Landscape Institute argues for landscape-led approach in housing white paper response

Institute acknowledges need for new housing but says landscape must be seen as "critical infrastructure".

Denton-Thompson: "Good-quality landscape is in the public interest.". Image: LI
Denton-Thompson: "Good-quality landscape is in the public interest.". Image: LI

The Landscape Institute (LI) has outlined the benefits of a landscape-led approach to new housing development in its response to the Government's housing white paper.

The housing white paper, Fixing Our Broken Housing Market, sought to stimulate house building by proposing "a new standard methodology for calculating ‘objectively assessed need’, and encourage councils to plan on this basis". It also announced an intention to amend the NPPF to introduce a "clear policy expectation that housing sites deliver a minimum of 10% affordable home ownership units."

However consideration of the landscape this housing would be created within was lacking, as LI president Merrick Denton-Thompson pointed out on its release. 

He urged the Government to acknowledge that quality of life is as important as providing a roof over people’s heads, and said that provision of good-quality landscape was in the public interest.

"Landscape professionals work across our communities to develop a common vision for places that makes the best use of the land," he said. "They use landscape as critical infrastructure to provide character and beauty, as well as multifunctionality.

"Our profession can provide solutions to a wide range of issues such as economic development, climate resilience, flooding, health and well-being, and air and noise pollution."

Denton-Thompson said that the institute recognises there is an urgent need to build more houses and at a faster pace than has been achieved previously, but said this must be done in a way that secures great places to live.

"We want to see homes, not just houses, in places that are safe and resilient to climate change; places where children can play and make friends for life; places where older people can lead fulfilling lives; places that are teeming with wildlife; places that support the health and well-being of everyone.’

The comments come as part of the LI’s response to February’s housing white paper, which the Government consulted on from February 7 to May 2. The LI issued a call for members’ comments. In its response it focused on six key points:

  • the present state of the housing market
  • the importance of landscape
  • green belt policy
  • landscape assessments
  • funding landscape infrastructure
  • responses to specific consultation questions

Chair of the LI Policy and Communications Committee Kate Bailey said: "The response reflects the wide range of views, experience and case studies provided by our expert members and I want to thank them all for their contributions."

The LI has also offered to meet planning policy officials to discuss the how the profession can assist deliver landscape as infrastructure linked directly to creation of new homes.

The institute represent more than 5,000 landscape architects, planners, designers, managers and scientists. In its white paper response it considered the term 'landscape' to include the green infrastructure of natural landscapes, agricultural and productive landscapes and public green spaces such as parks and playing fields and the harder urban infrastructure of streets, squares and playgrounds.


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