All this chat about wasted land, under used urban space, untapped city potential made us wonder. Is there a parallel going on here between our thinking on the city and the state of our profession? As landscape architects, we talk too often about the dischord between what we know we can do and influence, and the project work we actually end up doing. We think ‘regeneration strategy’ and do ‘supermarket carpark’. We dream ‘changing perceptions in urban liveability’ and do ‘municipal planting scheme’. Our skill set, in creative problem solving, defining value and equity, consultation, participation, in design and procurement and delivery is compressed into a surface-level titivation exercise.
City land, don’t be a waste of space…
Landscape architects, don’t be a waste of space!
At The Wasteland Collective, we’re asking the urban landscape to work harder, and we need to do the same professionally. We’re asking the city’s wasted spaces to come forward and be counted, and by the same measure landscape architects need to step forward and be recognised. Not to do so, and accept the status quo is the same as the city space which we allow to be acceptable when it could offer so much more.
We need to offer and promote alternative methods of working to demonstrate our value: our unique reading of the urban landscape, ability to represent and design balance for sometimes conflicting objectives, methods which merge creativity with science, our understanding of the value of Natural Capital. Involvement in projects like the Wasteland Collective offers a platform to demonstrate this. We are able to act soley in the interests of our own understanding of urban landscapes, without the constraints of developer or landowner or commercial interest. And this is a turly revealing way to represent what we do.
Now is a time when people are listening. Business approaches are changing, tactics for urban regeneration are open for re-consideration. Urban space needs to be adaptable to this change, and the people perfectly primed to offer guidance and direction to this change need to be alert and briefed: landscape architects, your time is now.
‘It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but rather the one most adaptable to change..‘, perfectly put, thank you Darwin!