Landscape architects urged to tackle 'depressing' developer profit culture

Landscape architects need to make their voices heard in order to combat the 'depressing' situation where green space is seen as an add-on to development.

Farrer Huxley Associates director Noel Farrer urged landscape architects to press the point that great landscape provides wide scale value and benefits.

Noel Farrer was speaking at this year’s Landscape Institute conference on Housing, Land Use and Sustainability, held on 9-10 October.

“Once the developer has made his profit we might be able to get around to considering something that, to me, is an absolutely fundamental part of housing,” explained Noel Farrer.
“It is very depressing that landscape is seen as an add-on extra.”  

The Landscape Institute conference took an in-depth look at the issues surrounding housing, in the light of the Government’s pledge to build three million new homes by 2020.

Department of Communities and Local Government Parliamentary under-secretary Iain Wright showed his support for the role of the landscape architect in housing projects, and explained the key was in quality, not quantity.

“I want to see more houses being built, but I want to see them built in a properly planned way with the right infrastructure such as public spaces and parks integrated from the beginning,” he stressed.

Landscape Institute chief executive Alastair McCapra added: “Nothing could be more relevant for our profession than discussing how we can create human environments in which people flourish and reach their full potential.”

The ongoing conflict between considerations of cost and profit, and the role of good design and quality green infrastructure, was a point of contention throughout the conference, that also discussed issues of flooding, Code Level 6, and food production. 

Home Builders Federation external affairs director John Slaughter argued: “In a private development if you’re allocating more [area] to green space that is not something you readily get value back for.”

“Design in the overall cost of a project is miniscule. We need to build not just housing developments but communities that people are proud of,” added Iain Wright MP.

For more on the Landscape Institute conference, see Horticulture Week magazine 17 October.

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