Farrer On ... Recognising the value of quality landscaping

I recently gave evidence on green infrastructure to the House of Lords committee on the built environment. This was the first time the Landscape Institute has ever been asked to give oral evidence and a great opportunity.

My first comment was to acknowledge their recognition of the importance of green infrastructure and the landscape element of place-making. It's about understanding these processes and using the landscape skills of management, science and all the creative design processes to ensure quality and the success of future places.

Evidence shows that public spaces and landscapes create the value necessary for development to thrive. It is the places that people find desirable that they choose to move into and where they will stay.

Barcelona's continued investment in neighbourhoods, markets and streets determines the city's character and quality, and ultimately where its 1.4 million residents choose to live and work. It is no coincidence that Barcelona delivers more than 70 per cent of Spain's GDP. Landscape is the primary consideration in delivering places where people want to be, want to work, want to innovate and therefore is the guarantee of a thriving economy.

For UK landscapes to have the necessary consideration, local authorities must inform development through absolute clarity about their vision for towns and the character of the places they want to see. This approach to the public-private partnership will allow development to thrive rather than struggle as it often now does.

Green infrastructure needs to be reintroduced, perhaps based on Natural England's landscape character assessment using the landscape to determine the plans rather than the political red lines of the local authorities. Most of this work is done and could be readily introduced.

It will be interesting to see what the Lords' final report recommends when they report by March next year - we wait to see.

Landscape Institute president Noel Farrer is a founding partner of Farrer huxley associates

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