Designer: climate change offers new opportunities

The challenges of climate change can provide exciting opportunities for the landscape industry, delegates to the Landscape Institute conference was told last week.

LDA Design senior partner Professor Robert Tregay said of sustainable development: “Developers are up for it, and local planning authorities increasingly so too. It has to be economic — it must work in a free market economy. But if people want to invest their lives in a place, then developers will invest in it too.” Effective use of water, for example, could be used to enhance property values as well as increasing biodiversity and even providing opportunities for fish production, he said. “The area of greatest temperature change will be south-east England, which is the area of greatest housing development, because that’s where the demand is. “It will also see summer rainfall reduce by 40 to 50 per cent, combined with intense rainfall events. But we should think of water as an asset. We need to attenuate the effects of heavy rain and save it on site. Lakes and canals can be locations for leisure developments.” Tregay cited the English Riviera as an example of how climate change may work to the advantage of neighbourhoods and developers. “It could restart the English tourism industry. Cheap air travel won’t be around for much longer, and the Mediterranean may become unbearably hot in summer. Torbay will be comparatively easy to get to, pleasant and environmentally friendly. And a more positive economic outlook lets you invest in quality design in the public realm.”

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