2022 IFLA Europe Award Laureate Sirpa Pietikainen, Member of European Parliament

2022 IFLA Europe Award Laureate Sirpa Pietikainen, Member of European Parliament

We are delighted to inform you that the laureate of 2022 IFLA Europe Award is Sirpa Pietikainen, Member of European Parliament.

IFLA Europe Award was established with the objective to recognise the work of exceptional people and organisations that believe that our way of perceiving and understanding the world – derived from our profession – could contribute to its sustainable development.

Urban, agrarian and rural, coastal and natural landscapes require, today more than ever, adequate protection, planning and management, as stated in the European Landscape Convention in 2000. The Paris Agreement and the United Nations 2030 Agenda outlined a clear roadmap to curb climate change. Mitigation and adaptation specify measures to reduce greenhouse gases, on the one hand, and to adapt our environment to new climate scenarios, on the other.

Landscape Architects seek to find new ways to ensure sustainability through the valuation of nature and ecosystem services, to provide qualititative and healthy landscapes, as well as preserving collective memory, heritage and culture, and creating places that anticipate social and economic well-being. The landscape is in the centre of all eyes and landscape architects have a lot to contribute, through their expertise and holistic approach. It is essential to take necessary efforts and fight climate change and environmental losses and create strategies and actions for a climate-neutral continent. We are embracing and supporting Ms Pietikainen’s initiative for the European Year of Greener Cities to highlight that bringing nature into cities and greening our neighbours is one biggest and underutilised possibility to increase the quality of life of European citizens and contribute to mitigating climate change impact. We appreciate her efforts to increase the quantity and quality of research and development of new innovations, to connect existing initiatives and share best practices across Europe, to create a culture of appreciation of green spaces, to increase the amount of green infrastructure projects! Green infrastructure could address many challenges of the urban environment such as extreme weather, biodiversity, CO2 retention, reducing pollution and health risk in a simple, nature-based and cost-effective manner.

Improving the quality of life of citizens requires creating healthy spaces designed by and for people. Green infrastructure, urban forests, streets and small parks, squares and gardens can meet many of these needs when nature-based solutions are applied. Making natural and human dynamics compatible is inherent to the landscape architect´s work. Holistically analyse the characteristics and needs of the place, generate spaces of high environmental quality and improve the quality of life of individuals and communities, preserving the local character, are the principles that govern the best landscape architecture projects.

Together we can bring skills that include design, construction and research and add to the body of knowledge required to ensure our efforts to recover our planet are successful. IFLA EUROPE and its members realise fully the importance of Sirpa’s work and we share her vision!

The handover ceremony took place on Friday, 14 October 2022 at 16.45hrs, at the Aalto University as a part of MARK Finland Landscape Architecture Congress and IFLA Europe General Assembly. The prize was handed by IFLA Europe President Katerina Gkoltsiou.

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