Directors Message - 3 April 2017

This week we launched the 2017 International Festival of Landscape Architecture: The 3rd City

This was a fantastic event with industry, government and media representatives at The Calyx, Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney. The Festival will be presented in Sydney from 12-15 October and aims to attract over 3,000 participants across 30 industry and public fringe events.

The two-day International Conference (13 & 14 October) will be held at the spectacular Overseas Passenger Terminal, Circular Quay and the 2017 National Landscape Architecture Awards will be held at the urban sanctuary The Grounds of Alexandria.

“The 3rd City is the future city, a postulation to be mapped, tested and debated” says Creative Directorate Convenor, Prof Helen Lochhead, “The 3rd City will take us beyond post-industrial urbanisation to ask what is necessary and what is possible for future cities, their people, their ecologies and their spaces.”

The Festival promises to be an amazing celebration of our profession with the first announcement of international keynote speakers revealed last night including:

Hilary Brown (USA) Professor of Architecture at the City College of New York. Hillary founded New York City’s Office of Sustainable Design in 1997, developing it High Performance Building and High Performance Infrastructure Guidelines. Since 2001, her consulting practice, New Civic Works, has engaged public and institutional clients in greening their capital programs. Hilary is the author of Next Generation Infrastructure: Principles for Post Industrial Public Works (2014)

Nina Marie Lister (Canada); is the Founding Principal of Plandform studio with a background in landscape ecology and environmental planning, Nina- Marie is co-editor of Projective Ecologies (2014) and The Ecosystem Approach: Complexity, Uncertainty, and Managing Sustainability

Dr Pierre Belanger (USA/Canada): Associate Professor of Urbanism, Landscape, and Ecology at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design. Pierre was the Curator & Director for the controversial Canada Pavilion and Exhibition “EXTRACTION” at the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale and is the author of Landscape as Infrastructure and co-author of Ecologies of Power (2016)

Prof Jeff Hou (USA): is Professor and Chair of Built Environment at the University of Washington. Jeff’s research, teaching, and [practice focus on community design, design activism, cross cultural learning and engagement of marginalized communities in planning,, design and placemaking. Jeff is the author of Messy Urbanism: Understanding the “Other” Cities of Asia (2016 and Insugent Public Space (2010).

This month the national State of the Environment Report was released which noted the population in Sydney along with Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth will increase by 5.9 million people by 2031.

Key findings from the report illustrate that:

  • The built environment puts pressure on the natural environment and affects the lives of the community
  • Pressures from population growth are having a high and negative impact on quality of the natural environment as well as the liveability of Australia’s built environment.

We have such an important role to play in addressing these issues. A focus on green infrastructure will provide innovative responses to growth through increased access to open space, improving the quality of existing open space and creating new open space as part of urban renewal infill and infrastructure projects – landscape as infrastructure.

At every corner we need to encourage our clients and agencies to continue to invest in revitalising existing parks and ensure that improved public domain and the creation of new open space destinations play a major role in all development and infrastructure projects.

The Total Environment Centre has recently launched an SOS Green Spaces campaign in response to the loss of green space as a result of ongoing urban development. They will be holding a gathering of community groups and individuals to discuss how we can better protect our urban tree canopy, bushland and parks. Our very own James Grant (Past President of AILA NSW and National Council) will be representing AILA and talking about “What is the value of Green Spaces to our community”

When: Saturday 1 April (10am – 3pm with lunch provided)

Where: Mitchell Theatre, Sydney Mechanics' School of Arts (280 Pitt Street, Sydney)

Please RSVP here by Friday if you wish to attend.

I am reminding you that AILA has created a new initiative Member Networks where we are calling for members to put themselves forward as a network champions. Proposed network include:

  • Women’s Network
  • Regional Network
  • Public Sector Network
  • Research Network
  • Small business network

This is a great opportunity to connect with like-minded people.

This is such an important time for landscape architects to stay involved and actively engaged with each other and issues facing our city.

Barbara Schaffer

AILA National Director
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