LANDSCAPEmatters Journal - Issue 4

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Scott Farlow 2 London: Let's take care Robert Holden and Tom Turner 3 Nature-tecture Anna Liu 4 COP26: Spirituality in the Landscape Edward Hutchison 5 COP26: Climate Culture Merrick Denton Thompson 6 Blot on... The Landscape Robert Holden 7 Book reviews 8 Letters 9 Website writ


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1 Discover the Goat within

Front cover image: Second general view of Heidelberg Castle. Charles de Grainbery, 1815

Please contribute comments and ideas for articles to

Submitted work needs to be: themed rather than primarily self promotional referenced and contribute to the stated objectives

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Concept : Edward Hutchison, Brodie McAllister Editors : Brodie McAllister, Edward Hutchison Graphic Design : Ben Betts, Susan Scott Website writ co-ordination : Robert Holden Social media/web development : Ben Betts

Disclaimer: The authors are responsible for the accuracy of articles and the views expressed; copyright of material rests with the authors and those they credit

Welcome to ISSUE

4 of the journal.

Often overlooked in our rush to solve practical concerns, in this last edition of the year, we have a couple of articles exploring the spiritual side of our approach to landscape, Discover the Goat Within and Spirituality in the Landscape; the latter is part of two articles on COP26, including a successfully shortlisted presentation on farming for the future and our relevance as a profession. This is accompanied by a feature that critically analyses the principles of London’s landscape, arguing for a more careful, holistic approach; plus an architect’s perspective on nature. While in London, we introduce the first of a new series of Blot on the Landscape- a satirical view of things that went 'pear shaped'. The book reviews cover a beautifully illustrated set of accounts of pilgrimages to Mount Athos in Greece and a book that acts as a resource in the planning of flood scape strategies. The Letters section gives an update on the Holocaust Memorial in Victoria Tower Gardens and an alternative design approach. Open space is often underfunded and under threat in our urban areas; a very worrying trend. Last in this section, one reader revisits the classic book, Landscape and Memory. We have our usual round up of website references and of special mention is the back page luminous woodblock print and accompanying poem. Remember to write in with calendar events for our next issue. Use the magnify tool if illustrations are too small for you and copy and paste weblinks into your web browser. We would be grateful if you could forward this magazine on to others who might be interested and ask them to register for future free copies via the website. Please continue to check our website and follow us on social media:, Instagram @landscapemattersjournal Twitter @LMJournal



Discover the Goat within Scott Farlow

I HAVE BEEN THINKING about goats lately. I grew up in the borderlands of Kent and East Sussex. Hop gardens and orchards were my playgrounds and I had a pet goat called Humbug. Humbug was old and wise, mischievous and playful, semi-feral, stubborn, sardonic, inquisitive, charming, intelligent and creative. He was excellent company and he was my friend. Like much of the evocative landscapes of my youth, he is gone, but I am left with memories of profound significance as I now reflect upon my life, my work and what it means to be an artist, poet, teacher and landscape architect in these challenging and unsettling times.

He was excellent company and he was my friend. Some of you might be familiar with an artwork by Robert Rauschenberg called Monogram. It is part of a series of works that Rauschenberg called Combines and evolved through three states between 1955 and 1959. The focus of Monogram is the fusion of a stuffed Angora goat and a car tyre. Homoerotic interpretations aside, such unexpected and symbolic blending of the natural and the industrial invites us to question our understanding of the ever-changing world and the often fraught relationship between nature and human activity. Above: Monogram by Robert Rauschenberg.

Rauschenberg said that the goat and the tyre ‘lived happily ever after’, a statement that surely renders the work as potent (and ironic) today as it was at its conception. If not more so. In contemplating the implied messages of the forced connection between a dead goat and a tyre, and thus the duality (and reality) of this ‘terrible beauty’, I am mindful of the bewildering complexities of our contemporary world. It goes without saying that the issues we are facing are seriously big. They are present, they are now and they clearly aren’t going away any time soon. Unlike the inanimate sculpture,

they directly and indirectly influence our daily lives, our interconnectedness, our behaviours, thoughts, feelings, relationships and actions, the world over. And, as we are all too aware, we must face our fears and collectively seek ways to address them with all of the aliveness, humility, determination and imagination that we can muster.

How can a profession do this effectively if it has lost its soul, its raison d'être, its essence? This, quite naturally, includes landscape architects. But here's the thing, how can a profession that is uniquely placed to reimagine, create, make, nurture and celebrate the processes of life, do this effectively if it has lost its soul, its raison d’être, its essence? Monogram is, in many ways, more than an artistic statement about the collision and entanglement of man and nature; to me it represents the multiple tensions, complexities, uncertainties and inertias that are currently manifest in landscape architecture. Unlike the sculpture, the world is not static or inanimate. Whilst the profession exists in a quiet and perpetual state of identity crisis and unresolved soul-searching, others (including some within it) are at the vanguard of innovative creative expression, of understanding the value of meaningful socially-engaged practice, collaboration and shared learning and embracing the simple complexity that makes landscape architecture such a potentially rich and rewarding endeavour. Landscape architecture, in both academia and practice, is like the trapped goat being throttled by the tyre of its own making. Whilst it might represent symbiosis, and offer deeper meanings, it also highlights deeper existential issues that, unless the goat is set free, are potentially terminal.

Process is more important than outcome. When the outcome drives the process we will only ever go to where we’ve already been. If process drives outcome we may not know where we’re going, but we will know we want to be there. (from: An Incomplete Manifesto for Growth. Bruce Mau. 1998) Repetition is not truth. Or particularly imaginative. Culture and nature are in a continual process of change. In order to thrive,


landscape architecture needs to commit to exchange and mediation and define a new authentic, hopeful and imaginative truth. It needs to climb out of itself, show greater humility and compassion, be open to wider discourses and welcome genuine and enduring collaboration with other creative disciplines as well as actively seeking out opportunities for enriching community dialogues. Landscape architects are part of a process; landscape design and designed landscapes are interventions in a process bigger than themselves. It is all about the context and this merits significant exploration. We, like goats, are part of the bigger picture. We live in relation to, and in relationship with, others. This includes the living, the non-living and the stuff that supports life. Much of our existence is dependent upon reciprocity; of give and take. As we are beginning to understand, if an exchange is unfair, imposed or imbalanced, there is often trouble. So, landscape architects need to pay more attention. We need to listen more acutely and we need to see context not just in terms of the immediacy of place, but as a series of layered dimensions and interwoven narratives. Much of context is hidden from view: in the stories held in the landscape, in memories, in lived experiences (including our own), in the lost, the forgotten and the unknown, in the silence and the din and in the banality and beauty of the ordinary and the everyday. We are all too quick to dismiss these qualities because we either don’t actually look carefully enough or we fail to see them as having intrinsic value and relevance to our work. And this is a problem because in ignoring them, we are ignoring the fundamentals of life – including our own lives – and perpetuating a frustrating and increasing disconnection from the rich potential of our thoughtful and thought-provoking purpose.

Above: Thomas Thwaites 'taking a holiday from being human'.

At this point, I am reminded of Thomas Thwaites who, in 2016, ‘took a holiday from being human’ and became a goat in the Alps for a few days. Literally. His quest was to get outside of himself and experience the world from a completely different perspective. We don't all need to become goats, but for all of our contemporary sophistication, we are still part of the

magic of nature and, as many of us will acknowledge, taking notice and being in the moment is definitely good for us. If not GoatMan, then perhaps the pandemic has taught us something about relinquishing control and the true value of empathy, community and nature connection?

Like goats, we live in complex social groups, we are instinctively collaborative, we all thrive on kindness and affection Each landscape, constructed or ‘natural’, is unique to itself and landscape architects – students and practitioners alike must become immersed in the true feeling of the earth, the myths, the legends, the echoes, the ghosts, the soul and spirit of the place in order to appreciate and respond to that which makes it distinctive. Landscapes hold memories and make memories. GoogleEarth and the consumer culture are severing our sensory connection with this profound felt reality and our willingness and ability to create new stories that inspire rich new experiences is becoming seriously threatened. We are animals, not computers, and we should intentionally make meaningful places for the enjoyment, enrichment and celebration of living (and dying); this must be fundamental to the teaching, learning and practice of landscape architecture. Our collective intention should therefore be a determined, imaginative and ethical process of critical enquiry, experimentation, shared learning, creativity, transformation and reflection. Openness and open-mindedness should be at the heart of the matter, along with a sincere, enthusiastic and committed rediscovery of the pencil, charcoal, collage and hand- made models. We don’t know what the future holds but one without these essential tools will seriously diminish the quality of our craft. Like goats, we live in complex social groups, we are instinctively collaborative, we all thrive on kindness and affection, some of us have excellent memories, others are superb communicators and others still are experts at getting to the hard to reach places for sustenance. And who can ignore the gaze of a goat? Perhaps we need to reclaim the goat within and rediscover our anima loci. Dare you say ‘bah humbug’ to that, after all, Landscape Matters doesn’t it?



London: Let's take care Robert Holden and Tom Turner

WE SHOULD CARE for the appearance of our capital city, its public spaces, its parks, its streets and the RiverThames. The central section of the Thames is in particular need of comprehensive landscape strategies.The Greater London’s Authority’s Blue Ribbon policy gives the river some protection. But we do not have sufficiently effective policies for views, skylines or green roofs from and along the river. Each of the 32 London Boroughs can develop high rise policies and long stretches of the river are dominated by skyscrapers.The only effective planning policies for high buildings are Conservation Area status (70% of the City of Westminster), World Heritage Site status (which applies to Parliament and Westminster Abbey and theTower of London) and St Paul’s Height’s for the area SW of St Paul’s Cathedral. These policies are patchy and exclude much of London south of theThames.The GLA’s Views Management Policies are largely ineffective. Matchboxes and look-at-me architecture At borough level, apart from an occasional ‘no’, planners seem happy to say ‘yes’ to every proposal. Many developments, like Southbank Place, PLATE 1 are conventionally dreary ‘matchbox architecture’. Others are towers of crazed idiosyncrasy: attention-seeking designs for never-seen-before shapes, like St George Wharf Tower by Vauxhall Bridge. Made of glass, steel and concrete, these are hugely expensive structures, costly in embodied carbon, with large ecological footprints and few living walls or roofs.The residential skyscrapers of Southwark, Lambeth and Wandsworth overshadow each other and create hostile microclimates. PLATE 2 Many are owned for speculative reasons by non-residents.They are often unoccupied, as are the open spaces between them. PLATE 3 The offices of the City of London skyline is more ‘larkitecture’ than architecture with the central reach of the river becoming a dark canyon with its few historic buildings appearing as gaps on the mouth of a tired old horse. PLATE 4.

‘But this sort of thing is happening to every city skyline in the world’, you might say.That is largely true but there are cities with coherent skyline policies: Paris, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Edinburgh, Florence, and Rome. So why not London?The skylines of the Gulf states are models to avoid. 1. Matchbox architecture Southbank Place (2016-22, and masterplanned by Squire and Partners). Like tall plants in a herbaceous border, tall buildings should not be on the riverfront

2. St George Wharf Tower, Vauxhall, car crash architecture

3. Southbank Place: empty streets but for security officers

4. The City of London’s ‘larkitecture’

The problem is that in London skyline policy rests with a development industry which has, at best, zilch interest in public spaces and how they look and work as part of a urban composition. Development is led by financiers, surveyors, architects and planners.They’re all needed, of course. But a significant professional skill is absent from the top table: the ability to relate the design of buildings and other structures to their context and to each other, conceived historically, geographically, ecologically, scenically, socially and with regard to a strategic vision for London’s urban landscape. A rare example of getting it right, is the recent ministerial decision to refuse permission for no. 8 Albert Embankment, which involved two towers upto 26 storeys high on the site of the former London Fire Brigade Headquarters next to the southern bridgehead of Lambeth Bridge.The ministerial refusal was because of the harm of the proposals to the Palace of Westminster World Heritage Site, and to the nearby Lambeth conservation areas, including Lambeth Palace. This absence of care also applies at ground level. The Garden Bridge is a case in point. Forty-five million pounds and considerable talent was invested in an aborted project. London would benefit from a well-planted bridge with no motorised vehicles.The fundamental problems were: the bridge was in the wrong place; it would not have connected an origin to a destination; and it would have been slap in the middle of a reach of the river with very high scenic quality, the Canaletto view of St Paul’s. The most publicised image of the bridge was a birdseye view that might appeal to the trainee helicopter pilots, who love following the river, but would be otherwise unseen. If a little expert time had been invested in these contextual issues London would now have a worthy successor to the famous Old London Bridge which stood from 1209–1831.


Very sadly, a similar mistake is being made with the development of a much-loved public garden into a million-a-year visitor attraction. VictoriaTower Gardens next to Parliament will become a grand pathway to a Holocaust Memorial and Information Centre in its western corner.The siting decision for the Holocaust Memorial should have been guided byThameside landscape strategies, instead of by some politico’s dinner-table whim.The Inspector for the recent planning inquiry advised that ‘All parties agree that the proposed development would cause planning harm …’ and ‘the proposals would fail to preserve the character or appearance of the Westminster Abbey and Parliament Square Conservation Area.’ But the Inspector and the Minister still recommended that the project go ahead. Commodity, Firmness and Delight: a Thames Landscape Strategy So what components should go into a Central LondonThames Landscape Strategy? As Vitruvius advised, they should deal with Commodity, Firmness and Delight. And as Edmund Burke advised, they should consider the interests of ‘those who are living, those who are dead, and those who are to be born.’ More particularly, the area requires: (1) An Elevational Strategy, which should be equally bold but less prescriptive than the Nash-Repton plan for the buildings which surround Regent’s Park (2) A Massing Strategy, which composes riverside development, inspired by the planning of herbaceous borders, i.e. with the tallest items being located, as is the Shard at London Bridge, at the back of the river corridor, and with lower structures on the waterfront. PLATE 5 5. The Shard is pulled-back from the Thames but the beach is suffering from years of neglect by the Port of London Authority.

(3) A Shoreline Strategy, for realising theThames beaches as scenic, recreational and ecological assets (4) A Thames Path Strategy for further improving the walks which a council member of the ILA (now the LI), Sir Patrick Abercrombie, proposed in 1943-4. (5) A SustainableTransport Policy in favour of walking, cycling and public transport - remembering that people ride bikes in London for many reasons, including commuting, recreation and health. Main shopping streets, like Oxford Street, should be made shopper friendly by pedestrianisation (with electric trams

for the tired and less-able). Paris has shown how to do this effectively. (6) a Bridge Strategy, with a range of possible locations for new Thames crossings following desire lines (7) a Volunteer Strategy, to involve the local community in the planning, design and maintenance of London’s riverside landscape (8) an effective Urban Greening Policy, with street tree planting (models include Amsterdam and Paris or closer to home inter-War Bermondsey) and a net biodiversity benefit planning requirement for new development. What better way to reduce street air temperatures in hot summers than street trees? Net biodiversity benefit favours green roofs, green walls and green on the ground. In January 2021 the GLA London Plan introduced this for strategic development as an Urban Greening Factor.This is modelled on the German Biotope Area Factor (Biotopflächenfaktor) which Berlin introduced in 1993. However, it will take years for this to be effective at London borough level. Nationally (in England), the National Planning Policy Framework still does not specifically require this, yet such policies mitigate long-term implications for flood risk, water supply, biodiversity and landscapes, and the risk of overheating from rising temperature. Above all we need to care for our capital city, its river, its parks and its public spaces. And that requires clear and effective urban landscape planning. Reference The London Branch of the LI has hosted three evening events dealing with skyline policy (in the last decade) and the lectures are on the LAA website.



Nature-tecture Anna Liu


of human-led technological intervention, driven by the pre-eminence of science over nature, have continued to increase in scale. The myriad of processes has significantly altered nature’s systems. The extent of their consequences have become more manifest than ever: drought, flood, forest fire, storms, heat wave, poor soil quality and diminishing biodiversity. Agricultural and industrial technology have aggressively mined nature’s resources, mechanised nature’s ecosystem, and defied nature’s forces: gravity, cold, heat, rain, insects. In part due to greed, arrogance, and our limited knowledge of nature, we have separated ourselves from nature - an entity that we are an integral part of. Digital technology is bringing us back closer to nature, through the new found intelligence. We are gaining new knowledge about the solar system, the geology of our planet, and life on earth. Advanced cinematographic imaging: satellite, drone, endoscopic, microscopic, coupled with research, AI data processing and predictive tools, have delivered human beings to unprecedented breadth and depth in our understanding of nature. These insights include the devastating effects our interventions have had on Earth. Our future interventions in nature, as architects and landscape architects, shall be infused with a new sense of awe and wonder, informed by newly learned lessons on nature’s ingenuity, intricacy, systems, and interconnections. Our interventions in nature create essential places for our well-being, fulfilling our needs to be outdoors, and be with other people. These shared spaces reconnect human beings to nature and to one another. We shall continue to work with nature in three different scales: through symbols, elements, and biomimicry.

Nature connects to our sense of identity. Powerful symbols: mountain, river, flower, ocean, have through enduring, timeless myths connected our land to our identity - a collective, community identity rooted to place.

Shortlisted entry for the 2021 Davidson Prize: 'Home/Work - A New Future'

Our interventions in the landscape shall create transformative, emotional connections to nature. Holistic earthwork and human-scaled designs will embody compelling, universal emblems derived from nature. Place-making is empowered by story-telling, be they ancient myths or future visions, creating unique and extraordinary places. Nature awakens all of our senses: sight, sound, touch, taste, smell. Phenomenological delights of sunlight, rain, wind, and seasons animate architecture. We look to harness these elements with framed views, orientation, direct integration, amplification. In doing us, we bring nature to the fore of our daily experience.

ASKING LOOKING PLAYING MAKING We ask to find the story We look to illustrate the story We play to discover the form of the story We make to build the story

Our interventions in the landscape shall be integral to nature’s elements. Light, water, wind and planting become interactive, ever-changing elements that bring attention to nature. Routes and nodal points, dwell spaces, smart systems that enhance safety, legibility and social patterns of visitors all enhance the experience of nature. Design elements shall integrate nature’s element, to raise awareness of the timeless joys to be discovered. To bring nature to the fore of our hearts and minds. Nature teaches us important lessons about design, using the least to achieve the most. Design exemplars spanning 500 million years abound: structural, formal, environmental principles, integrated systems, family of parts, responsive and frugal systems that adapt to widely varying conditions.

Entry for 2021 Millom Iron Line competition

Our interventions in the landscape shall innovate with the exciting biomimetic spirit of our era. We shall core down into the eco-systems already on the sites and build on them through nature-based, resilient solutions. We shall design responsively, iteratively, adaptively, inventively, holistically and with an economy of means that respects Earth’s limited resources. We will innovate with intelligent systems, construction techniques, and detailing to enrich the ecosystem of each place.



COP26: Spirituality in the Landscape Edward Hutchison

MINGA IS AN eco-feminist movement of indigenous women. It was formed to vocalise the defence of indigenous territories - in Brazil and elsewhere - against the unbridled forces of capitalism and climate change. Tackling formidable obstacles such as male prejudice, press sanctions, Covid 19 travel restrictions and huge expense, forty of the original hundred women came to COP26 in Glasgow to articulate what is happening to their lands, their livelihoods and their sense of belonging. During a five-hour event, several panels of indigenous leaders took to the stage of Glasgow’s Centre for Contemporary Art to speak about the effect of the climate crisis on their cultures and habitats. Many described how their ancestors have lived in harmony with the earth and forest for millenia; but since the advent of European colonisation, their non-Occidental values, economic models and languages have seen these frameworks of knowledge marginalised.

As the tragic effects of climate change become indisputable, each panel proposed that our collective survival depends on populations in the Global North learning to flip this model: to learn humility, to listen to these ancient forms of knowledge, and to revise our understanding of land ownership and economic wealth. These reflections are of immediate relevance to life on our own shores: as much of our land in England comes under enormous pressure from large developers, now is the time to consider an assessment of land following the long-term values that indigenous people hold.

For these communities, spirituality is indivisible from the land; and vice versa.

Minga Indigena delegate Manuela Dahua of the Manga Urka nation speaks of the reality of the struggle to maintain sovereignty within the Sapara territory of the

This means that any decision has to take account of the spiritual life of a given site. The speakers described the measures taken to act in accordance with ancestors’ wishes - who may, for example, be buried in the ground close to a sacred site. As such, the connection between humans and territories is fundamental: the one is indistinguishable from the other. A woman may give birth on the land, bleed on the land, look after and love it all her lifetime until she dies. At this point, her body is given back to it: to decay and feed the land with her organic matter and the spirituality invested in it. She might then return to the same territory in a different life form – as an animal, bird or insect. The land is therefore a living, integral part of the social realm: it belongs to them and they belong to it. They look after it, sing to it, and give it the names of body parts. Mountains have feet, ears and mouths.

Ecuadorian rain forest. Video available on the @mingaindigenaorg Instagram page.

It therefore follows that for indigenous cultures, the land does not represent a property to be owned. It is not Real Estate, nor is it a resource for extraction. Indeed, the land weeps when it is eviscerated by imperialist forces that can only conceive of it in those terms. Imperialist forces driven exclusively by profit that blast into its sides to extract minerals, clear its forests to plant palms or poison its rivers with chemicals.

The impact of all this is not only ecological disaster: it is cultural genocide. The fundamental bond between humans and their territory is irrevocably destroyed. This constitutes a dual tragedy, as one Inuit leader declared: 'the land misses us, just as much as we miss the land'. In the so-called developed cultures of the Global North, many of us live in different areas in different chapters of our lives. And so, our relationship to the earth is different. For many of


us, it is strained, alienated and impoverished. On occasion, we might go for walks, or visit family graves to seek guidance from our ancestors. But our core empathy with the land has been broken. Unlike Brazil, large swathes of England have been deforested for centuries. However we can rebuild this connection. And in a sense the process is simple, as one indigenous leader stated: we simply have to listen.

Today, our land faces enormous pressures to accommodate a rising population. While the destruction of natural habitats is not inevitable to this process, if we are to avoid catastrophe we must urgently reframe our cultural values to include new kinds of humility, understanding and spiritual connection to a planet on which we depend. And in this process, we must listen to indigenous voices. Because it is those who have contributed the least to climate heating - those that live most lightly, respectfully and sustainably on its surface - who will experience its most cataclysmic effects. We owe it to them - and to ourselves - to listen!

Image courtesy of Minga Indigena website, accessed December 2021. https //

Spirituality involves the recognition of a feeling or sense or belief that there is something greater than myself, something more to being human than sensory experience, and that the greater whole of which we are part is cosmic or divine in nature. Spirituality means knowing that our lives have significance in a context beyond a mundane everyday existence at the level of biological needs that drive selfishness and aggression. It means knowing that we are a significant part of a purposeful unfolding of Life in our universe. Direct experience of truth as opposed to intellectual knowledge is considered key in mystical experience.

Dr Maya Spencer



COP26: Climate Culture Merrick Denton-Thompson, FLI PPLI


We will all have our own memories of the COP26 conference, but I fear for most it will not have been a very memorable event or one that should have embedded a fundamental shift in world culture. But for a Hampshire farm - the Cholderton Estate - used by the Landscape profession as an example of best practice for mixed farming, the COP26 conference was very memorable indeed. The Model Land Management Plan for the estate was entered into the Climate Challenge Cup, sponsored by the Government. The Cup attracted entries from across all industry in the UK and USA to award leadership and innovation in tackling climate change. The Cholderton Estate was an Award Winning Finalist in the top 6. The overall winner, sponsored by the construction industry, proposes to lock up carbon in concrete – brilliant idea, but do not ask me about the chemistry. For far too long the emphasis has been on development as a driver of the economy; today we need to change direction to nurture natural resources. This places a new imperative on resource management to secure our survival. Our Natural Capital is far more important as infrastructure than motorways, hospitals and schools. Clean air, clean water, healthy ecosystems are the fundamental building blocks of life, followed by food and shelter. To that extent the Planning system has failed us. We must adopt new disciplines to secure the future of Natural Capital, resilience for local communities, nature recovery for all land and water, the health and wellbeing of everyone.

How can the Landscape Profession help? A very high proportion of farms are managed by loan and often isolated professional farmers whose focus until now has been to produce food. Even farm advisers have a narrow

focus and for both the idea of multi-functional outcomes is a completely new challenge. Consequently, a very high proportion of farmers are struggling to know how to balance their business objectives with the ‘public goods’ agenda. At the same time the industry is struggling to understand how to make their business resilient to unpredictable weather patterns. Many are predicting a new set of emerging markets, such as the carbon market, so positioning estates to make the best use of new opportunities is yet another pressure. The preparation of Farm Management Plans requires as much imagination and innovation as the traditional urban based designs but our training on microclimate, soils, water, air and ecosystems places us in a unique position to help the industry face the new world. One of the contenders for setting rural agendas is using the National Character Areas (NCA) as the framework to articulate agendas at a scale the farming industry can relate to. After all the NCAs are a map not a plan, and they have been created by the farming community. We know that intervention within any one NCA is likely to have the same consequence across the whole of the NCA. The profession has defined the NCAs and can work on strategic policies at that scale. Management Plans that increase woodland cover to meet the new Government policies, that restore the health of soils, that transform the state of biodiversity, that secure the future of Natural Capital, that conserve the historic environment, that modernise access for health and wellbeing of local people are just a few of the challenges that the Landscape Profession can help the farming industry deliver.

Climate Challenge Cup Finalist So why did the Cholderton Estate do so well? We have been working with the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) on a model Land Management Plan of best practice for mixed farming on chalk soils. This is part of the


development of the Environmental Land Management system design coming on line in 2024 worth £3.5 billion of public investment today. The Cholderton Plan delivers numerous public goods in addition to great food. Essentially delivering a set of multi-functional outcomes for us all. Using the Department’s own calculations on valuing assets, the value of food production over 60 years is £5.4 million but the value of public goods is set at a minimum of £125 million (net of £5 million attributed to methane emissions from farm animals) over the same period.

Henry Edmunds, the farmer and the true hero of this story

Harvesting on the Cholderton Estate

On climate change specifically, the estate applies no inorganic nitrogenous fertilizer to improve fertility of a relatively infertile shallow chalk soil. Instead the estate takes surplus nitrogen out of the air by using plants that fix nitrogen for slow release into the crops and grassland. In 2019, 1.5 million tons of nitrates were applied to farmland in England and Wales. Despite all the promises of technology around precision farming, only 50% of applied nitrates gets to the crop. 25% is lost to the aquifer – there are many places in Southern England that have to import water to dilute the drinking water because nitrate levels are too high. But at least 25% is lost through nitrous oxide – emitted from applications on fields, water courses and eventually the sea. Nitrous oxide is 300 times more powerful than carbon dioxide as a climate change gas. I will leave you to do the calculation. The carbon being sequestrated in Cholderton’s trees, woodland and hedgerows is estimated to be 8,000 tons but the carbon sequestrated in the soils is estimate to be 128,000 tons - double that of most farms on chalk soils. This level of sequestration has taken DEFRA by surprise and the soil laboratory results are still being carefully scrutinised. Henry Edmunds, the farmer and the true hero of this story, has adopted a thoroughly scientific approach to the management of the estate – instinctively refining his system over the last 30 years. The organic matter in his soils depends on a sophisticated form of rotation over a 10 year cycle. 6 years of herb rich grassland, including very deep rooting species, for grazing followed by a very shallow plough, leaving a mass of roots and microbes untouched. Then 4 years of Spring Barley

and Oats follow which nurture arable weeds, tolerated because of careful management so there is no economic damage caused. The final seeding includes the grasses and herbs for the next 6 years of grazing. Nationally there is a very good number of reasons for moving sharply away from mono culture across both permanent grassland and arable sectors. It is also very important to increase the organic matter in our soils. Raising organic matter in our soils will increase the water holding capacity of the land, it will increase the microbial activity in the soils to secure nutrient release and improved fertility, it will create the optimum conditions for soil creation, it will build improved resilience as well as increasing the sequestration of soil carbon. The microbial health of the soil builds the best foundation for nature recovery. At last we have Government scientists who acknowledge that the unintended consequences for all the current pesticides have not been accounted for. Cholderton uses no pesticides, relying on biodiversity for its biosecurity. Cholderton is producing great food without polluting the air and the water. The estate is climate positive for the next 50 years. It is by the WildlifeTrust’s and Plantlife’s definition one of the richest estates for biodiversity anywhere in the country, far richer than the re-wilded Knepp Estate. It demonstrates that very significant quantities of carbon can be sequestrated by commercial farms across the country if national Policy encourages it. Put simply, the English countryside would be transformed if this model were to be replicated across the nation and that is perfectly possible to do. Watch the film we have made: If you want more information and copies of the technical reports please do not hesitate to contact me at mhdt@



Blot on... The landscape Robert Holden

THE MARBLE ARCH mound is an artificial hill built on the Marble Arch roundabout at the west end of Oxford Street. The aim was to build a temporary structure to attract visitors to help the economic recovery of Oxford Street. And it has been criticised as a disaster, as London’s worst attraction, a ‘pile of mud’, according to the Washington Post. While Rowan Moore in The Observer described it as ‘a slippery slope to nowhere’. Social media compared it to the set of Teletubbies, others to the blocky landscapes of Super Mario 64. Curiously its ineptness may help it achieve its purpose. The Evening Standard reported in late August that the ‘Marble Arch Mound attracts unexpected tourists curious to see how bad it is’. It looks clumsy and bald, and certainly is not the richly planted mound in the designer’s digital views. (PLATE 1). Westminster Council’s leader Rachael Robathan said the Mound is ‘a small part of the Council’s wider £150m investment in the Oxford Street District designed to reinvigorate the nation’s high street. … and is part of a wider campaign to bring the buzz and footfall back to London’. Why is it such a disaster? According to the designers, the Dutch firm of MVRDV, the ‘design introduces a park-like landscape of grass and trees, and ‘lifts’ this recreated corner of Hyde Park to create a spectacular 25-metre-tall viewpoint that gives visitors an overview of Oxford Street and the park, and a new perspective on Marble Arch itself.’ You can see Marble Arch. But the problem is the result is not a ‘park like landscape of grass and trees’, and it does not give an overview of Hyde Park or of Oxford Street. The project is constructed of scaffolding poles draped in sedum matting with plane trees in containers. So no grass or herbaceous layer as viewed in MVRDV’s renderings. You cannot see beyond the trees at the edge of Hyde Park, so no view to

the Serpentine because 25m is not high enough. Originally MVDRV wanted the structure to cover the Marble Arch and so be higher, but Historic England objected. You never could see down Oxford Street, given it is not on the centre line of this straight Roman road. But it is the execution of the concept which is so at fault. (PLATE 2)

1 MVRDV’s digital proposals from their Design and Access Statement for a lushly planted mound, view from the south

2 The mound as built August 2021, is bald by comparison, view from the east. (photo:Tom Turner)

So what went wrong? MVRDV are landscape architects and architects. The principal in charge, Winy Maas, studied landscape architecture at Boskoop, so it should not have been beyond them to achieve their ambition. For sure they have made similar scaffolding structures in the past: the 29m high Stairs to Kriterion in Rotterdam in 2016 had views over the city. And many of their buildings are festooned with vegetation. The design fee was £10,000 according to Westminster’s response to a Freedom of Information request. So MVRDV did not do the detailed design. The Design and Build Contractor was F.W.Conway, who are Westminster’s framework contractor for highways. As built, the mound is significantly different from the sketchy planning application drawings which show ‘a scaffold structure as its base, which supports plywood and soil layers for the grass upper layer to grow’ with plant containers for the trees. Curiously there are no details of how soil slippage on a 45°slope can be dealt with. The solution has been sedum matting over the plywood with plane trees in plant containers and no green lushness like the MVRDV proposals. There was no competitive tender and the budgeted price of £3.3 million in May 2021 has risen to £6 million. These values appear way above Public Contracts Regulation thresholds requiring tendering. And the rise from £3.3 million to £6 million appears to be a system out of control. No wonder the deputy leader of Westminster Council, Melvyn Caplan, resigned. So the project went wrong in its detailed design, procurement and execution. £10,000 is about 0.3% of the budgeted £3.3 million. And why did MVRDV agree to do just an outline design for peanuts? Indeed why was design of a landscape and engineering project handed over to a highways contractor? The mound closes on 9 January 2022.


Book reviews


Peter Howarth and Christopher Thomas, Encounters on the holy mountain, Brepols, 2020. The book is a splendid edition to celebrate 30 years of the Friends of Mount Athos society. Not only a beautifully produced, written and illustrated book on Mount Athos but also one that shows a rarely seen balance in books on Athos, between information and personal experiences, between actual documentation or history and cases of personal spiritual pursuit. It is a book on Athos, as such books should be written, presented through the experiences of pilgrims, visitors or lovers of the Holy Mountain without lacking 'scientific' credits. Much of Mt. Athos has to do with landscape and much of the book focuses on it. Not only because it is one of the few inhabited places that landscape forms part of its deeper meaning, but also because gardens, vineyards olive groves etc. are centuries old and although sometimes neglected during the past few decades, they have now undergone substantial revival. They form excellent examples of nature being taken care of in a respectful yet systematic way. Groves providing food are cultivated in an eco-friendly way. After all, ecology is of paramount importance to the Christian Orthodox faith. Athonite landscape is best appreciated when wondering through the centuries old foot paths. Members of FOMA are voluntarily taking care of them every year by systematic cleaning and sign posting. The third part of the book is all about this initiative and is very well and vividly attested. But paths may have a deeper meaning, and this is also evident in the articles. The path is the true road to seeking God: it is a narrow alley

meant for an individual traveller, perhaps lost at moments, that allows a personal way of spiritual encounters. Personal experiences and memories form the content of the book. This is the editors’ choice and succeeds in grasping the unique spiritual atmosphere of Mt. Athos which although committed to Orthodox beliefs at the same time stresses the importance of each individual’s vision and understanding. Thus, such a holy place is open to personal truths and recollections which are transformed into a common perception of Athos. The book does not only rely on present day pilgrims and visitors. By including articles written as early as 1927 it succeeds in providing the reader a much needed historical approach, as well as a basis for comparison and critical appreciation relevant to changes that Mt Athos has undergone. As an artist, I particularly enjoyed reading the article by Peter Brian Desmond on his ventures trying to get into the details of contemporary icon painting on Athos. An article, like so many in the book, it does not merely provide information on his subject but relies extensively on personal and minute details of his meetings with monks that made his pilgrimage even more vivid and inspiring. Of course contemporary iconography is not the only example of art related to the Mount. Athos has managed to provide inspiration for many artists worldwide and significantly enough the publication focuses on artists like Doug Patterson, Derek Simons and John Campbell. These help towards a visual understanding of the monastic state together of course with the abundant photographic documentation by Roland Baetens and many more, some of important historical significance. In short, a publication that in terms of quality and content should make editors, contributors as well as readers proud. Markos Kampanis, artist.


Book reviews


Frederic L.M. Rossano, Floodscapes: Contemporary Landscape Strategies in Times of Climate Change. Rotterdam: nai010 publishers, 2021; with support from: the French Ministry of Culture and Communication, Bureau of Architectural, Urban and Landscape Research (BRAUP) and AMUP Research Laboratory. 17x24cm, 270 pages, 150 illustrations in colour. ISBN 978-94-6208-525-1. The risk of flooding and especially catastrophic flood events has increased in the past decades as a direct consequence of climate change. As explained in the introduction to this book, ‘the combination of rising sea levels, increasing climatic fluctuations and urban sprawl accentuate the risks incurred by flood plains’ (p.11). This book, which explores various landscape architecture approaches intended to mitigate these risks, is therefore welcome. This topical issue is explored and illustrated through the comparative analysis of contemporary projects. The author, a trained landscape architect, is drawing on both his experience as a practitioner and researcher as a way to assess flood mitigating measures and highlight successful approaches to inform future practices. His main objective is to provide inspiration and demonstrate the possibilities to reconcile the natural phenomenon of flooding with human activities. The various case studies are located in Western Europe and include: the Isar in Bavaria, Germany; the Meerstad in Groningen, The Netherlands; the Isere valley in France; the upper Rhone Valley in the canton of Valais in Switzerland; and ‘Room for the River’ project in The Netherlands. The comparative analysis of the case studies is put into context through a particularly interesting first chapter entitled ‘God, The River and the Engineer’. In this chapter, the author argues that flood prevention needs to be underpinned by strong concepts and narratives. He looks into myths and stories related to floods before providing an historic overview of

the various engineering approaches to tame rivers and control water level fluctuations. This introductory exploration is essential to fully understand the originality and innovation behind the case studies. All the projects selected propose a radical departure from the ideas of taming and controlling the flows of water, but instead propose to accommodate these fluctuations through the creation of more adaptable river valley landscapes including reclaiming spaces for water. The author is clearly familiar with the projects described in this book; he provides minute detail about political context, processes and achievements, summarised effectively in the case studies overview (p.85). The case studies are grouped under themes dealing with different types of interventions evoked through the titles of the various chapters: ‘In search of Combinatory Landscapes’ is exploring the combination of interventions moving away from vertical barrier, but proposing horizontal solutions to ensure more flexibility and increase aesthetic value. In ‘Upscaling Floodscapes Design’, the projects studied relate to larger territories through coherent and consistent regional and national planning approaches. For example, the concept adopted by the Dutch government of making ‘Room for the River’ to ensure a wide acceptance of the new flood mitigation strategy. The last and final chapter further emphasises the need for adaptability and resilience and discusses ‘Designing Elastic Landscapes for an Uncertain Future’ and ‘Adapting to Changing Time’. This well-structured book is full of useful illustrations including original maps and digitally produced 3D-drawings illustrating horizontal flood mitigation strategies and proposals. Through a thorough analysis and assessment of the case studies the author provides some key underpinning principles that enable professionals to engage with the challenges of water flows. However, the book is text heavy and would have benefited from more illustrations, especially in relation to contextual information. The illustrations, which potentially might have provided this information, have been reproduced too small with the keys that are illegible. Pending this reservation, this is a valuable resource for any professional interested and involved in landscape planning and it is a stimulating source of inspiration for practitioners and students in landscape architecture alike. Laurence Pattacini



8. Proposal to build a United Kingdom Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre on Grade II listed Victoria Tower Gardens, adjacent to Westminster WHS: The public inquiry Inspector concluded that the various ... public benefits the proposals offer would demonstrably outweigh the identified harms (15.283), - which include:- VTG is ... a much-loved public park (15.74); UKHMLC would ... alter the ambiance and mood of the park (15.87), ... destroy Buxton Memorial’s setting (to ending slavery throughout British territories) (15.69), and ... appear dense and congested, and so at variance with the greater open simple character of the park. (15.80). VTG is ... of considerable value to the health and wellbeing of many local residents ... many amongst the most deprived in the UK (15.193); VTG is their only accessible open space (15.192); perception of the park ... would change ... local residents would be discouraged from using the park for informal recreation purposes, particularly at busier times. (15.211) I commend for Parliamentary scrutiny the attached alternative as better use of public funding, providing a similar Learning Centre, saving the park for public use, including its democratic functions. Hal Moggridge PPLI

....... Landscape and Memory There are those books which require two weeks on a sun lounger or a jury summons to enable the reader to digest the quality and quantity of the written word. Landscape and Memory by Simon Schama is one such book with 578 pages and 42 pages of bibliographical notes which helped me pass my jury time in November, concurrent with COP 26. Schama noted that 'Landscapes are culture before they are nature: constructs of the imagination projected onto wood and water and rock. So goes the argument of this book'. COP 26 saw forests in less philosophical terms. World leaders agreed to 'Emphasise the critical and interdependent roles of forest of all types, biodiversity and sustainable land use in enabling the world to meet its sustainable development goals'. In Landscape and Memory it was salutary to read that in 1755 Edward Wade proposed to the Royal Society for the Encouragement of the Arts a mass planting program not for philosophical nor climatic considerations but due to the voracious timber demand of the navy. Prizes were awarded and in 1761 the Duke of Bedfont claimed a silver medal for planting eleven acres of acorns and 16 thousand Firs across his estates. The Lord Lieutenant of Cardinganshire between 1795 and 1801 allegedly planted over 2 million trees, and raised 922,00 Oaks. Some of our woodland legacy today must owe a debt to such initiatives. It seems that mankind may value the landscape for economic reasons or environmental reasons or more spiritual reasons but it is all these things. Thoreau noted that 'Mythology is the crop which the Old World bore before its soil was exhausted'. As Sharma notes 'It seems to me that neither the frontiers between the wild and the cultivated nor those that lie between the past and the present are so easily fixed. Whether we scramble the slopes or ramble the woods our Western sensibilities carry a bulging backpack of myth and recollection'. So perhaps we can recognise in the future that forests are good for the human soul as well as the planet. Tony Edwards FLI


Website writ

The US site Healthy Streets, promoting the embedding of public health considerations in street design Clearly one way to make healthy cities is to have streets which are safe for children to cycle in, so the Dutch Cycling Embassy is a guide to how to make cities and a whole country safe for cycling Of course one aspect of city planning is making spaces cooler; trees are critical to this, and every city should have a survey of its trees; London’s Tree Canopy Map1. World wide coverage of landscape architecture is what the Land Library is about so for schemes in Singapore and India and above all planetary biodiversity see Landscape is a palimpsest and the development and change in British landscapes can be seen in the historical Ordnance Survey maps published by the National Library of Scotland as six inch (1:10,560) maps of England and Wales 18421952 and Scotland 1843-1882. geo/find Sentinel is the European Space Agency’s planetary monitoring programme and has thematic areas covering land and marine monitoring, the atmosphere, emergency management, security and climate change https://sentinels.copernicus. eu/web/sentinel/home On climate change, how about Bill Gates’s online publication focussed on the technology fixed to reach net zero: Cipher News https://www. uk/what-we-do/environment/ parks-green-spaces-and-biodiversity/trees-and-woodlands/ tree-canopy-cover-map 1.

Finally, a podcast worth a listen is James Corner’s Landscapes of the Mind on BBC Radio 4, considering how Covid has raised the importance of urban landscapes for mental health https://


Devon shore Rock formation colossal striation. Imagine the force at creation. These shapes and these planes rise from the sand as extending a hand in supplication. Help me escape this suffocating embrace of terrestrial thrall.

Poem by T.W. Evans

Hartland cliffs 68 cms x 106 cms

Devon was at the margin of a super continent that collided with another to the

Woodblock print by Merlyn Chesterman

South. Hartland Quay, as a result during the Variscan Orogeny, was buckled and folded, producing the spectacular folds exposed in the cliffs today- the top surface then being eroded flat.


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