In this time of unprecedented change in our planetary systems of climate and biodiversity, we must as Landscape Architects develop responses which are coherent and based on both our experience and that of other disciplines. The challenges in the coming years can be expected to be difficult but with clear thinking and cooperative efforts humanity and nature may prevail.
In this second position paper, we would like to start the dialogue both within our profession and with civil society in general on how we may best respond. We therefore hope to provide a means by which we may understand what biodiversity is in the first instance. Then as landscape architects how we may respond to the challenges and opportunities in order to improve our ‘collaboration’ between ourselves and others but also with the natural world. We must first understand nature and then we may harness the power of nature to heal our planet. We can achieve this by having a big vision through global aspirational landscape scale projects which, in order to be inclusive, must involve other professions and civil society in an orchestrated manner. We must endeavour to inspire and create local scale projects with communities and also respond to the needs of humanity by incorporating the benefits of a healthy biodiverse landscape. Our ultimate aspiration is to ensure clean air, water and food in a climate of our peaceful coexistence with nature.
Over the past decades, the European Union has put in place a broad range of environmental legislation to give more long-term direction towards a healthy environment stemming from an innovative, circular economy where nothing is wasted and where natural resources are managed sustainably. Among European Commission’s goals is A new Circular Economy Action Plan - For a cleaner and more competitive Europe which states that “scaling up the circular economy from front-runners to the mainstream economic players will make a decisive contribution to achieving climate neutrality by 2050 and decoupling economic growth from resource use, while ensuring the long-term competitiveness of the EU and leaving no one behind”(European Commission Communication COM(2020)98)
Consequently, the European Region of International Federation of Landscape Architects (IFLA EUROPE),
– embraces the above goals in the new circular economy model and aims to present the contribution of Landscape Architects to Climate Change adaptation and mitigation in relation to circular economy. The particular position paper is the first from one series to follow, to present the value of landscape architecture profession , and to promote Landscape Architects’ position in relation to Climate Change and Circular Economy.
This Position paper has four (4) aims:
1. to clarify and analyse the crucial role of Landscape Architects in implementing holistic circularity concepts and the technical, analytical and scientific skill sets to serve and implement the Circular Economy model in landscape projects.
2. to present the importance of adopting the principles of Circular Economy in design and management of our landscapes.
3. to reveal our ideas about how we as Landscape Architects could influence policy mechanisms for implementing Circular Economy at European and global level and
4. to promote our positions in relation to the role of Landscape Architects in circular economy model.
In the 21st century, Landscape Architects are one of the most competent and eligible:
● to improve health and well-being,
● to understand and consider natural processes and as result to support Green Deal initiatives,
● to apply the principles of social, economic and environmental sustainability to landscape projects, seeking to avoid climate change and to manage microclimates,
● to enhance the value of the environment and implement resource management policies appropriately, utilising natural resources,
● to account for social context of landscapes including visual, environmental, access/use and heritage.
It is the right time to show our value and make the difference.
The Council of Europe clearly recognises the importance of landscape to society. The activities developed in the framework of the Work Programme of the European Landscape Convention demonstrate the wide approach being taken by different States, parties to the Convention, in their interpretation and implementation of these objectives. The Convention states that each party undertakes to promote “training for specialists in landscape appraisal and operations”, and recognises the need for trained professionals, experts in the broad field of landscape architecture, a profession that applies aesthetic and scientific principles to the design, planning, analysis and management of both the natural and built environments.
However, the impact arising from the lack of a clear professional recognition of experts, practitioners and specialists in the broad field of landscape architecture needs to be considered. In some States, landscape architecture, in all its forms, is a relatively young profession with a limited representation in comparison with other, recognised and older professions. It is important to recognise that the role of the landscape architect is fundamental to an integrated and holistic planning process which develops landscape strategies
alongside social, economic and environmental policies. Ensuring a democratic vision capable of reasserting collective interests, surpassing cultural differences, strengthening the links between people and their environment and establishing landscape policies and programmes that will ensure plural and collective participation, are central to this role. This report will provide an overview of the profession, presenting how it is regulated both internally and externally, how it is currently recognised by national governments, how the
profession is sometimes insufficiently recognised and how important it is to ensure that landscape budgets are used appropriately.