The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary






Landscape architecture

Landscape architecture is the art, planning, design, management, preservation and rehabilitation of the land and the design of large-scale man-made constructs. The scope of the profession includes architectural design, site planning, estate development, environmental restoration, town or urban planning, park and recreation planning, regional planning, spatial planning, and historic preservation.

Landscape architects are considered professionals on par with doctors and lawyers, because they are often required to obtain specialized education and professional licensure, similar to the requirements for those other professional occupations.

Landscape architecture is a multi-disciplinary field, including within its fold mathematics, science, engineering, art, technology, social sciences, politics, history, philosophy, the activities of a landscape architect can range from the creation of public parks and parkways to the site planning for corporate office buildings, from the design of residential estates to the design of civil infastructure and the management of large wilderness areas or reclamation of degraded landscapes such as mines or landfills.

Landscape architects work on all types of external space - large or small, urban or rural, and with 'hard'/'soft' materials, hydrology and ecological issues. They work on:

  • The form, scale and siting of new developments
  • Private estates and public infrastructure and building design
  • The site design for schools, universities, hospitals and hotels
  • Public parks, golf courses, theme parks and sports facilities
  • Housing areas, industrial parks and commercial developments
  • Highways transportation structures, bridges and corridors
  • Town and city squares and pedestrian schemes
  • Large or small urban regeneration schemes
  • Forest, tourist or historic landscapes and landscape appraisal or conservation studies
  • Reservoirs, dams, power stations, extractive industry applications or major industrial projects
  • Environmental assessment, planning advice and land management proposals.
  • Coastal and offshore developments

The most valuable contribution is often made at the earliest stage of a project in generating ideas and bringing flair and creativity to the use of space. The landscape architect can:

  • contribute to the overall concept
  • prepare an initial master plan, from which detailed designs can subsequently be prepared
  • let and supervise contracts for construction work
  • prepare design impact assessments
  • conduct environmental assessments or audits
  • act as an expert witness at enquiries on land use
  • support or prepare applications for capital or revenue funding grants

Entrance into the profession requires advanced education, training, and licensure in most countries.

See ASLA,IDAD, ECLAS, EFLA, ELASA, IFLA, Landscape Institute, Le Notre thematic network,

for a more thorough examination of the topic and for current contacts and links.

Persons who may work for or with Landscape Architects:

Landscape designers are involved in garden, landscape design and creation of all types of outdoor green spaces. Many work in public offices in central and local government. Others work in private practice and act as consultants to public authorities, industry and commerce, and to private individuals.

Landscape managers use their knowledge of plants and the natural environment to advise on the long-term care and development of the landscape. They work in horticulture, estate management, forestry, nature conservation and agriculture.

Landscape scientists have specialist skills such as soil science, hydrology, geomorphology or botany that they relate to the practical problems of landscape work. Their projects can range from site surveys to the ecological assessment of broad areas for planning or management purposes. They may also report on the impact of development or the importance of particular species in a given area.

Landscape planners are concerned with the location, scenic, ecological and recreational aspects of urban, rural and coastal land use. Their work is embodied in written statements of policy and strategy, and their remit includes masterplanning for new developments, landscape evaluations and assessments, and preparing countryside management or policy plans. Some may also apply an additional specialism such as landscape archaeology or law to the process of landscape planning.

Landscape engineers/surveyors as engineers or surveyors must identify and understand the relevant conditions in order to produce a successful result. Other issues include available resources, physical or technical limitations, and factors such as cost, and serviceability. By understanding these constraints, engineers provide recomendations for which a landscape or system may be developed.

Landscape artists (Land artists) use the landscape itself, or elements thereof, to explore relationships between nature and culture. Landscape artworks can be monumental and permanent or temporary and are usually site specific. Landscape artists historically reflect social perceptions of the environment, and thereby explore, interpret, and re-envision the anthropologic role in the natural world. Issues such as sustainability, adaptability, biodiversity, and renewable resources are major themes of contemporary land art.

See also

External links

Last updated: 05-13-2005 07:56:04