UK Landscape Award call for entries

Recently a website was launched for the UK Landscape Award which was created by the European Landscape Convention and helps to implement it in the UK. The winner will become the UK’s entry to the Landscape Award of the Council of Europe (COE) which will be decided by the COE in March 2011. The Award has only been run once before; this is the first time that it has taken place in the UK.

The Award is a great opportunity for organisations (local or regional authority; or a grouping of local or regional authorities; or non-governmental organisation) to showcase their best landscape projects, highlighting their role in making good places and establishing community involvement in the process.

In the UK, the European Landscape Convention is championed by DEFRA, the Welsh Assembly Government, the Scottish Government and the Department of the Environment Northern Ireland. The Landscape Institute has been appointed to manage the UK Award.

Entries close on 27 August 2010. To find our more go to the UK Landscape Award website.

WORLD LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT is not involved with organising or promotion of this Award please address all queries to the contact details at UK Landscape Award.

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London Olympic Tower unveiled

The Arcelormittal Orbit is a stunning new artwork being built in London’s Olympic Park for the 2012 games. It will ensure the Park remains an unrivalled visitor destination long after the Games and it’s another way we’re ensuring the Games provide a long-lasting legacy for London.

The sculpture will be designed by award winning London-based artist Anish Kapoor.

[SOURCE: City of London]

Seattle Center open space – public vs private use

According to the Seattle Times over 400 people attended a community meeting to discuss plans for the 5 acres next to the iconic Space Needle. The site was formerly the Fun Forest amusements  and the land was recently returned to the public. Bids where called for north area and the Seattle Center is entertaining the possibility of a children’s garden that was proposed by the Seattle Children’s Museum’s.

The current proposal for the south area is to allocate 1.5 acres of the land to a new 44,000 square foot Dale Chihuly glass-art exhibit proposed by the Wright Family who own the Space Needle. This proposal according to Seattle Times reports was popular with the attending crowd.  However, there was some opposition in the crowd including Iain Robertson noted by Seattle Times as ‘landscape architect’ but I think it may also be the same Iain Robertson who is Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture at the University of Washington and on the Board of Directors of the Seattle Parks Foundation who was quoted in the Seattle Times as saying

…..Seattle Center is not the right location for a glass exhibit and that the city would be foolish to give up nearly 2 acres of open space.

“For us as a city to replace that [open space] in the future would cost an enormous amount of money,” he said. “You just don’t get a chance at this much open space in the center of the city.”

Also cited in the Seattle Times article was the Director of the Seattle Center Robert Nellams who said

there must be a balance between creating more open space — which is what was envisioned in the Center’s 2008 master plan — and generating revenue.

The Seattle Center Century 21 Master Plan was adopted in August, 2008 with an estimate of $567 million which was to be funded by a levy.

It seems as though this proposal will make the residents and stakeholders of Seattle have to deal with all too common question in these recent hard economic times of public versus private use of public land.

The current proposal brings into question the goals of the Seattle Center Master Plan and its vision. Master Plans are often well thought out documents produced over a long period of public consultation by the city and consultants to develop a vision for the next 20-100 years. To make a decision based on economics and adjacent properties owners assertions alone seems foolish.

The current proposal for Dale Chihuly glass-art exhibit seems at odds with the Seattle Center Master Plan which states

A combined ten acres at the Fun Forest and Memorial Stadium, currently paved over or walled off, is opened up, connecting the people and activities that were once isolated at its edges. The carnival rides that sit empty most months of the year are replaced with landscaping, performance spaces and play areas that invite people in to create their own active experiences.
Master plan Overview – Seattle Center Century 21 Masterplan(Page 21)  – (link to pdf)

The use of public space in key landmark locations needs to treated with the utmost respect as decisions made now can change the way a space is used for decades. I am not against the use of public land for private use if it generates revenue for the city and provides for the community but it must be in keeping with the long-term goals of the city.  We all know as designers that there are too many white elephants dotting the landscape across the world to remind us that bad decisions can haunt a city in the future.

By Damian Holmes

[SOURCE: Seattle Times – What to do with Seattle Center parcel draws a big crowd]
[SOURCE: Seattle Times – Goodbye to grand plan for Seattle Center?]

[SOURCE: Seattle Center Century 21 Master Plan] Link to pdf

Gulf Landscaping opens in Abu Dhabi

Gulf Landscaping 2010 starts in Abu Dhabi, UAE today with His Excellency H.E. Rashid Mubarak Al Hajeri, Chairman of the Department of Municipal Affairs inaugurating the event which will showcase both the theory and shared best practice for those involved in the Plan Abu Dhabi 2030 vision.  Speakers involved include Masdar architects Foster+Partners and SWA Group, landscape architects for the 11-hectare green oasis including plazas, pools and promenades that surround the Burj Khalifa. Gulf Landscaping is held in the centre of a cash rich market with an estimated US$1000 billion of projects planned or underway in the Gulf, with the UAE alone accounting for a third of this. Gulf Landscaping takes place at ADNEC, Abu Dhabi on 29, 30 and 31 March 2010.

World Landscape Architect is a supporter of Gulf Landscaping 2010.

Landscape Institute: Knowledge Base goes live

The Landscape Institute in the UK recently launched Knowledge Base – The new online service for LI members offers easy access to technical information.

Knowledge Base brings together technical documents, articles, FAQs and online tools in an easily searchable database. No more fruitless Googling – the Knowledge Base is devoted entirely to technical information for landscape architects.

Covering a wide range of landscape subject areas from contracts and planning, to planting and design, the database will be continually updated with new material.

The Knowledge Base is only for members of the Landscape Institute and available in the members section.

This service is in addition to I want to be a landscape architect a website promoting the profession and also its members social networking site – Talking Landscape

[SOURCE: Landscape Institute]

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