Interview with Johanna Gibbons London landscape architect of J&L Gibbons

Johanna Gibbons is a London landscape architect and founder of J&L Gibbons. In another interview, with the Landscape journal, she explained her community approach to design: ‘We don’t do consultation,’ she tells me. ‘We do engagement.’ To Gibbons, consultation is ‘often a top down process. It can also turn into PR rather than an end point where people will offer some sweat equity. People need to see that what they have bothered to say has been addressed.’ She is right. So-called ‘community consultation’ and ‘public participation’ often amount to little more than ‘we will give you an official opportunity to say what you want before we decide to do what we want to do’. Or, in the words of an old Scots family motto ‘They say! What say they? Let them say’. Gibbons principle achieved a considerable success with the Dalston Eastern Curve Garden.


Tom Turner