"One's mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original
Oliver Wendell Holmes
This quote has such
Architecture project, be it residential, urban square or a park management
plan, presents a different challenge that demands from the designer or design
team a fresh idea. The continual expansion of our minds and the thrill of
discovering something new about ourselves, other people, the ecology, the land,
the place, is surely a very good reason to be in this profession!
Then there is the
client and the users of our creations interacting with these new ideas. The thought that perhaps we may have
stretched some one else’s mind, brought a deeper understanding, a sense of
delight or the potential to participate in the ‘landscape’, has to be another
very good reason to be a Landscape Architect.
And, of course the
quote clearly resonates with the competition, Remaking Lost Connections! This must have stretched the minds of
the entrants. I know that it stretched the minds of the jurors who have
reported that the entries sparked robust, provoking discussions and brought new
insights. Those who visit the exhibition of the entries at Regatta Point will
certainly have their minds well engaged and stretched with the myriad of ideas
around how Canberra can uniquely address the various impacts of climate change.
One aim of the
competition was to demonstrate the value of local knowledge and the deep
appreciation that this brings for what is special about Canberra’s landscape. This
is not a new ‘idea’ but the ideas presented show the depth of talent and
originality amongst our local members. The
entries certainly prove that there is the capacity to generate meaningful solutions
to addressing the impacts of climate change; solutions that help to empower the
community and strengthen our relationship to the ‘Bush Capital’.
I made sure I was not
around the jury while they deliberated. However, Dr. Andrew MacKenzie, who acted
as Jury Advisor and Secretary, reported that the Jury was incredibly thorough
and had a very long, short list. Every entry was discussed and critiqued. I
would like to thank the jury for being so generous, giving us their time and
expertise. I would like to thank Andrew for the tremendous effort he made in
assisting the jury and pulling the results and commendations together.
Of course this
competition would not have happened without the backing of the National Capital
Authority, the Environment Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate and
the City Renewal Authority. The
assistance of these organisations and their staff was instrumental to the
success and public outreach of the competition.
As Registrar, AILA ACT
President and a passionate Landscape Architect, a huge personal thanks goes to
all those Landscape Architects who contributed time, money and emotion
resources in developing and putting in an entry. Every scheme is a winner. Because of your efforts the local ACT Chapter
of the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects is the biggest winner. You have raised our ‘voice’ in this city.
Hopefully you are
still reading as there is still more to cover in this message!
The Territory Plan
Review – this is a very big idea and provides the opportunity to move every
‘dimension’ pertaining to the Canberra’s landscape quality.
EPSDD are still
scoping the consultation plan. The purpose of the two workshops I attended in
May were to help develop that consultation plan. Ben Ponton, the Chief Planner,
opened up the workshops stating that ‘to get different outcomes then you did to
change the processes’. (I remember using similar words myself when in planning
so this was VERY gratifying to hear!) To
cut to the chase, the policies and structure of the Territory Plan are up for
change. There is a recognition that the one size fits all ‘zoning’ is not
necessarily appropriate for a city as diverse in form and character as the
Canberra. EPSDD are committed to simplifying the Territory Plan, make it
clearer, more direct and ‘positive’.
This review demands a
strong, collective voice from our Chapter. There is an opportunity to influence
change and establish a ‘planning and operating’ environment that enable the
profession to deliver innovative, excellent outcomes. To effectively contribute to this review and
push the dimensions we have to engage with each other, discuss the issues,
share our experiences and develop a collective position. This is not a
consultation exercise that can fall to a few people in the Executive. As a
parting exercise from the Presidency, I will draft a proposal for an engagement
strategy for the Chapter.
Which does bring me to
the last item – the Annual Chapter Meeting!
This has been scheduled for 25
July, 5.30 pm at the National Office. A separate email will be sent out with
the agenda in a week or so. Members have
already been advised that the current Executive are intending to stand down. The current Executive Team has delivered some
new initiatives that have raised the profile of the profession as well as some
great social and networking opportunities.
Thanks to the commitment and enthusiasm of this Executive there is some some
momentum building in our Chapter – there is some great work for a new Executive
to build on. Nominations are open!
Q If you had a Tardis where would you go
(when and where) and your reason
would travel to 101 years from now, the year 2120, to see what climate change
has wrought to the planet’s polar ice caps and iconic flora and fauna; as well
as to my home, to see how well my humans and landscapes are adapting.
Q If the good fairy of LA could grant you
one wish for the profession what would you ask for?
A That the landscape architecture
profession be held in high esteem across society, with our work in bettering
the lives of humans and caring for nature, known, valued and well funded.
The exhibition of the
entries to the ideas Competition Remaking