Northern Ireland Assembly Inquiry into the Creative Industries by the Committee for Culture Arts and LeisureResponse of the Landscape Institute.

Alastair McCapra, Pete Mullin, Emily Smyth, Peter Hutchinson

    Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned reportpeer-review


    Challenges for Landscape Architecture: The benefits which landscape architecture can bring to society can only be secured through enlightened public and private sector clients procuring design work in an intelligent, design-aware way. Recognition: LINI believes there is a lack of recognition by public officials of what landscape architecture actually is and what it has to offer to society as a whole. Procurement: Northern Ireland’s system of procurement of public works, which is uniquely expensive and burdensome as well as making it all but impossible for local SMEs to compete for work because of the time, costs and risks involved. LINI believes there is little point in using public money to build capacity in the creative sector on the one hand, and then hamstring it by making it very difficult to operate on a commercial basis.Outsourcing: There continues to be a pattern of awarding large-scale design projects to firms from Britain or indeed from other countries, on the mistaken assumption that this somehow offers ‘better quality’, less risk or an assurance of greater ‘design flair’. The lack of an ethos which is minded to seek ways of supporting local creative and design enterprise, not through grants and special favours, but by establishing simple design focused procurement mechanisms that give it a fair and reasonable chance of securing work. The contrast between Northern Ireland and Wales, in particular, is noteworthy in this respect.Northern Ireland needs to recognise and support its small but excellent core of locally based Landscape Architects who live and work in this community, who have a local understanding of the landscapes and townscapes and who are eager to explore, develop and realise a diverse range of environmental design projects.Education, Training & Skills: There is currently no tertiary level education programme of landscape architecture in Northern Ireland and the profession continues to function here without the support of a permanent nucleus of skills development, intellectual research, specialism outreach and public profile a university programme offers. Those individuals with potential or an interest are currently required to study in England, Scotland, Rep of Ireland or elsewhere. Some return post education, however many more do not and choose to apply their learnt skills and design talents locally and internationally from bases elsewhere in the UK.Local Planning and Empowerment: Design in planning policy is considered less as a matter of Executive policy and more as something to be delegated to local planning authorities. There is no evidence in many cases that local planning authorities are properly equipped to be good clients for design, and this needs to be remedied as a matter of urgency. Design Review: Place making often involves significant contributions from highway and other public authorities. It is rare to see a scheme by a local authority for the public realm submitted for design review. This creates an unnatural division between the effects of the design activities of the public and private sector. For some reason there has developed an presumption that the private sector needs to be subject to design review but that the public sector does not. This is a false premise.Design Strategy: In relation to future of the Landscape Profession in NI, LINI believes DCAL should prepare and adopt a national design strategy which includes input from Landscape Professionals.Summary: LINI believes DCAL should : familiarise itself with the wide ranging benefits which a healthy Landscape Architecture Profession has and can bring to Northern Ireland. access design support, that is politically independent from officers and procurement restrictions. act as a public sector design champion to push design support into Assembly Departments that supply and manage the infrastructure of space and land that traditionally are weak in design (highways, utilities, forestry, development etc) provide a hub for communities and neighbourhoods to access design support on how to procure or challenge design, with maintenance of a knowledge base.Whilst there are numerous concerns, LINI believes that Northern Ireland offers huge opportunity for our industry to the benefit of all its citizens. LINI can achieve this with the assistance of DCAL taking design leadership and simply focusing on 3 key areas:1 Design Strategy2 Procurement3 Attitude
    Original languageEnglish
    PublisherUnknown Publisher
    Number of pages7
    Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - Dec 2011


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