Review of 2011 - Landscape

Review of Landscape 2011 - image: HW
Review of Landscape 2011 - image: HW
January
•    More than 60 landscape groups wrote to David Cameron urging the PM to give more political backing to the European Landscape Convention, developed to ensure greater protection and management of Europe’s landscapes.
•    Liverpool’s Festival Gardens, one of the UK’s most iconic international festival sites, appointed Groundwork Merseyside to manage the 40ha derelict site after a £250m redevelopment, due for completion later in 2011.
•    A big funding splash of more than £7m was announced by the Heritage and Big lottery funds to help park managers from Croydon to Aberdeen restore, conserve, re-energise and reposition them at the heart of communities.

February
•    Big-screen blockbuster Avatar inspired the little-screen presenter Diarmuid Gavin to design a hanging garden of green grasses and ponds for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. Irish Tourist Board sponsored the garden for the show.
•    Southwark Council gave the green light for a £6m makeover of Burgess Park in one of the biggest splashes for a park revamp in London, to include new wildlife habitats. Part of the funding came from mayor Boris Johnston.
•    A legal bid to stop the commercial development of a site opposite Hampton Court Palace was thrown out by the High Court. Keith Garner, a consultant to Kew who brought the action said the homes and shops would ruin views.

March
•    Cabe Space was all-but annihilated in the merger between Cabe and the Design Council. Staffing at the green-space watchdog went from 21 to four, with experts questioning the coalition’s claim to be greenest ever government.
•    Frosts Landscape Construction installed more than 180,000 plants to create a huge green wall at the Mint Hotel in London. The 40 native evergreens stretched 11 stories, 35m high, and took six months to plant.
•    Indoor plants reduced workplace stress and halved the numbers of people throwing "sickies", research by John Moores University revealed. Using plants in workplaces could help businesses make big savings, it said.

April
•    Landscape leaders criticised new planning measures in the Government’s Plan for Growth paper, which proposed a 12-month fast track for applications and localised choice. They said a simplified process could lead to lower standards.
•    Landscape designers benefited from an EU-funded project that enabled them to use a 3D "active cube" system at Northampton University to walk around their un-built designs to give them an idea of perspectives, views and vistas.
•    A temporary landscape showcasing Australia’s unique and threatened plants opened in the forecourt of the British Museum in London, designed and overseen by Steve Ruddy, head of garden development at Kew Gardens.

May
•    Harrogate Borough Council enlisted the noted garden designer Paul Hervey-Brookes to help improve biodiversity in high-profile local parks and green spaces by focusing on low-maintenance and plants that attracted wildlife.
•    LDA Design and Exterior Architecture was appointed by the owner of one of London’s most notable landmarks, Battersea Power Station, to create landscape for a mixed-use redevelopment including a 2.4ha park.
•    Cleve West’s Daily Telegraph garden won best in show at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show for a design loosely inspired by the Roman ruins at Ptolemais in Libya and including a sunken space and reclaimed Cotswold stone.

June
•    Letchworth, the world-famous garden city, rolled out one of a series of projects as part of a £12m restoration programme to restore gardens and create new green spaces. LDA worked up plans to restore biodiversity and ecology.
•    Wayne Grills, newly appointed chief operations officer at British Association of Landscape Industries, suggested a more unified body representing the sector would make it appear less fragmented when lobbying government.
•    A 600m spiral labyrinth path was created at Wakehurst Place, West Sussex, designed by artist and Kew patron Patricia Swannell, who used 12,000 locally-produced bricks for the scheme called Unexpected Endings.

July
•    Policy experts criticised proposed changes to the localism bill that could divert development funds to projects with wider community support……
•    Sexual health was aired at RHS Flower Show Tatton Park when designer Jon Tilley used lavender and rock structures to mimic the shape of an HIV cell. A pink latex border was a metaphor for condoms and carried a safe-sex message.
•    An extra 500 women were given a leg-up on the career ladder in landscape and other land-based work after skills council Lantra extended its Women & Work funding for another year. It has helped 3,500 women in four years.

August
•    Sue Illman, newly voted president of the Landscape Institute, said cuts may starve councils of expertise, but more work was being tendered and numbers of school schemes were creeping up, only on a smaller scale than before.
•    Some 16 designers including Hort Week blogger Jo Thompson booked their place for the Gardening World Cup in Nagasaki, Japan, for an annual event held on a 152ha theme park based on a replica of the Dutch Huis Ten Bosh
•    The new 52-page slimline National Planning Policy Framework could prove a recipe for lengthy and expensive disputes because it was too simplistic and lacked definition on areas of sustainability, warned landscape leaders.

September
•    Plans for a 400ha new town with 4ha central park, 20ha of playing fields and a country park went before Aberdeenshire planners. Every one of the 4,000 homes in Chapelton will be no more than 10 minutes’ walk of a green space.
•    European Federation for Landscape Architecture threw its weight behind an international campaign called Green Cities Europe to promote urban greening, which would add the voice of 10,000 landscape architects to the demand.
•    A 5m-tall Henry Moore sculpture worth millions of pounds was returned to Greenwich Park in London after a four-year restoration job. The abstract bronze statue, Large Standing Figure: Knife Edge, was created in 1976.

October
•    A former coal tip nicknamed black beaches in the 1970s almost won Europe’s best landscape award. The restored Sunderland-to-Hartlepool shoreline at Durham Heritage Coast was second at Council of Europe Landscape Awards.
•    Landscapers said they were collaborating more closely with artists, architects and surveyors to win work after construction figures from the Federation of Masterbuilders showed a continuing fall in work and employment.
•    Landscape contractors and horticulturists said they were on track to complete planting for wildflower meadows at the Olympic Park with team leader Nigel Dunnett insisting work was "outstanding" in all but a few areas.

November
•    Landscape Architect Bunny Guinness used an All-Party Gardening & Horticulture Group meeting in the House of Commons to condemn the National Planning Policy Framework for being too local in focus.
•    A £1m group of mini projects such as a community orchard and vegetable garden in Dalston, London, scooped the UK’s premier landscape prize, winning the president’s award at the Landscape Institute Awards ceremony.
•    Plans to regenerate New Covent Garden Market were unveiled, focusing on a 4.2ha linear park, which will thread its way through the £1bn scheme including low-rise housing to limit shadow over the green spaces.

December
•    Acclaimed landscape architect Noel Farrer set his sites on Chelsea with a garden that aimed to stop riots. The design for social housing and other dense urban hubs focused on quality not vandal-proofing to win over youngsters.
•    US practice James Corner Field Operations won a £12m design to create a 23ha park on the south site of the Olympic Games site after the event finishes next year, to include water features, play areas and performance spaces.
•    Chancellor George Osborne’s autumn statement including £30bn to jump-start road and railway infrastructure projects set in motion a potential windfall of work for landscape designers and contractors, ecologists and arborists.

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