and retain women in professions historically considered ‘male’ to broaden the range of voices present, then the status quo will never change.”

The panel considered how woman typically lean into to each other and bond together and felt that design could be used more effectively to bring people out of their houses, build communities and encourage cohesion.

The second aspect discussed by the panel was the belief that if women had been at the helm, space would have been designed to be more conducive to collective social and community experiences. The panel considered how woman typically lean into to each other and bond together and felt that design could be used more effectively to bring people out of their houses, build communities and encourage cohesion.

Simple ideas recommended by the group include the use of circular seating design that creates central open meeting spaces, spaces with natural shade for baby changing, and spaces that are accessible to prams as well as people with disabilities – automatically encouraging more inclusivity.

The third aspect that the participants felt

2. 2.

These design elements not only serve young people, but also increase the scheme’s biodiversity gains.

Jade believes that ‘if women were present in all the professions that create space, nature would have historically been much higher on the agenda. As I believe women would have more instinctively known the benefits that integrating the natural environment in public spaces offers to communities”.

The group ended the discussion considering the part that education plays. Eleanor said:

Eleanor Trenfield is the director and founder of EDLA. She is a sessional tutor at the University for the Creative Arts and a Design Council Associate and Member of the Design Review Panel.

Jade Goto is an Associate Consultant at EDLA, a graduate of Kingston University with an MA from the University of Greenwich.

Jayashree (Jaya) Wighe has a postgraduate degree in Landscape Urbanism from Kingston University.

Georgia Timpson is an Assistant Landscape Architect with a degree in Environmental Science from the University of Dundee.



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Research project

Earlier this year the Landscape Institute initiated a major piece of research intending to bring new insights into the economic structures and makeup of the landscape industry – the Landscape Skills and Workforce Research – comprising an extensive survey, secondary data analysis, and a series of one-to-one interviews. Ahead of its publication later this year, we highlight some of the findings on gender.

As the research nears completion, we look at one element of the “landscape economy”, the extent to which the sector itself contains biases relating to gender, in its workforce and in its pay structures.

We’ve known of the gender disparity issues facing the landscape sector for some time. While entry into the profession is generally balanced (i.e. the number of graduates is broadly 50% male/female), as individuals progress through their careers, we have historically seen a drop off of women in more senior positions. Much of the previous evidence for this was anecdotal, although the Landscape Institute’s 2018 State of

the Landscape report did provide quantitative evidence to support what many in the sector already knew. One of the major findings of that report was that:

“Chartership has a significant impact on income, especially within the £35,000 to £50,000 range. Nearly half of chartered members fall into this salary range, compared to just 14% of licentiate (associate) members. While gender balance within this salary bracket is relatively comparable, it falls away significantly in the £50,000+ range. More than twice as many men as women fall into this category, showing significant inequalities in terms of career progression.”

The 2022 report shows limited change within the sector, four years later.

Gender pay disparity is a common issue across industries and not just in the landscape sector. Data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed that median hourly pay for full-time employees was 7.9% less for

women than for men in April 2021.1 There have been some small-scale initiatives over the last few years aiming address this; for instance Women and Leadership International (WLI) offered grants in 2019 to enable participation in a leadership development programme to women working in landscape.2

A complement to that has included awareness campaigns, such as the LI’s 2020 Jellicoe lecture that addressed the topic of diversity in landscape. This, of course, included a conversation on the sector’s gender gap, asking how we can better champion and support women throughout their careers, and how we can identify and address bias and sexism that hinders the advancement of our female members.³ And most recently, the LI’s 2022 graduation ceremony hosted a round table discussion. Led by the immediate Past President, Jane Findlay CMLI, an all-women panel looked at alternative routes in to the profession and discussed individual approaches to tackling the disparity issue.4

While all relatively small-scale, they all played an important role in the work needed to tackle the issues facing the sector. There’s no single solution and practical support, awareness building, and education are all needed.

Beyond the landscape sector, there has been some national policy change. Since 2017, if an employer has a headcount of over 250, they must comply with regulations on gender pay gap reporting.5 This has led to much more transparency in issues of gender and pay across the country

1 https://commonsli research-briefings/ sn07068/#:~:text=Ac cording%20for%20 the%20Office%20 for,(figures%20 exclude%20over time%20pay).

2 https://www. news/women-leader ship-funding-2020/


median hourly pay for full-time employees was 7.9% less for women than for men in April 2021.1

The Landscape sector workforce is male dominated, white and relatively older.

and of course the landscape sector itself. Interestingly, the Landscape Skills and Workforce report has shown that there are relatively few landscapespecific firms over 250, (94 from the secondary data analysis) but the larger multidisciplinary consultancies and big suppliers, such as Arup and Marshalls, have had to report under this legislation.

This is just a small selection of the work of those in the sector and beyond have been doing, but has it been enough?

The LI’s latest piece of research, the Landscape Skills and Workforce Report 2022, gives us a clear picture of what progress, if any, has been made. Not unexpectedly, it highlights little progress in the intervening years, with continued poor workforce diversity and a stark gender pay gap.

The main headline with regards to gender is a stark one: ‘The Landscape sector workforce is male dominated, white and relatively older.’

Analysis of ONS data across the

Gender pay gap

3 https://www.landsca jellicoe-2020-address ing-diversity-in-land scape/ 4 https://www. news/landscape-insti tute-graduation-cere mony-2022/ 5 uk/government/ collections/gen der-pay-gap-reporting 6 https://www.ciob. org/sites/default/ files/CIOB%20 research%20-%20

The%20Changing%20 Role%20of%20 Women%20in%20 the%20Construc tion%20Workforce.pdf

sector reveals a gender split that in some sub-sectors is still severe (such as the high proportion of men working in maintenance and groundskeeping roles). By contrast our survey results demonstrate a more balanced picture, with a higher proportion of women in all segments. This ultimately suggests two things: 1. limitations of the ONS classifications; and in particular how landscape professionals who are not well-defined in their day-to-day jobs can slip through the “statistical cracks” when it comes to measurement; and 2. A possibility that the landscape profession has moved towards a more representative workforce. This is borne out by membership data from the LI and other comparable bodies, and suggests that gender disparities in construction and the built environment are a result of other non-landscape sectors. Survey results show a higher number of women in the landscape workforce, with a 55.9%-58.8% proportion of women across all segments.

Workforce profile

While our own survey data is illustrating a positive shift within the industry and one that should be celebrated, there is no doubt that there are still challenges in some segments of practice. It is worth noting that the limitations of the ONS data and the way our members categorise their own occupational segments may be different. For example, ONS data for build and management cover specific occupational codes including groundskeepers, managers and proprietors in agriculture, horticulture, forestry, and related services, and gardeners and landscape gardeners.

Adjacent occupations have similar issues and other professional bodies have noted these. A report from the Chartered Institute of Building summarised the challenges faced by women in construction: “The construction industry has a poor public image, synonymous with high cost, low quality and chaotic working practices. Women therefore tend to choose not to enter an industry that fails to acknowledge their ability, and all too often places them in a hostile and threatening environment.”6

As such it is unsurprising that the numbers of women working in more on-site and construction contexts is much lower in our data. Professionals working in site management, clerks of works, etc., have an uphill battle, fighting for both landscape and environmental values and their place on site.

There still remains an issue with significant gender wage disparities across the sector. Even when compared across job level, men

The landscape workforce is significantly older and whiter than the average UK workforce 100% 80% 60% 40% 20% 0% White Female Over 40
The landscape workforce is marginally more female than the UK average, but experiences the same gender pay gap. 100% 80% 60% 40% 20% 0% Male over £60k Female over £60k Male £35k to £60k Female £35k to £60k Male up to £35k Female up to £35k % male % female 65

Salary of respondents by gender

Wage disparities are prevalent across every job level

19% of males earn above £35k compared to 5% for females.

58% of males earn above £35k compared to 48% for females.

63% of males earn above £45k compared to 45% for females.

consistently earn higher wages than women, despite the latter being, on average, more qualified through academic routes. In the survey, 85% of women had a Masters compared to 73% of men. The gap also widens significantly with seniority.

The qualitative data gathered from the survey through in-depth interviews with stakeholders across the sector allowed us to identify several additional barriers faced in the landscape sector. Our research shows that limited entry routes to the profession combined with low rates of interdisciplinary movement and collaboration exacerbate the known issues of poor workforce diversity and a stark gender pay gap. Put simply: the more barriers there are, the harder it is to break each of them down.

Another factor which makes this more problematic, is the low levels of job title coherence in the profession (and mainstream understanding of what landscape is) as highlighted in our survey and interviews. This adds yet another layer of complexity to this already dense problem. Fighting for both the most basic needs of your gender, and for the respect of your chosen profession undoubtedly becomes wearing.

Our latest research has sadly shown us that the problem still persists and progress is being made at a snail’s pace. We need to acknowledge that this will by no means change quickly, and while we are heading in the right direction, there’s still a lot to be done.

One thing’s for sure: a performative approach focusing only on discussion simply isn’t enough. Tangible, impactful actions need to be taken to effect change. While these things take time and progress is being made slowly but surely, there’s still a lot of work to be done, and the impact of global challenges over the past few years certainly haven’t helped.

COVID-19 highlighted the continued caring and pay inequalities for women in landscape. The Women and Equalities Commission (WEC) concluded that the furlough scheme failed to consider “well-understood labour market and caring inequalities faced by women.”7 Their report “Coronavirus and the gendered economic impact” showed that women bore the greater brunt of childcare in the pandemic, with support schemes exacerbating pre-existing inequalities. This has hit numerous small and micro private sector organisations within the landscape sector especially hard.

Even the aforementioned gender pay gap reporting was affected when in February of 2021, it was announced that employers would have an additional six months after the current deadline to report their gender pay gap information, potentially causing delays to the work needed to protect women against discrimination and unequal pay.

As a sector though, we are moving in the right direction. This year saw the LI co-sign a memorandum of understanding with six other built environment organisations, with three

core strands of action: data collection, improving understanding of transition from education into employment, and raising the standards of EDI knowledge, behaviours and practice.8 The implementation of the action plan will be a starting point, but there’s plenty more to do, whether this be small scale monetary interventions, changes in HR practices or larger societal/legislative shifts.

Romy Rawlings made the statement back in 2019 that “landscape practices could do a lot more to nurture talent that is otherwise lost: flexible working and ‘return to work’ schemes being key.”9 The last few years could be seen to be having a positive impact in this respect where, albeit due to necessity, the benefits of flexible working have been well demonstrated and documented.

The LI is working to address these issues at the strategic level, it can ultimately only be solved through individual employers – and everyone can play a role in moving towards a more equitable landscape profession.

Lucy Pickford worked at the Landscape Institute as Membership Marketing Manager.

Benjamin Brown is Head of Policy and Insight at the Landscape Institute, and led the 2022 Landscape Skills and Workforce Research

7 https://www.landsca covid-19-highlights-ine qualities-women-land scape/ 8 https://www. landscapeinstitute. org/news/built-envi ronment-bodies-com mit-to-three-year-ac tion-plan-to-im prove-equity-diversi ty-and-inclusion/ 9 https://www. blog/future-state-land scape-diversity-chal lenges/

35% 30% 25% 20% 15% 2% 5.0% 0.0% % of respondents by gender
Female Male <£25k Gender trend reverses Entry level role
Mid level role Senior level role 25–£35k £35–£45k £45–£60k £60–£80k £80–£100k >£100k

Improving women’s safety in public spaces

Earlier this year, we surveyed over 900 people to understand their feelings about safety when it comes to public spaces. One of the key findings was that 79% of people feel more unsafe when out at night and are on average 12 times more likely to avoid such areas than in daylight hours.

Parks and gardens are considered the least safe spaces when it’s dark, with 80% of people avoiding them during this time – 40 times higher than in the daytime. Waterways, such as canals, were seen as the least safe public spaces when it’s light; 11% stated they actively avoided such places during this time, however, during dark hours, this figure increased almost seven times to 76%.

Residential streets were considered the safest of all public spaces, yet nearly a quarter (24%) said they still avoided them when it’s dark. Beaches, transport hubs and town centres were also named as places

people would avoid outside of daylight hours.

We also found that some people commonly change their behaviour to improve their perceived safety when out in public. Often, people walk a longer route that is busier and/or better lit (64%), or cross the street to avoid others (58%). Other safety measures include only wearing one earphone or listening at a lower volume (32%) and carrying a personal alarm (11%).

Safety and the sexes

Alongside the clear differences between perceptions of safety from day to night, another strong narrative

A new report from Marshalls highlights that four out of five people feel more unsafe when it’s dark in public spaces, and 86% of women think about their safety when out in public –regardless of the time of day. What more can our industry do to improve feelings of safety for all in the public realm?
1 Krizman J, Skoe E, Kraus N. Sex differences in auditory subcortical function. Clin Neurophysiol.
Johanna Elvidge
© Marshalls

also emerged in our research: women have heightened concerns about their safety in communal spaces. We saw that 84% of women feel more unsafe when out and about alone compared with 44% of men. On average, 31% of women think about safety ‘all the time’ and over half think about safety at least ‘some of the time’ when in public spaces. Our research also found that women under the age of 21 were the most safety conscious group.

As a design profession that is largely dominated by men, it’s important that our industry consciously considers the experiences of women, and indeed all groups, to create public areas that feel safe for everyone to use. Specific regulations are in place around safety in terms of features like path widths, the use of ramps and step heights, and these must be adhered to in the planning of any public space. But as important are factors like acoustics, paths of vision and wayfinding – all of which contribute to a feeling of safety. There’s a plethora of design advice and regulatory guidance on the management of acoustics inside buildings, for example, but the importance of soundscape quality is less often a critical concern in public realm design. Acoustics, however, are proven to contribute to the enjoyment and sense of security within a public space, especially for less able users. Certain ambient sounds, such as bird song or human voices, for example, can help create social presence in shared spaces, often leading to an increased feeling of safety. In contrast, artificial nuisance sounds, such as loud traffic, can significantly negatively impact the perception of safety.

Interestingly, many studies also suggest that women have a heightened sensitivity to sound1, meaning the impact of such considerations are equally amplified. This is corroborated by our research, with 85% of women surveyed saying that ease of hearing was an important factor in them feeling safe when in public spaces. Likewise, many respondents said a feeling of insecurity is often intensified wherever overall sensory input – such as vision – is restricted, through poor lighting or in cramped spaces.

Acoustics are therefore also a very

important consideration for people with visual impairment, who often also use sound to assist with navigation and to assess hazards.

Lessons for landscapes

What our findings demonstrate is that more could be done in the early design stages of public spaces to make people feel safe. Take transport hubs for example; there is existing guidance on how to design bus stops and train stations for inclusivity, yet they ranked as some of the places people actively avoid in the dark.

To support this process, we’ve used these research findings to develop our Creating Safer Spaces

We saw that 84% of women feel more unsafe when out and about alone compared with 44% of men.

“white paper” to help embed a wider consideration of safety in early public space design. The report highlights the significant difference between how the public view spaces at different times of the day and across a range of groups, explores the reasons for the public’s heightened awareness of safety when it’s dark, and outlines a series of design pillars which supports architects, designers, planners and others in the industry to ensure safety is integrated into all public spaces.

Covering principles from vision and wayfinding, to acoustics and technology, these considerations should be used by industry to provoke fresh thinking and debate. Simple design choices such as the height of a hedge or the use of textured materials, for example, can have a big impact on whether people feel and are safe in our shared spaces.

By considering safety during the feasibility and concept stages, the principles can be seamlessly integrated

and even enhance other key factors, including biodiversity and accessibility, with compelling results. As well as the effects of perceived safety at an individual level, our report explores the macro consequences of when public spaces are designed and built with safety, at all times of the day, in mind. These range from improved mental and physical health, impact on climate change and economic growth.

Designing for all

As designers, we cannot simply prescribe what is deemed ‘safe’, as this appears and feels differently to everybody. True safety is when public spaces reflect our mixed society –which comes back to the need to engage people from all demographics, backgrounds and lifestyles in the design of every type of space.

Community engagement at the early design stage is critical, with the common goal of ensuring planned public spaces work for everybody.

Download Creating Safer Spaces:

Johanna Elvidge is a landscape designer with more than 20 years’ experience working in the construction industry. As well as holding numerous design qualifications, including a Masters in Landscape Architecture from Leeds Beckett University, Johanna is a visiting lecturer to landscape architecture students, was a finalist in the SGD awards 2021 and won the Arup Cities Alive: Rethinking Green Infrastructure prize in 2020.


GreenBlue Urban 30 Years of Collaboration

Now on LI Campus

20th October 2022

GreenBlue has always been proud to innovate, communicate and collaborate on many levels. Being keen educators, we have had to adapt during these past 2 years to a new way of working, but thankfully we have lived and grown in the digital age. Our CPD offerings have developed to take a hybrid approach by using online platforms and presenting in person. This method has been exceptionally successful and has allowed multiple offices from the same organisation to join online worldwide.

As we say, education and growth are essential for continued professional development, with a certificate to add to your professional training evidence on categories including; Best Practice Tree Planting, Trees and SuDS, Return on Investment, Landscape Below Ground and Mitigating & Adapting to Climate Change.

We openly offer our research outcomes and 30 years of expert knowledge to a wide range of industry professionals!

GreenBlue Urban have supported the Landscape Institute for many years, promoting healthy urban spaces, be it through the many in-person events and prestigious awards ceremonies, or through collaboration with key professionals, offering CPDs via their online education platform “Campus.”

Our collaboration continues Working alongside Treeconomics (an employee-owned enterprise that assists tree managers and communities to provide sustainable spaces for trees) and one of their members, Kenton Rogers, addresses the most common question that arises when planting trees in the urban realm: What is Return on Investment?

Collaborating on our publication: The Cost-Benefit Analysis of Trees, clients, developers, and specifiers can assess the annual return on investment for street tree planting – by comparing standard street planting to those in RootSpace systems over a 50-year period. Our work continues with dedicated site comparisons.

GreenBlue is an expert in the realm of Stormwater Management – with the introduction of the ArborFlow tree pit solution and the

Hydroplanter, Hydroplanter Flex

Raingarden solutions, and working with professionals such as Anthony McCloy, we have produced modelling guidance and are soon to launch our own innovative SuDS Calculator!

Our support of CIRIA and Susdrain helps provide engineers and designers with the tools to get realistic likely eco-system benefits from naturebased solutions, which is yet another weapon in the battle against mediocre stormwater management.

Recent Walking Tours featuring GBU case studies have been popular throughout the year, supporting TDAG, TfL, City of Trees and next year Urban Design London, to name a few.

Without collaboration across the sector, these beneficial tools to support our industry would not be possible. Sharing knowledge and skillset amongst others is the key to creating healthier urban spaces in which we can all live, work and play.

We would like to encourage collaboration across all disciplines of the landscaping journey process and encourage businesses to get in touch and use our platform to promote their current activities on our hugely popular webinar series.


As part of our 30th year, we have hosted our Manchester and London Conferences with key industry speakers, giving us an opportunity to say thank you for continued support, along with our NEW Edition 10 –Urban design Guide which is out now. To request your copy today, email Tel: 01580 830 800 @GreenBlueUrban

Site Modelling

The Site Modifier tool has been reworked from the ground up. Though the tool options should be familiar to you, what’s happening behind the scenes has changed radically. On top of improved update speeds, you can now nest grade limits inside other grade limits. This means that you don’t have to use 3D polys for TPZs and other areas you want to protect from surface changes. You can still nest site modifiers, just like before, but they can now overlap and sit side by side.

the quantities changing. The hedgerow will also automatically follow the site model surface and create a single block hedgerow, perfect for IFC export.


Model Like You Have Never Modelled Before Now on

LI Campus

18th October 2022

Dedicated to looking at the new feature of Vectorworks Landmark 2023, the webinar in October detailed some of the most exciting updates to the programme in years. Opportunities for well-honed Vectorworks users and beginners alike, the new and improved tools covered offer a great many opportunities for improving your workflows and designing and illustrating your work. These updates included:

The site modifiers also have two new modes – Pathway mode and Aligned. The Pathway builds on the principal of creating longitudinal and transverse profiles, making it super easy to specify slope and boundary. The Aligned mode allows you to create smooth transitions between planar pads, just like the aligned hardscape. Related to site modelling – objects can now be sent not only to the surface of the site model, but also of hardscape objects and landscape areas.

Softscape – New additions

We’ve launched an entirely new tool: the Hedgerow tool. This allows you to specify mixed hedging in plants per linear metre. By tying the quantities to linear units, you can still illustrate your hedgerow at mature spread, without

For illustrations, there is also a huge new feature – Laubwerk trees are now available in Vectorworks, and you can include them as part of your plant styles. There are several levels of detail included, so you can work with the most conceptual forms while developing the scheme – and then switch over to high detail for any illustrations. Explore these features in detail by watching the recording on LI Campus.

At Vectorworks, we’re constantly developing new features, but we’ve also started a project that looks at all the existing features to make them more streamlined for the industry. If you have any ideas or suggestions on what you’d like to see included – new features or improvements – please go to our public roadmap, https://, and leave a comment. It’s only through a constant dialogue with our users that Vectorworks can continue to develop this tailor made tool for the landscape industries.

2. 71

Angels in the detail.

Precision and attention to detail were the vital ingredients Hardscape and its sister company IP Surfaces brought to the project to create the ‘Halo’ Carrara marble Glade of Light Memorial within the Medieval Quarter, Manchester to the 22 people who died in a terrorist attack at Manchester Arena on 22 May 2017.

The Memorial was conceived by BCA Landscape, working in partnership with designers Smiling Wolf. Together, working closely with families, they created a memorial which serves as a space for reflection and remembrance.

Shivani Gunawardana is a landscape architect at BCA Landscape; she said: “It has been an honour to be involved in the Glade of Light, and to help all of those affected by this tragedy as we imagine and realise this special place. Our design ideas have always come from a place of heart-felt respect and deep sympathy, with a design that centres around a halo of white marble featuring the names of the 22 victims set in bronze. We sincerely hope it becomes a special place where we can all briefly pause time, find a place of stillness, and reflect a while.”

Produced in conjunction with the Landscape Institute’s 100th anniversary of founding member and landscape architect Brenda Colvin and with a special focus on Women and Design.

For further information on all our paving products please visit: or telephone: 01204 565 500.

The Glade of Light Memorial & Medieval Quarter, Manchester Client: Manchester City Council Design Team: BCA Landscape, Smiling Wolf, Galliford Try, Civic Engineers. Medieval Quarter Masterplan by Planet-IE

The Journal of the Landscape Institute

Designing for gender equality

Issue 3 –2022
Spine 5.2 mm TBC

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Articles inside

Improving Women’s Safety in Public Spaces

pages 67-69

Landscape Skills and Workforce Research Project

pages 64-66

Gender Inclusive Design

pages 60-61

Access to Nature – My Life in Landscape

pages 58-59

New Models for Running Landscape Practices

pages 56-57

Safer by Design

pages 54-55

Cultivating Culture

pages 52-53

Seeing the World through the Eyes of a Child

pages 50-51

Making the World Inclusive for People Suffering from Post-natal Depression

pages 48-49

New Life for a Classic

pages 46-47

The Impact of Gender on Career Progression

pages 44-45

Reimagining the Past

pages 41-42

The Changing Relationship between Women and Chinese Landscape

pages 38-40

Designing for Gender Equality

pages 35-37

Advocating for Design

pages 30-34

Past Perfect

pages 25-28

A President for the Unprecedented

pages 20-24

Blue Plaques Blues

pages 17-19

Celebrating the ‘not-seen’

pages 10-16

Reflecting seventy years of landscape architecture

pages 9-16
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