African Journal of Landscape Architecture - AJLA

African Journal of Landscape Architecture - AJLA

by Bernard Oberholzer

Cap Engela Monument Tunisia, Photo: Graham Young
Cap Engela Monument Tunisia, Photo: Graham Young

The African Journal of Landscape Architecture (AJLA) came about because of a perceived need for an authoritative journal on landscape architecture that can serve the profession as well as the needs of academia. AJLA is the official journal of IFLA Africa and is committed to stimulating content that promotes an extensive understanding of the field of landscape architecture across the African continent.

Mission of the Journal

AJLA is an e-journal to facilitate broad circulation among all interested parties, and notably the member associations of IFLA Africa, the mission being:

  • to promote and enhance the education and practice of landscape architecture, with an emphasis on Africa;
  • to provide critical discourse and relevant research, with opportunities for both general and peer-reviewed articles;
  • to be cross-disciplinary, encouraging dialogue with related disciplines;
  • to promote the purpose, aims and ambition of the African Landscape Convention.
Cape Point. Cape Town, South Africa. Photo: Bernard Oberholzer

Background to the Journal

In August 2014 a group of landscape architects met in the offices of OvP Associates in Cape Town. Their intention was to found a landscape architecture journal that would better reflect the true scope and depth of the profession through incisive articles, including those of an academic or research nature, the idea being that the journal would be the official publication of the Institute of Landscape Architecture in South Africa (ILASA).

The feeling was that existing journals at the time were more orientated to the landscape trade industry and were not a good reflection of the greater role of landscape architects in addressing environmental and social issues. Despite the initial enthusiasm, the initiative ran out of steam.

In February 2018 discussions were held with the University of South Africa (UNISA) by members of ILASA around the idea of having a landscape journal orientated more toward scientific, peer-reviewed articles that could attract authors from across the globe. However, this initiative fizzled out quietly as well.

In September 2019, at the IFLA World Council meeting in Oslo, Bernard Oberholzer approached Carey Duncan, President of IFLA Africa, with the idea of having a landscape journal that served the whole of Africa and not just South Africa. The idea was met with enthusiasm, and Bernard, together with Graham Young, Secretary
General, IFLA Africa, who had retired from full-time teaching at the University of Pretoria, took on the project, supported by an editorial panel comprising academics and practitioners from across the continent.

The timing of the journal is propitious. The IFLA Africa Region has published its African Landscape Convention – a declaration of fundamental principles to support stewardship of the African landscape, an African Landscape Network has been formed, and IFLA Africa is active in supporting new institutions of landscape architects in several African countries. The new journal could therefore play an important unifying role in these initiatives across the Continent.

Freedom Park, Tshwane, South Africa. Photo: Graham Young
Freedom Park, Tshwane, South Africa. Photo: Graham Young

The first issue of the African Journal of Landscape Architecture and the hosting of the journal website were generously funded by IFLA World, and the design of the website was carried out on a pro bono basis by Jacques Oberholzer of Now Boarding Digital. We are also indebted to Carey Duncan for assistance with the French translations.

The website of the Journal where you can find the First Issue and the upcoming ones:

Editorial Panel:

AJLA is guided by an Editorial Panel drawn from IFLA member countries in Africa, currently composed of the following professionals and academics:

Issue 01 - Iconic LandscapesCertain landscapes, natural or man-made, evoke deeply profound thoughts and feelings, and can alter the way we understand ‘place’. These landscapes are often rich

in form, narrative and inspire a special significance to a particular society or individual. They are ‘iconic’ in that they can mean, evoke, sometimes even symbolise more than just another place. Iconic landscapes could be natural, cultural, historical, or even urban landscapes, e.g. Stone Town on Zanzibar, Table Mountain in Cape Town, or designed landscapes such as Freedom Park in Pretoria.’

AJLA Journal Issue 01 - Iconic Landscapes

Call for Submissions for Issue 02 - Healthy Landscapes

The African continent is facing unprecedented biodiversity and climate change issues along with economic and social upheaval resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic, changing the relationship of people to their environment, particularly public spaces. There needs to be a focus on healing the landscape to improve biodiversity, air, water and soil quality. Through the restoration of degraded urban, agricultural, and rural land, healthy environments can be provided in which people can feel comfortable and enjoy social interaction.

For healthy landscapes to be restorative and resilient they must be planned, designed, and managed by bringing together a wide range of planning disciplines.

Deadline for submissions: 21 September 2021
For more details please visit AJLA Journal Issue 02 - Healthy Landscapes

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