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IFLA World Congress 2019, Norway

Sarah is to present and is part of panel debate with IFLA President James Hayter, past LI President Hal Moggridge, Gisle Løkken, President, National Association of Norwegian Architects and Trygve Sundt, IFLA Delegate Norway at the IFLA World Congress 'Common Ground' conference with over 1300 participants and 247 talks and walks.

Her abstract is as follows:

“Humanity’s impact on the Earth is now so profound that a new geological epoch – the Anthropocene – needs to be declared”- International Geological Congress, 2016. The beginning of this proposed epoch is about 1950. There is a perception that landscape architects are contributing positively to nature and people, however, are we enabling destruction or mitigating it? In a climate crisis that we have triggered, we should question our present and future role in how ethical and professionally sustainable the role of the landscape architect is. I would like to quote Dr. Patrice Derrington, Professor at Columbia University, New York: “Urban development is facing a crisis – Communities are protesting, and funders are skittish, we need a better approach to urban development”, on ethical development, investors and community engagement. The language we use, the visual 2D plans we present, can alienate the majority of the population, indeed, even within our own design teams. Communication is paramount. Communities are rapidly seeing the value of green spaces and infrastructure. Their voices need to be part of the design process at all stages. The global urban population is on the increase and the diversity within is growing, putting more pressure on how we need and use public spaces and networks. Landscape Architecture is especially important; it links development with communities. Collaborating with these communities should be a vital part of the work of the landscape architect. We must reflect on how we work, the processes we follow and the skills we need to facilitate and assist these communities as our clients as equal to our funders to enable ethical and sustainable development. Our work as landscape architects is particularly significant to communities as there is significant body of research linking green spaces, nature, active travel, wealth, with better health and well-being. Two thirds of diseases are caused by lifestyle choices as reported by WHO Andrew Grant, Director of Grant Associates stated, “Landscape Architects are the GP’s of the future”, however this presents a challenge for all professions not just landscape architects.

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