Landscape Architecture: A Very Short Introduction

ISBN : 9780199681204

Ian Thompson
152 Pages
114 x 175 mm
Pub date
May 2014
Very Short Introductions


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  • Explains what landscape architecture is and what it does
  • Explores both its history and origins as well as modern developments in landscape urbanism and ecological urbanism
  • Considers the misconceptions about landscape architecture
  • Includes examples of landscape architecture from around the world

Landscape architecture plays an important role in shaping the places in which we live and work. But what is it? Landscape architects are involved, amongst other things, in the layout of business parks, the reclamation of derelict industrial sites, the restoration of historic city parks, and the siting and design of major pieces of infrastructure such as motorways, dams, power stations, and flood defences, as well as the planning of parks and gardens. Taking a historical perspective, Ian Thompson looks at both the roots of landscape architecture and the people that established it. 
This Very Short Introduction explores some of the misconceptions about landscape architecture and considers the discipline's origins in landscape gardening. Thompson takes a look at a number of areas, including the influence of Modernism, the difference between landscape design and landscape planning, and the way that planning legislation has driven the growth of the discipline. He also explores contemporary environmentalism, the debate as to whether landscape architecture is an art or a science, landscape architecture in the community, post-industrial projects, and its relationship with ecological urbanism.


1: Misconceptions and Origins
2: Place-making and Improvement
3: America and the Turn to Modernism
4: The Invisible Hand versus the Grand Gesture
5: Use and Beauty
6: Professional Environmentalists
7: Landscape Architecture as Art
8: Social Workers in Green Wellingtons
9: Under the Carpet
10: Landscape and Urbanism
Further reading

About the author: 

Ian Thompson, Reader in Landscape Architecture, Newcastle University
Ian Thompson is a Chartered Landscape Architect and Reader in Landscape Architecture in the School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape at Newcastle University. He worked as a landscape architect from 1979 to 1992, mostly on work related to environmental improvement, derelict land reclamation and urban renewal, before taking up a lecturing post at Newcastle University. He was the editor of Landscape Research for four years and is currently on the editorial board. He has written many papers, articles and books, including The Sun King's Garden (Bloomsbury, 2006) and The English Lakes: A History(Bloomsbury, 2010). He is also one of the editors of the Routledge Companion to Landscape Studies.

"A great gift for the landscape architect to give to their in-laws who still call them a 'landscape designer'" - Historic Garden Review, Aaron Suiter

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