Landscape Institute President sends open letter to UK Prime Minister


Flooding in York | February 16, 2014

Over the last few months, the UK has seen continual flooding which has seen a great deal of discussion on how to deal with the water management in the UK. Recently, Sue Illman President of the Landscape Institute has sent an open letter to Prime Minister, Rt Hon David Cameron MP.  The letter signed by 12 organisations calls for a complete rethink of water management to prevent the effect of water on villages, towns and cities of the England and Wales.

The letter goes on to call for ” an immediate cross departmental conference with DECC, DEFRA, DCLG, the EA and NRW, in a similar manner to that which was convened to address the problem of ash-dieback.”. It also calls for proper exploration of the larger catchment management issues, and how forestry, land management and soft engineered flood alleviation schemes can hold back water in the upper reaches of rivers, and work alongside a dredging programme in the lower reaches.

The letter was also sent to the Rt Hon Owen Paterson MP, Anne McIntosh MP and Lord Smith, chairman of the Environment Agency.

To view the full letter visit

IMAGE CREDIT | Flickr User Simon Aughton



This Week in Landscape | 16 February 2014


Worcester, UK | 10 February 2014 | Image Credit Flickr User DGwildlife

This week has seen flooding continue in the United Kingdom after weeks of rain with the Army, DEFRA and the Environment Agency responding with steel and board barriers. Many heritage gardens have also had fallen trees due to overly sodden soil. More information at Environment Agency map.

UK Floods Crisis: How Do You Stop Flooding? Lydia Smith | International Business Times
With areas of the UK experiencing the worst flooding in years, attention has been turned to how it can be prevented or alleviated.

Dredging would not have stopped massive UK floods | Andy Coghlan | New Scientist
“But hydrologists contacted by New Scientist say that dredging alone would not have stopped the flooding. “Given the amount of rain that has fallen, you could have doubled the carrying capacity of every drainage channel in Somerset, at huge cost, and large parts would still have flooded,” says Hannah Cloke at the University of Reading.”

The Dutch solution to floods: live with water, don’t fight it | Tracy McVeigh | The Guardian
“With more than half the country at or below sea level, the Dutch are experts on water management – and its people have had to make sacrifices”

Cool Roofs Might Be Enough to Save Cities from Climate Overheating | Scientific American
“New research suggests that planting gardens atop roofs or painting them white could offset both the local urban heat island effect and global warming, although one roof type does not cover all situations”

Miami Landscape Designer Raymond Jungles | Candace Jackson | Wall Street Journal
“He sketches first with a thick pencil, then switches to progressively thinner ones as a design goes from conceptual to more tangible.”

Detroit’s Belle Isle set to become state park, new fee
The bankrupt city will save $4 million and $6 million a year by handing over the park to the State of Michigan.

Continue reading This Week in Landscape | 16 February 2014

This Week in Landscape | 27 January 2013

Kew Gardens | Image Credit | Flickr User Jim Linwood

Kew Gardens | Image Credit | Flickr User Jim Linwood

The Garden in Winter | Michael Tortorello | NY Times
“…..most of the plants I could see in the home garden area at the botanical garden were not struggling to stave off death. They were comfortably dormant.”

Fields of The Moon | Alex Trevi | Venue
Venue made a detour on our exit out of Flagstaff, Arizona, to visit the old black cinder fields of an extinct volcano—where, incredibly, NASA and its Apollo astronauts once practiced their, at the time, forthcoming landing on the moon.

Energy Drink |  | Allison Maier, The New York World | Urban Omnibus 
“The city’s watershed includes 19 reservoirs, three lakes, 7,000 miles of water pipes, tunnels and aqueducts, and 7,400 miles of sewer lines — and perhaps many megawatts of untapped energy…”

Death of John Hopkins announced | Landscape Institute
“The Landscape Institute has learnt the sad news of the death of John Hopkins, project director for the parklands and public realm for the Olympic Delivery Authority.”

Laurie Olin Remembers Ada Louise Huxtable, Champion of Urban Design | OLIN
“Ada Louise Huxtable was a formidable figure, one whose writing and commentary was always informed, thoughtful, and delivered without the jargon that so often plagues architecture and art criticism. ”

How Will the Lowline Make the Leap From Idea to Reality? | Jessica Dailey | Curbed
“Because the Lowline is such an unusual and innovative idea, some people assume that the creators are oblivious to what the community wants. But Barasch stressed the fact that they have been reaching out to all community groups and businesses…..”

IMAGE CREDIT |  Flickr User Jim Linwood 

Guide to using Pinterest to curate images in design offices and schools

Pinterest is a great way to curate images for the office image library and projects. Starting is as easy as setting up a user account and then creating ‘Boards‘ which are like categories for your images so for landscape office you might start with ‘Boards’ like trees, plants, urban parks, squares, stone, and so on and then start collating images by uploading from your computer, phone or ‘pinning’ images from websites. You just need to remember that the images you are ‘pinning’ are public for everyone on the web to see which can be good for publicising your work or what your working on, but you might want to keep it in-house which I’ll cover later.

Continue reading Guide to using Pinterest to curate images in design offices and schools

CNU 20 West Palm Beach Urban Design Competition

West Palm Beach Aerial (Flickr user: Captain Kimo)

AuthentiCity is an urban design competition held in conjunction with the Congress for the New Urbanism’s 20th annual Congress in West Palm Beach, Florida. Bringing the world’s foremost minds in urban design, planning, architecture, engineering, and policy making together offers a unique opportunity to give back to the host community of West Palm Beach.

Continue reading CNU 20 West Palm Beach Urban Design Competition

This Week In Landscape | 4 March 2012

This weeks round-up of landscape news and views from around the web

Prospect Park (Flickr User wallyg)

We want a total ban on cars from Prospect Park,  Brooklynites tell city |  Simone Weichselbaum | New York Daily
But Brooklyn residents questioned why officials won’t ban motorists rather than cram cars into a 10-foot slice of pavement during the morning and evening commutes, the only time vehicles are allowed inside the park.

Suburban design: Pomp and paternalism | C.H. | The Economist
A review of  “Foreclosed: Rehousing the American Dream” at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York until July 13

Concentrating on building efficiency is Europe’s new climate-change mantra | Sandrine Dixson-Declève | The Guardian
Since buildings burn 40% of all the energy consumed, insulating them effectively could help the EU meet climate targets….

Harvard-PKU parallel course in eco-city planning | Bai Bing | Peking University
From February 10 to 19, 2 professors and 12 graduate students from Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD), along with 16 graduate students from the College of Architecture and Landscape Architecture (CALA) of Peking University (PKU), completed a 10-day program under the guidance of Professor Yu Kongjian, president of CALA.

Gardening turns out to be very eco un-friendly | Roger Dobson & Jonathan Owen | The Independent
A report from the University of Reading and the RHS shows that gardens are a vital part of green infrastructure in cities however, it can contribute CO2 through the use of lawn mowers and peat.  Also here is the the abstract from ‘ The domestic garden: its contribution to urban green infrastructure’ by Cameron, R., Blanusa, T., Taylor, J., Salisbury, A., Halstead, A., Henricot, B. and Thompson, K.

SimCity 5 rumoured to launch in 2013 – Digital Spy
The last version of Sim City launched back in 2003 so news of an all new version slated to be launched in 2013 has caused a buzz in frustrated urban planners and designers  around the world.
See images of the rumoured game 

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IMAGE CREDIT: Flickr User wallyg (Wally Gobetz)


USA urban forests losing ground

Albuquerque Aerial 2006 (Flickr User kla4067)

National results indicate that tree cover in urban areas of the United States is declining at a rate of about 4 million trees per year, according to a U.S. Forest Service study published recently in Urban Forestry & Urban Greening.

Tree cover in 17 of the 20 cities analyzed in the study declined while 16 cities saw increases in impervious cover, which includes pavement and rooftops. Land that lost trees was for the most part converted to either grass or ground cover, impervious cover or bare soil.

Of the 20 cities analyzed, the greatest percentage of annual loss in tree cover occurred in New Orleans, Houston and Albuquerque. Researchers expected to find a dramatic loss of trees in New Orleans and said that it is most likely due to the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Tree cover ranged from a high of 53.9 percent in Atlanta to a low of 9.6 percent in Denver while total impervious cover varied from 61.1 percent in New York City to 17.7 percent in Nashville. Cities with the greatest annual increase in impervious cover were Los Angeles, Houston and Albuquerque.

Continue reading USA urban forests losing ground

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