Conclusions from InnoLAND Multiplier Event – Launching Innovation-Based Landscape Architecture Training Framework in Europe, 17 March 2023, Brussels
Report prepared by Daniela Micanovic-Franckx, IFLA Europe Executive Secretary
InnoLAND multiplier event – Launching Innovation-Based Landscape Architecture Training Framework in Europe, took place in Brussels on 17 March 2023.
The event was attended by Project Partners, representatives from professional organisations such as ECTP-CEU, ACE-Architects’ Council of Europe, SoGreen Alliance as well
as other interested participants who wanted to learn about the project and its outcomes.
Margarida Cancela d’Abreu, IFLA Europe Vice President for Education and Jeroen De Vries, LE:NOTRE Director, welcomed the participants and announced the programme and the speakers.
The InnoLAND Project, funded by European Commission Erasmus+, aimed to facilitate transparency and recognition of skills and qualifications of landscape architecture professionals in the EU by developing the Common Training Framework for the Profession along with relevant tools to support its implementation.
InnoLAND was officially launched at project kick-off meeting on 3 November 2020. In this project, which is led by Prof Gintaras Stauskis, Vilnius Gediminas Technical University (Vilnius Tech, Lithuania), IFLA Europe is a partner together with Aalto University (Finland), LE:NOTRE Institute (the Netherlands, the Hungarian University of Agriculture and Life Sciences (MATE, Hungary), the University of Evora (Portugal), Vilnius Gediminas Technical University (Vilnius Tech, Lithuania), and Technische Universitaet Wien (Austria).
The specific objectives included:
i) implementing PQD (Professional Qualifications Directive) requirements to foster automatic recognition of LA profession in Europe;
ii) establishing pan-European quality standards for LA study programmes and homogenising landscape architecture education in Europe; and
iii) developing an exemplar master study programme framework in line with the European CTF.
In order to harmonise higher education of the landscape architecture professionals, InnoLAND targeted higher educations institutions and landscape architecture schools in the EU. Additionally, practicing landscape architects, European and national Landscape Architecture associations and regulatory bodies were involved to achieve the aims and objectives of the project.
Gintaras Stauskis, InnoLAND Coordinator, Vilnius Tech University thanked all project partners Outputs and results that project achieved in the last two and half years on the serious tasks and tough goals:
1. Master study in landscape architecture
2. European quality standard for landscape architecture – which is beyond one school and one country but trying to balance and harmonise landscape architecture education across Europe
3. Creating umbrella list of requirements for the profession of landscape architects – the Common Training Framework, tool which is integrated in Professional Qualifications Directive.
Emilia Weckman, Professor at Aalto University Finland presented some challenges and global problems that reflect on the profession as well as challenges the Landscape architecture education.
Landscape architects work with tasks in design, planning and management of landscape. The core values are ecology, together with aesthetics and functionality and the goal of the profession is to produce good quality living environment and sustainable and resilient communities for all.
She underlined that the profession is interdisciplinary and combines natural sciences, technology and arts, and requires multidisciplinary approach is in many ways well equipped. Nature based solutions, green infrastructure, ecosystem service are part of the process of thinking and understanding of the profession. Nevertheless, there is a need for rethinking and redeveloping the landscape architecture education. We are educating new decision makers, the ones who will be designing future environment and need leadership skills, adaptivity, facilitation, communication skills and we acknowledge this versatility across Europe.
The field of landscape architecture has worked together in for example forming the standards for LA education, promoting the quality of education by recognising degree programmes that IFLA Europe is carrying out. The InnoLAND project is aimed at establishing Common Training Framework which is developing the standards for education and
professional practice. InnoLAND project promotes the issue of professional mobility which is challenging for landscape architecture profession.
Margarida Cancela d’Abreu, IFLA Europe Vice President for Education emphasised that the profession is facing challenges across Europe and informed about the IFLA Europe Survey on Professional Recognition in Europe in member countries.
The problems are different between countries where the profession is regulated and non-regulated. Some of the problems were presented in the conference.
In the countries where the profession is regulated, the usual problems were:
- no automatic recognition under the EU Professional Qualifications Directive,
- insufficient knowledge of legal provisions,
- insufficient knowledge of standards,
- language and culture barriers,
- foreign qualifications not recognised,
- lack of licence,
- low remuneration compared to other parts of Europe,
- University title not recognised by the registration office.
In the countries where the profession is NOT regulated, the usual problems were:
- general immigration limits for work permits,
- insufficient knowledge of legal provisions (planning process, regulations),
- insufficient knowledge of building standards,
- language barriers,
- no recorded problems since most landscape architects work in interdisciplinary teams,
- unregulated market,
- lack of regulations,
- division of the profession to other disciplines,
- administrative problems in proofing professional qualification,
- unemployment in the profession,
- low remuneration.
Margarida Cancela d’Abreu also underlined that different requirements for a landscape architect to work in another country was one of the obstacles for the profession.
In countries where the profession is regulated, the common issues were:
- recognition of Landscape Architect title at the Chamber of Architects,
- registration with the local professional order,
- national licence,
- business permit,
- Certificate/diploma +2 years’ practice period,
- citizenship of Member State of the EU/EEA/Swiss Confederation,
- working with a national landscape architect.
Jeroen De Vries, Director of LE:NOTRE Institute (LNI) informed the participants that LNI was responsible for Common Training Framework draft proposal. They were inspired by ECLAS President Ellen Fetzer who said that we needed a collaborative process for it which is also one of the requirements of the PQD – CTF needs to be well grounded in the profession. The project has carried out various activities in the past 2,5 years: surveys, meetings, discussions and inviting all IFLA Europe members, landscape architecture schools in Europe and as a result, we have the first draft of CTF. The first draft was presented to ECLAS and IFLA Europe General Assembly and after receiving the comments, the second draft was developed. InnoLAND has been testing CTF in different countries to see whether it is compliant with different national regulations in countries where the
profession was regulated. The project was a bit too ambitious and detailed as it had to reflect the current state of standard in the countries and the project could not go too much into the future: if you have common standards, they should not be too detailed otherwise one can get too biased in our country.
At the moment, we have a concise and tested draft proposal of Common Training Framework for Landscape Architecture which is approved by ECLAS and IFLA Europe as two major landscape architecture education and profession institutions. This is a part of the Output report of InnoLAND ‘Pan-European Common Training Framework for Landscape Architecture’
It will form a benchmark for landscape architecture education and professional recognition to be used by peer review panels for accreditation and professional recognition of
landscape architecture programmes.
This Draft CTF will provide common standards for all and IFLA Europe will, together with ECLAS and InnoLAND partners, establish a working party which will work on furthe EU requirements for mapping the profession and linking up to competent national bodies and will work on the commitment of establishing CTF for landscape architecture.
At global level we have IFLA Definition of Landscape Architecture, IFLA/UNESCO Charter for Landscape Architecture Education, ILO/ISCO Definition of Landscape Architecture and this is how we are making transition from InnoLAND to Common Training Framework for Landscape Architecture.
Albert Fekete, Hungarian University of Agriculture and Life Sciences (MATE) talked about the harmonisation of landscape architecture in Europe. There were many debates on the topic, both in the previous project EULAND21 and in the InnoLAND. Based on information from IFLA Europe website, there are 178 landscape architecture programmes in 94 higher education institutions. Just starting from this figure we realise that complete harmonisation is almost impossible because every country has own expectations, traditions in the landscape architecture education. Moreover, if we look at the roots of landscape architecture roots, we have different background: life science, technical and artistic background and different schools belong to those groups.
This means that each school has some tradition in the education that they don’t want to give up. The schools also have expectations from future development to be in some harmony which is another issue that makes the process of finding common ground for landscape architecture education more difficult. The challenges that the profession has in different countries is also an obstacle to this process. One of the main achievements in this work is to work out a standard which can be used to establish new and improve existing landscape architecture programmes.
Norbert Trolf, Technische Universitaet Wien Austria, spoke about the quality of landscape architecture and the market needs. The market wants landscape architects with basic skills and competences in:
1. Landscape Design, which is the market close to the work of architects and planners in construction industry and in open space planning in relation to urban design.
2. Landscape Planning: ecological planning, landscape conservation, environmental impact assessment and impact ameliorating planning.
The market expects landscape architects to be very well educated in this field.
He spoke of specialisation and the general problem in education of landscape architects as we expect them to know everything which is difficult since there is a limited number of ECTS and we should not only teach them in landscape architecture but also in computer science, in economics etc. It is difficult to harmonise these things and teach everything so we have to decide and make choices.
Climate change affects everything and deeper knowledge will be needed in specific professional fields. We should not forget that we do not only educate landscape architects but also researchers. There is a need to find the right balance between national markets with specific requirements and a universal education. CTF is open, landscape planning and landscape management are the main topics and we can establish minimum standards which are necessary for the mobility of the profession.
Aurora Carapinha, University of Evora, Portugal spoke about the landscape architecture in Portugal and the profession of landscape architecture that is not only necessary in the future but also now. It is important to understand for CTF that landscape must be understood as inter-scalar space where time, global and local is almost the same. Local problems are also global problems. We must work in the space, in the scale and all the programmes must work in this sense.
Landscape must be understood as a system that needs to abandon the idea of local and global as it is continuous, dynamic and evolutionary. The main guidelines for the Landscape Architect are values of space, landscape dynamic, diversity of landscape and aesthetical, ecological and cultural equilibrium and this is important for the CTF. Skills and tools must improve the inter-scalar understanding, planning, design and management.
Gintaras Stauskis, Vilnius TECH University, Lithuania spoke of market having great impact on study programmes. Therefore, the project created a pool of study modules and possible structure scheme for Master Study programme. A Master LA usually is based on three grounds: technical, natural or artistic ground. EU policies have impact on how the programmes are structured as more and more content related to climate change, sustainability and resilience should be taken into consideration.
There are new challenges in Europe especially with landscapes that are completely destroyed and this is a new challenge for the profession how we are going to react to that.
He informed about three projects related to the landscape architecture education:
- CPD-LA project which focused on continuous professional development as very important element in Common Training Framework as an upgrade of qualifications development during the professional practice time,
- EULAND21 project which focused on trans-European recognition of the landscape architecture profession and resulted in first phase education (Bachelor) and developing tools for assessing existing study programs and courses according to the standards and requirements of the European Region of the International Federation of Landscape Architects
(IFLA Europe) and the European Council of Landscape Architecture Schools (ECLAS) and resulted in creating an exemplary Bachelor Landscape Architecture module.
- InnoLAND project which is focusing on transparency and recognition of skills and qualifications of landscape architecture professionals in the EU by developing the Common
Training Framework for the Profession along with relevant tools to support its implementation and resulted in creating an exemplary Master Landscape Architecture module in Lithuania.
Creating an exemplary Master in Landscape Architecture represents good support for countries and schools which wish to start a new programme or those who wish to upgrade their current Master in Landscape Architecture.
In both EULAND21 and InnoLAND projects, all partners’ modules and teaching was used to create exemplary Bachelor and Masters in Landscape Architecture modules for Vilnius Tech University. The bachelor programme is already being implemented in Lithuania and students have lectures in real-life situation in botanical gardens, we are studying cultural landscapes and how to manage them.
He underlined that the landscape doesn’t have borders so international experience and intensive international programmes are a very attractive tool. Gintaras closed the presentation of the InnoLAND project outcomes by sharing an event where students from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania met in Vilnius in 2022 for a joint event and exchange of learning and experiences (students are sitting on a large bench recycled from timber factory).
The Conference continued with panel discussion moderated by Margarida Cancela d’Abreu and Jeroen de Vries, Le:Notre Institute Director, who announced the speakers - Ellen Fetzer, President of European Council of Landscape Architecture Schools (ECLAS), Catherine Vilquin, European Council of Spatial Planners (ECTP-CEU), Jacques Timmerman, Architects’ Council of Europe and Lorenzo De Simone, European Commission, Joint Research Centre and New European Bauhaus Team.
The discussion focussed on holistic approach at all spatial scales and how we can use our knowledge and holistic approach to work with all professions together to create greater environment for people, reinforcing the spatial context and the cultural dimension. CTF can certainly help in this process and should enable better mobility system across disciplines.
The New European Bauhaus (NEB) promotes the inclusive, participatory and transdisciplinary approach. From an in-depth interview, the Head of the New European Bauhaus Unit at the European Commission, Xavier Troussard speaking about the New European Bauhaus, expressed the idea: The mobilisation of the instruments of the Cohesion Policy will be complemented by the networking of the relevant stakeholders for mutual learning and support. CTF for landscape architecture and a free mobility system of professions across the countries might help and promote this idea.
Landscape Architects, together with other professions, can participate in important interdisciplinary initiatives and programmes such as position papers, European Charters – Participatory Democracy, Planning, New Leipzig, Davos Baukultur etc. We all are recognising the importance of the environmental dimension in the design and planning of our landscapes and we should focus on the co-production across disciplines and professions.
The event was concluded with main contributions from the panellists:
- the richness of diversity in programmes, which don´t need to be solved – it is the power of our society;
- the importance of maintaining the CTF evolutive and open tool;
- nowadays professionals are so specialised, but we need to face more global challenges, such as to include the impact of design on mobility and many other issues;
- and more than a CTF what is most important is the attitude, to share common values, to bring together professionals to work, keeping the diversity – this is the fantastic challenge of the crossover process.
After the break, teams of participants engaged in an interactive session on composing a master programme, making use of the proposed modules of the InnoLAND project and the structure of a master programme. The teams came up with different variations which showed that the guidance of the third report of InnoLAND that gives guidance to develop an exemplar mater programme in landscape architecture is useful.
The interactive session showed that: (1) the integral studios form the core of the landscape architecture programme, (2) the compulsory modules on research, reflection on practice and theory with systems thinking are all relevant, (3) international experience is appreciated. The importance of an internship depends much on whether in a country a post-graduate traineeship is offered. Seminars on current needs of society can be linked to and integrated in studios, but students have to choose options from these. Some participants laid a special focus on collaborative design, community work and combining living labs with education.
After a consensus about final documents within the InnoLAND partners, a draft of a Common Training Framework for Landscape Architecture will be sent to the European Commission, Directorate General GROW for consideration, approval and implementation.
InnoLAND project (Nr 2020-1-LT01-KA203-078086 ) is Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Education and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA). Neither the European Union nor EACEA can be held responsible for them.