Should landscape architects have a role in skyline and skyspace planning? Q&A

Do cities need skyline and skyspace plans?

Question: Should landscape architects have a role in the design of city skylines?

Short answer: Yes. Of course. But it’s not going to happen unless and until the world’s landscape professions do a better job of promoting themselves.

Longer answer:  I’m in full agreement with Simon Jenkins that cities require skyline landscape plans :-

  • London is being pepperpotted with high buildings, and getting uglier
  • Neither the architecture profession nor the planning profession is able to do anything about composing the buildings in relation to the urban landscape or to each other.
  • The same is true of most of the world’s great cities, though some, including Edinburgh, Paris and San Francisco do have skyline policies.
  • My opinion is that the design profession which could best tackle this problem is landscape architecture. But for this to happen, our professional bodies will have to do more lobbying.
  • They should call for cities to commission Skyline and Skyspace policy statements.
  • By ‘Skyspace’ I mean the public realm between our rooftops and the open sky. The roofs of new buildings should, mostly, be vegetated, as one of their contributions to the Sky Realm.

Which professions have the necessary skills for preparing skyline and skyspace plans?

Landscape architects have the necessary skills, which are visual, technical and concerned with functions. Architects prefer to concentrate on  individual buildings and resent ‘interference’ by other architects. Town planners tend to lack the aesthetic and technical skills required to formulate skyline plans and strategies.