He told guests that "landscape delivers" and that was something they should promote, before announcing that his choice for this year’s President Award - the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon by LDA Design – was influenced by the leading role played by the profession.
‘This is a project on which the landscape architect is leading, evolving the vision and coordinating a team, showing that a landscape-led approach is the best approach, the right approach and should be the only approach," he said.
It was a message that keynote speaker urban renewal campaigner and consultant Marjora Carter agreed with. She said green infrastructure played a vital and cost-effective role in improving people’s quality of life. Her work led to the creation of Hunts Point Riverside Park, which gave reisdents riverside access and drew in $3 million in investment.
Carter got involved "out of a sheer sense of desperation" when she found herself back in her home community of the South Bronx after escaping to go to university.
Her lightbulb moment came when she saw a study on landscape and human health which compared urban communities and read that "the place with the trees" had lower crime rates, better school results and lower rates of teenage pregnancy. But it was not until she had cause to engage a landscape architect that she knew the profession even existed.
She said well designed open space gave people something to be hopeful about, "it’s the great democratiser".
"It is people like you that use sensitivity to create these designs that, when people walk thorough them, they become better versions of themselves."
"This profession is bridging that gap between where we are now and where we want to be and for that I thank you for all that you do."
The awards, were held in the Bloomsbury Big Top, central London on Thursday and presented by LI fellow Adam White, director of Davies White.
Nicola Gamory, Mayda Henderson, Rachel Tennant, Lindsey Wilkinson and Penny Beckett were awarded fellowships.
Gilly Drummond, who established the Hampshire Gardens Trust 30 years ago which led to the Association of Gardens Trusts, was awarded an honorary fellowship. She is now chair of the Project Management Board for the Capability Brown Festival