Landscape architects fight to get improved recognition in Europe

Getting landscape architecture recognised as a profession across Europe will be an "uphill struggle", according to the new president of the European Foundation for Landscape Architecture (EFLA).

Nigel Thorne, who will officially take up his role on 1 January, told HW that several countries across Europe still do not see the full value of the profession.

He added that reversing that trend will be "top of the list" in his leadership of the EFLA.

"If we haven't got recognition of the profession in long-established countries then that is a pretty dire situation," said Thorne, who was president of the Landscape Institute until Neil Williamson took over in 2008. "The very first thing we'll be trying to do is get the professional qualification recognised in its own right, which will take time."

The issue is with using the term "architect", he explained, because some countries wish to retain the word solely for buildings architects rather than allowing it to be used to describe the landscape architecture qualification. "That is an uphill struggle," said Thorne.

Countries where the issue needed to be addressed include France, Portugal, Italy and Turkey, along with some eastern European states, he added.

Working closely with other organisations that represent architects and town planners would help raise landscape architects' profile, Thorne suggested.

The EFLA is now moving to new premises adjacent to the European Council of Town Planners to help co-ordinate work.

Another priority for Thorne will be ensuring that countries signed up to the European Landscape Convention are serious about its aims of promoting the landscape.

"I want to challenge all the countries that have ratified the convention to say what they are actually doing and how they are monitoring that," he explained.


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