The Work of Landscape Architects Today

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 A German Job Profile

Landscape Architects design open spaces; they create room for manoeuvre, pause and thought. They combine ecological awareness and expertise with planning competence and creativity to build functional and aesthetically pleasing open spaces, while being engaged in the protection of our natural resources.

A major task of landscape architects is the planning of open spaces and projects in a variety of settings. They plan the design of all types of green and external spaces; they supervise the construction and implementation of projects and ensure their long-term maintenance. Landscape architects define the structure and utilization of a landscape and the configuration of its surfaces. They select suitable plants and determine the layout of the planting. They make decisions with regard to paving and enclosures, as well as the use of outside furniture and works of art.

The second important area of work involves landscape planning and environmental conservation. Landscape architects draw up plans for the care and development of natural areas and landscapes and devise concepts for sustainable regional, as well as settlement, planning.  When such projects risk intruding upon the natural environment – for instance through the construction of roads or housing – landscape architects assess prevention and mitigation measures to limit any impact. In other jobs, they will be engaged in the renaturalization of streams, rivers and lakes, or the remediation of landfill sites and mining areas.

In addition, landscape architects are also active in other fields related to the design of open spaces and landscapes: for example, in village redevelopment as well as in urban planning and inner-city regeneration projects. Here landscape architects have to co-operate with architects, town planners, civil engineers, biologists and social planners.

Landscape architects work for planning consultancies, for companies in the gardening and landscaping industry, for government agencies and for local governments in public works and parks departments, water authorities or nature conservation bodies.

The following overview indicates how diverse their work can be:

  • Environmental precaution and protection in physical and regional planning
  • Landscaping tasks in urban land use; planning and sectoral planning
  • Infrastructure studies, development planning and landscape programmes
  • Urban planning and village redevelopment planning
  • Project planning and design
  • Maintenance of parks and historic gardens
  • Project control, monitoring and implementation
  • Expert consultancy services, presentations and mediation

Environmental precaution and protection in physical and regional planning

  • Regional landscape programmes and landscape structure plans
  • Regional development concepts, communal and inter-communal infrastructure studies
  • Environmental planning
  • Planning and programmes for leisure parks and large-scale landscape remediation
  • Concepts for landscape conversion and decontamination
  • Studies into the regeneration of disused industrial and settlement sites
  • Overall concepts for rivers, streams and lakes and their renaturalization
  • Research projects concerning conservation and environmental issues
  • Nature protection management

Landscaping tasks in urban land use; planning and sectoral planning

  • Green and open space planning as part of urban land use planning
  • Landscape envelope plans
  • Environmental impact assessment in the context of site location and suitability
  • Studies regarding the environmental impact of planning and development programmes
  • Habitat planning and development
  • Mapping of landscapes and natural areas
  • Planning for national parks, biosphere and nature reserves, as well as landscape protection areas
  • Services regarding the legal and administrative procedures for protecting areas
  • Landscape maintenance plans in infrastructural development and project planning
  • Environmental impact assessment according to impact mitigation regulations
  • Planning for mineral extraction and reclamation
  • Setting up and maintaining documentation of impact mitigation measures
  • Maintenance and development plans; follow-up planning
  • Monitoring

Infrastructure studies, development planning and landscape programmes

  • Concepts concerning retention potential and rain-water management
  • Agricultural planning and expert reports concerning land consolidation
  • Forest planning
  • Concepts with regard to agricultural and forestry extensification
  • Land use planning
  • Development of green finger corridors and stepping stone concepts
  • Development plans for sport and recreation areas
  • Horizontal and vertical alignment of cycle lanes, footpaths and nature study trails
  • Planning of routes, loop trails, ski runs, sport complexes and arenas for winter sports, motor sports, water sports, riding, cycling and cross-country skiing

Urban planning and village redevelopment planning

  • Planning schemes and project designs for urban development and regeneration
  • Land use and structure plans
  • Concepts for green spaces in residential, commercial and industrial areas
  • Planning for allotments and garden areas
  • Contributions towards urban development and infrastructural projects
  • Structure plans for urban regeneration and village renewal
  • Townscape design and village design statements
  • Ecological housing and settlement planning; expert opinions on the sustainability of planning

Project planning and design

  • Public and private parks and green spaces
  • Squares and plazas, public places, and city monuments
  • Pedestrian areas and traffic restricted zones, promenades
  • Sport complexes such as stadiums, arenas, grounds and pitches
  • Playgrounds and recreation spaces for children, young people and adults
  • Special installations like climbing walls, cycling and skating courses, and golf courses
  • Outdoor swimming pools, bathing areas and beaches
  • Camping and caravan sites
  • Spa parks and recreation spaces
  • Horticultural exhibitions and concepts for other outdoor fairs
  • Botanical and zoological gardens
  • Graveyards and memorial
  • Open spaces around public and private buildings; car parks
  • Planting of industrial and commercial sites
  • Design and integration of roadside and motorway service areas and rest areas
  • Private gardens and courtyards
  • Roof gardens and patios
  • Planting of conservatories and indoor spaces

Maintenance of parks and historic gardens

  • Documenting the history and keeping records of historic parks and gardens
  • Setting up inventories of historic gardens; producing park maintenance manuals
  • Concepts for the restoration of historic gardens and green spaces
  • Planning of plant layouts according to historical models and regeneration of historic planting designs
  • Proposals for the restoration of historic water features like fountains, cascades and ponds
  • Plans for the restoration of architectural features of historic parks such as statues, sculptures or other monuments

Project control, monitoring and implementation

  • Project management and control
  • Work planning procedures, construction site logistics, materials procurement
  • Specification of construction standards and materials
  • Concepts for minimizing the environmental impact of construction
  • Adhering to regulations regarding environmental impact minimization by using environmentally-friendly technologies
  • Project supervision, accounting of executed works and implementation control
  • Green space management, planning and organizing the development and maintenance of green spaces
  • Conflict management (in case of general problems and insolvencies)

Expert consultancy services, presentations and mediation

  • Organization and evaluation of design and architectural competitions
  • Supervision and execution of public planning procedures
  • Preparation of expert opinions
  • Conflict management and mediation
  • Organizing public participation and enquiries, project presentation
  • Visualizations, film and photographic documentation
  • Organizing exhibitions and presentations
  • Public relations

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