With the recent economic slowdown, many industries have experienced reduced workloads and staff redundancies. Landscape architecture, on the other hand, continues to grow during this tumultuous time.
Landscape architecture as a profession is over 45 years old in Australia and there are estimated to be over three and a half thousand landscape architects across the country.
The recent demand for landscape architects in private and public practice is high due to governments and citizens coming to realise that natural landscapes provide an opportunity to deal with environmental issues and climate change.
With the increase in scientific research and proof that modern lifestyles are detrimental to the environment, efforts are being made to reverse the damage in a do or die fashion.
“It is indeed a great time to be dealing with place making. It is the right time to be a landscape architect,” said the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects (AILA) in its 2012 employment statement.
People are currently much more aware of their urban environments and the connection between the natural environment and the health of their communities.
During such a crucial time for the planet, governments and homeowners are seeking the expertise of landscape architects for practical solutions in urban design, landscape management, heritage management and environmental planning.
Another reason for the growth in landscape architecture is linked to the issue of obesity in developed nations. As people become aware of the epidemic and are more health conscious, municipal projects are changing to include more spaces for active lifestyles within local communities.
AILA landscape architect Jo Russell-Clarke says there is a growing awareness of landscape conditions and their broader cultural impacts.
There is also the ever-growing ‘green’ movement across the globe, which has led to most new developments seeking LEED certification - a goal a landscape architect can help developers reach.
A few green techniques gaining popularity in landscape architecture include:
- The use of biofiltration swales to remove pollutants from stormwater and assisting in prevention of flooding and erosion
- Adding vegetation to improve air quality and provide refuge from excessive heat
- The implementation of vegetation on new properties, which assists in the absorption of carbon dioxide
- Green roofs to control stormwater, collect rainwater and help reduce the urban heat island effect while providing a wildlife habitat