Imagine this with closed eyes. As you leave your home, you turn at the corner of the well-kept paved walkway, which produces the enchanting tapping sound you enjoy. Despite the fact that it is a partly bright day, you are under the shadow of the trees as you go. Large, lush, green trees. The bike lane next to the planters on your right creates the ideal separation between the sidewalk and the main road. The route is well-planned, with well-lit streetlamps that glow at night, enhancing the scenery. You find this route calming, and you enjoy taking it to get home from work.

Open your eyes now. All of it has vanished, right? Was it magic? If so, our landscape architects—the hidden heroes of design—are the true magicians.

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Landscape Architects: The Hidden Gems

The art of creating particular types of outdoor spaces is known as landscape architecture. It could involve planning a town square, a playground, or perhaps an entire metropolis. It can entail improving a pond for frogs, turtles, fish, and birds. Parks are an example of landscape design that is simple to see. Some, like a meadow or a mountaintop, may appear utterly untamed. The goal of landscape architecture is to create communities and settings that are safe, secure, and beneficial to people’s health.

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Planning, designing, managing, and maintaining the constructed and natural surroundings, are all part of landscape architecture. With their intricate set of abilities, landscape architects seek to enhance the well-being of both people and the environment in all communities. They provide designs for parks, campuses, streetscapes, plazas, homes, and other community-building initiatives.

Environments that include the natural and social worlds, urban and rural areas, and land, water, and air, are designed by landscape architects. They create communities of humans, as well as plants and animals. They attempt to safeguard the health and well-being of both people and the environment by taking into account social and natural processes. The nineteenth-century drive for urban parks served as the foundation for the field of landscape architecture. In the past, landscape architects have been crucial in the development of regional park systems as well as urban open spaces.

What does a Landscape Architect do? 

Landscape Architects: The underestimated heroes of design - Sheet3
Architect in a field wearing VR glasses to assess the landscape_Getty Images

We all value the time we spend outside. Then why do we give their design such little thought?

According to studies, people with access to nature, even green urban spaces, tend to be healthier, happier, and live longer. In terms of communal life, health and wellbeing, and the stimulation of local economies, outdoor spaces are some of the easiest to build and may yield some of the biggest returns on investment. Green public spaces and vibrant streetscapes are frequently identified as crucial considerations for attracting residents and businesses as more people—from young professionals to retirees—move back into cities.

Despite this, we do not appreciate and continue supporting outdoor areas to the same extent as we do buildings and interiors. We figure out how much a square foot is worth for buildings and interiors, but we don’t do the same for an outdoor square foot. The first step in resolving this issue is to best utilize the expertise and abilities of landscape architects, the specialists most qualified to design outdoor spaces, in both public and privately owned settings.

1. Contribution to City Planning and Policy Making

A recognized subset of landscape architecture is landscape planning. It is the duty of a landscape architect to assess and resolve the environmental, social, and economic troubles of society. They also provide policy advice, develop strategies within the confines of the law, create plans and implementation strategies for green infrastructure, and conduct master planning for development and regeneration projects.

2. Designing Transportation Solutions

Landscape architects design a variety of multi-use transportation corridors that include all types of users. Individuals using public transportation, bikers, vehicles, people with disabilities, and pedestrians are all accommodated on crowded streets.

3. Supporting Active Lifestyles

A community’s quality of life is visibly reflected in the city spaces and public parks. They provide residents with a sense of identity and have a significant role in how people view the standard of living in a particular location. Parks and protected public lands enhance water quality, safeguard groundwater, stop flooding, improve the air we breathe, act as vegetative development buffers, offer habitat for animals, promote mental health, and give kids and families a place to come outside and enjoy nature.

4. Creating Efficient Sustainability Goals and Saving Energy

The use of sustainable practices in landscape design is crucial. The same goal is sought after by landscape architects in varied methods. Through landscape interventions, physical characteristics like temperature, precipitation, and humidity may be adopted to combat harsh climatic conditions year-round and aid in lowering energy use.

5. Working towards Climate Resilience and Post Disaster Planning

If we want to mitigate future change and adapt our ecosystems to a changing climate, sustainable landscape planning, design, and management are crucial. To maintain, conserve, and improve urban and rural environments, landscape architects use a comprehensive approach that takes into consideration the environment, society, and economy. They are trained in systems thinking, ecological planning, and cultural literacy.

How Can We Help?

The interdisciplinary balancing act necessary for managing spaces inside the city gets more and more challenging as our cities grow more populated and green and public areas (large or little) become increasingly important. Parks, leisure places, and other outdoor urban infrastructure are no longer considered obsolete in the wake of the terrible pandemic; rather, they are now finally being acknowledged as necessities. Our relationship with nature has been restored as a result of the pandemic, and people are incorporating more greenery into their lives, whether through balcony gardens, kitchen gardens, or regular visits to their local community parks and gardens.

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The industry may also contribute positively at this time. To achieve well-designed outdoor spaces assessed in terms of community, identity, well-being, environment, and money invested, designers who offer the site components that help define and activate these places must do their share. To enable people to have wonderful outdoor experiences, we should concentrate on fostering innovation through new kinds of scalable solutions that go beyond the conventional trash can, bike rack, and bench. We require fresh concepts for areas surrounding buildings because the outside only begins a half-inch beyond the door. Technology should be included in public areas, but in a way that respects the unique characteristics of the surroundings.

References

http://www.attractionsmanagement.com/. 2022. James Corner: ‘Landscape architects are the unsung heroes of the public realm’ | attractionsmanagement.com news. [online] Available at: https://www.attractionsmanagement.com/index.cfm?subID=0&pagetype=news&codeID=331820&dom=n&email=web&pub=AMe&date=

Journal. 2022. The Tower of Villa Mogna: a stairway to the sky, a tower you can live in on the Turin hill // Building – Architizer Journal. [online] Available at: https://architizer.com/blog/projects/the-tower-of-villa-mogna-a-stairway-to-the-sky-a-tower-you-can-live-in-on-the-turin-hill/

Larch.be.uw.edu. 2022. What is landscape architecture? -. [online] Available at: https://larch.be.uw.edu/about/what-is-landscape-architecture/

Metropolis. 2022. Opinion: Designing Outdoor Public Spaces (& Furniture) is Vital to Cities – Metropolis. [online] Available at: https://metropolismag.com/viewpoints/designing-outdoor-public-spaces-is-vital-to-the-future-of-our-cities/

RTF | Rethinking The Future. 2022. What is the role of landscape architects in designing cities. [online] Available at: https://www.re-thinkingthefuture.com/city-and-architecture/a3493-what-is-the-role-of-landscape-architects-in-designing-cities/

Gettyimages.in. 2022. Landscape Architecture Photos and Premium High Res Pictures – Getty Images. [online] Available at: https://www.gettyimages.in/search/2/image?family=creative&phrase=landscape%20architecture

Author

Gargi is strong willed, sure of herself and fiercely moral. Whether it’s taking on a challenge at work or striking up a conversation with a friend, she can always be counted on to make the courageous move. Gargi’s drive to create and inspire fuels her every move - at work, with friends and at home. Whether she’s involved in artistic pursuits or problem solving at the office, her creative side always backs her up.

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