Landscape key to future planning revolution says Farrell Review

Leading architect Sir Terry Farrell has called for a revolution in the planning system with landscape given a key role in future planning, in the Farrell Review published today.

Farrell has called for a new understanding of ‘PLACE’ - bringing planning, landscape, architecture, conservation and engineering professionals together in a joined-up approach.

In his report Farrell, commissioned by Culture Secretary Ed Vaisey last year to conduct an independent investigation into architecture and the built environment, recognises the public realm has suffered through our current planning system and says that "appropriate funding for landscape and public art should be demanded from developers by local authorities".

He called for "a revolution in the planning system to make it proactive rather than reactive, anticipating rather than responding to the future needs of our towns and cities." He said proactively planning as other countries do would mean we would anticipate issues like the national housing shortage or susceptibility to flooding and could address them before they became a crisis.

He called for landscape architects – through the PLACE Leadership Council – to be involved with reviews alongside other professionals of existing places like high streets, mega-hospitals and housing estates and of infrastructure projects like rail, road and aviation improvements.

And he said the Government should appoint a chief architect, reporting to the DCMS and the DCLG, and champion Britain’s strength in the field by holding an annual International Festival of Architecture in London.

President of the Landscape Institute (LI) Sue Illman said the report was "a major step forward in recognising the need to fully integrate planning and design".

She added: "The proposal to create PLACE review panels which will recognise the knowledge of the professionals from each of these fields is welcomed. The proposal for design quality champions within local authorities and the establishment of the PLACE Leadership Council is recognition of the need to address all aspects of the built environment at both the national and local level.

"Following the LI’s recent publication on public health we particularly welcome the acknowledgement of the way in which public health can be ‘improved by creating human-scale pedestrian friendly spaces’.

"Landscape architecture addresses both the built and the natural environment, therefore the commitment to a new level of connectedness between institutes and government departments, a theme echoed in our recent letter to the Prime Minister on the prevention of flooding, is welcomed. A considered and integrated approach to how we create, plan and manage places is a highly desirable way forward."

Farrell said that the issues covered by the review affected everyone:

"This is the century of global city making and urbanisation on a scale never seen before with an amount of development equivalent to a city the size of Birmingham being built every week around the world. At the same time, a new era of intellectual and cultural exchange between cities is emerging.

"Our world-renowned institutions, agencies and professionals should be at the forefront of this, while recognising we have much to learn from others.

"I hope this Review will be the catalyst for change and the start of a big conversation about our built environment, making it a major public issue like health and food. There are few things that are more important to us than the places we live in. I look forward to continuing to work with government and industry to translate this vision into a reality."

Vaisey said he was "immensely grateful" to Farrell, his team and all who contributed, which included LI members.

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