At a time when mankind now influences the Earth at a geological scale, understanding natural process is no less tangible than when it was presented in the 1966 Declaration of Concern by the Landscape Architecture Foundation.
‘There is no ‘single solution’ but groups of solutions carefully related one to another. There is no one-shot cure, nor single-purpose panacea, but the need for collaborative solutions. A key to solving the environmental crisis comes from the field of landscape architecture, a profession dealing with the interdependence of environmental processes’.
The impacts of climate change are undeniable and our response to it glacial. As urban populations explode and intensify, centralising resource demand and dispersing resource production, access to nature becomes increasingly fundamental to our mental and physical wellbeing. Re-emerging are concepts of re-wilding, land restoration, safeguarding urban habitats and habitat creation. Simultaneously, revenue funding for the public realm and parklands is diminishing at an alarming rate.
The need for alternative methods of learning about the landscapes we design, inhabit and influence is vital if we are to understand what we have, before it is lost. It is only with understanding can a sense of responsibility and ownership be nurtured.
Landscape Architecture is positioned between arts, humanities and sciences. It champions design to delivery, covers scientific research and resource management, with the ability to empower communities, to become provocateurs, to go on to self-initiate.
Land based skills and knowledge fast dying out, must be captured to inspire new generations of artists, social and urban geographers, designers, managers, scientists and entrepreneurs.
But how can we support this movement when traditional options for learning are in a reductive and increasingly exclusive cycle? Courses are closing, fees are on the increase. Working practices can appear to actively encourage a silo mentality. A more proactive way of learning that encourages cross-disciplinary collaboration to spark new ideas. A model that provides adaptive learning that can support knowledge sharing, celebrates difference, enables personal development, encourage specialism in subjects that excite and challenge the individual, supports community empowerment. A model that is structured to enable accessible learning tailored to suit the specific needs of the participant.
We believe there is, and are confident that a mechanism for enhanced Landscape Learning can emerge, with your input.
We are beginning to test our ideas through a series of participatory events and activities, collaborating with experts; to look at the different ways landscape influences our lives and the ways we shape the landscape; exploring the impact that design of the public realm and environment can have on wellbeing, attitudes towards stewardship, responsibility, collaboration; and providing a platform for knowledge sharing.
We are passionate about the landscape and environment; we are committed to improving standards of living across all communities through good design practice. We believe the success of this initiative will depend on the spirit of collaborative practice and the activation of our networks to enrich the experience, to develop virtual and face-to-face communities who have shared interests, share our enthusiasm for the ecosystem and have been searching for an opportunity to expand and share their knowledge.
Johanna Gibbons and Neil Davidson
Directors of Landscape Learn.
We would also like to acknowledge Michael Smythe of Nomad Projects, an artist, producer and commissioner of work in the public domain, who joins us as an non-executive director.
THANKS ALSO TO OUR CRITICAL FRIENDS:
Chris Baines, is a leading independent environmentalist, landscape architect, presenter.
Majora Carter, is a leading urban revitalisation strategy consultant, real estate developer and award winning broadcaster, based in the South Bronx.
Howard Frumkin, Professor of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, University of Washington, School of Public Health.
Anita Konrad, Sustrans National Director, England.
Landscape Design Lab, University of Florence
Creating an open to all, accessible platform in Landscape Architecture and associated professions.
Operating outside of the structures of traditional academia, providing a direct link between practice and theory.
Working with experts in their fields, nurturing relationships between different disciplines and communities.
Embracing technology, socio-economic and technological knowledge, making visible the low-tech and high-tech.
Local + Global
Tackling issues locally and worldwide.
Practical and useful
Providing learning through practical lessons to inform theory, and influence policy.
Exploring the theory of landscape directly related to practical application.
To create accessible physical and virtual networks to store, catalogue, communicate and share knowledge, research and best practice.
Responding to changing seasons, climate, diurnal and growth cycles.
Exploring aesthetic perceptions rooted in ecological history and the beauty of nature.
Promote healthier environments to improve physical and mental wellbeing.
Provide participants with knowledge and skills to make their own decisions.