Construction Week Online spoke with the global design consultancy Aedas about the role of landscape architects. Dastin Hillery, senior associate, at Aedas, says: “landscape architecture is not just beautification; it’s about creating a space, creating the ambiance of a development, initiating lifestyle and it’s creating a new public realm and at the end of the day it’s also about creating a quality built environment. And if you are talking about a quality built environment, you cannot avoid talking about the ecological footprint and the environmental framework.”
Aedas has offices in 40 countries and sees growing global awareness of the complex work in which landscape architects are involved. “Both locally and internationally, there has been a gradual shift in awareness with the landscape architect slowly becoming a more prominent figure in the design and construction process.” However, Hillery says only clients that understand the importance of landscape architecture see the value of landscape planning.
In the Middle East, Hillery thinks this understanding is still missing. “People are still not interested in discussing the ecological components of the landscape, the impact on the ecological footprint, the human comforts aspect that landscape could offer in this extreme climate condition, or [about] how landscape could reshape the future of a city. In Dubai, the landscape role is to beautify and repair the mistakes while others look at landscape as the lead of the development because of the ecological component.” Hillery views Hong Kong or Kuala Lumpur as examples of cities where there is interest in ‘greening masterplans,’ and where “landscape is viewed as a backbone of urban structure that will guide the growth of a community throughout a span of a history.”
Construction Week Online goes on to discuss the importance of clients’ understanding of landscape planning, the role of landscape architects in the development and construction process, and the need for greater incentives to encourage landscape planning and sustainability.