Sue Illman sets Landscape Institute presidency agenda

Water, housing and health among key themes of new Landscape Institute leader's presidency.

New Landscape Institute president Sue Illman has put water at the top of her agenda, saying hosepipe bans and flooding reflect global issues that must be tackled.

Illman said the institute will publish position statements on water, housing and public health and well-being. She used her presidential speech to talk about the European water framework directive and the natural environment white paper.

"This is an interesting time in our profession. Supply and demand of water, hosepipe bans and consequences of flooding are local problems to a global issue. We are in a unique place to deliver on these agendas, integrating creative sustainable drainage or retrofitting towns."

Illman pointed out that the Government has signed up to the water framework directive but only 27 per cent of lakes and rivers are ecologically stable. Although hosepipe bans have been lifted, water scarcity will haunt us for years, she added.

"The Government needs to recognise the ability of landscape professionals to solve a substantial part of this problem through integrated water management and water-sensitive design'" said Illman. "It's up to us to communicate the value we can bring to all developments at any scale.

"New housing, urban regeneration, heritage conservation, health and leisure, along with the transformation of our struggling high streets, would all benefit from the support of landscape architects.

"We also need to be much more vocal about the traditional housebuilder model where green space is seen only as a requirement, not an opportunity. We need to articulate the vast benefits of green infrastructure."

She added: "The Localism Act is a great opportunity for the profession - it will bring more demand for better landscapes as local communities are given the opportunity to shape their environments. The profession must seize this opportunity and help those communities to realise their visions."

Inside view: profession still buoyant despite recession

Jo Watkins, immediate past president,landscape institute

"Recession is grim but we have a very buoyant profession and some practices have never been busier, working on research, infrastructure, design and management.

"I hope that the Olympic Park will bring a great level of understanding among disciplines of a new way of working between contractors, clients and designers. They all have the single goal to get the job done and the only way to achieve that is to work together."

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