How do Landscape Architects Improve Communities?
Committed to designing and creating a better Australia, landscape architects have the skills and expertise to solve macro issues with innovative integrated solutions. Landscape architects contribute leadership, creativity and innovation as they collaborate to achieve better health, environmental, social and economic outcomes. From citywide strategies to the redesign of local parks, landscape architects are making places and spaces more sustainable and productive. Communities are demanding more and more from government and landscape architects are increasingly collaborating with the public and other stakeholders to achieve desired project outcomes.
The impact of landscapes
Good landscapes help to make healthy and happy communities. One of the most important aspects of landscape design is its influence on quality of life and social interaction. Across the country, if you live in an economically deprived area it is likely you will have access to considerably fewer public parks and good quality green spaces than people in more affluent areas. Well-designed green spaces improve social connection and safety, they can support people to exercise more and they can even help to moderate temperature. Integrated landscape-led design has the power to transform a place into somewhere which is highly functional and has strong character and beauty.
How do landscape architects contribute to decision making?
The landscape profession brings vision, imagination and technical rigour to a project, regardless of scale. At the highest level, landscape architects have direct influence on planning reform and environmental policy, where they have promoted new ways to make best use of the land. The profession has developed practical strategies to assess the character of landscapes and the impacts of development, and one of the most important strategies is stakeholder consultation.
Engaging the community
Engaging local communities in decision-making during the evolution of a scheme’s design is a central part of localism. It increases the power and influence of local residents in shaping their own environment. It is also important to know what politicians, landowners and businesses need, and be able to recognise and reconcile competing demands. A good way to start the dialogue is to draw on people’s knowledge of a place, its history and its landscape character. Landscape architects are trained to consult with clients and the broader community to understand concerns, gather inspiration, and develop a deep understanding of all the stakeholders’ requirements. Local detailed knowledge can provide the inspiration for the ‘big idea’ underpinning new development. The profession is trained to use traditional and contemporary techniques to communicate ideas, from hand sketches to physical models, computer visualisations, animation, video and websites. But it is the landscape architect’s imagination that makes good use of these tools in developing a solution to the community’s needs.