"Ethics in landscape architecture" dissertation wins national award

A Writtle College postgraduate has won a second major national award for her landscape architecture dissertation, which aimed to develop a new ethical approach to the design process.

Jacqui Jobbins. Image: Writtle College
Jacqui Jobbins. Image: Writtle College

Jacqui Jobbins, from Bradwell on Sea, has won the Masters prize in the Art & Design section of the Landscape Research Group's student awards, for her dissertation asking "What is the ethical response, as landscape architects, to the relationship between society and the natural and built environments?"

She particularly focused on how to respond ethically to the environmental and social challenges of the 21st century, such as finite resources and climate change.

Jobbins developed a matrix to assess ethical value during the design process, which focused first on the natural, then the social and then the built environment, applying the theory developed by philosopher Warwick Fox. The matrix' use was demonstrated through the case study of South Woodham Ferrers and its 20-year Local Development Framework.

The Landscape Research Group's awards, made annually, recognise up to nine undergraduates and postgraduate students nationally for outstanding dissertations or theses which, for Masters students, demonstrate "significant academic and creative inquiry". This year five awards were made across three categories, two to doctoral and three to Masters students.

Jobbins graduated last year with a Masters in Landscape Architecture and is now a landscape architect at CSa Environmental Planning in Ashwell, North Hertfordshire. She had already won the student dissertation category in the last Landscape Institute awards and was runner up in the President's Award.

Jobbins said: "As landscape architects (and all landscape-based professionals) we are in the privileged position of being able to use the powerful medium of landscape to change perceptions and influence people, and I believe we have an obligation to do so."

Paul Tabbush, chair of the Landscape Research Group, said: "We received a good response to this year's awards and the standard was very high. Jacqui's dissertation takes on a practical problem and looks across philosophy, landscape architecture and landscape ecology for theoretical and practical ideas that can be assessed, synthesized and tested in practice. It is the kind of interdisciplinary work that the Landscape Research Group is eager to support. "

Jacqui was one of only three Masters students nationally to have won the award. She will be given £350, a year's free membership of the group and subscription to its international peer-reviewed journal Landscape Research. In addition, her abstract will be published with the other winners' abstracts in its publication, Landscape Review Extra, which is sent out with the journal.

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