The world is facing the growing challenges of climate change, unsustainable urbanisation and mass displacement; causing massive strain on the environmental and human systems in mostly developing nations.
These challenges worsen issues such as:
Health & Spatial Inequalities
One billion people live in slums & informal settlements, dealing with crowded & insecure housing and being at a higher risk of exposure to environmental pollution.
Expanding cities and emergency shelter for refugees can degrade their local environments, such as through deforestation, soil erosion and encroachment into biological hotspots.
821 million people are estimated to be undernourished globally, whilst rapid urbanisation, climate change and declining soil health is likely to increase food insecurity.
Increased Crisis Risk
The vulnerability of displaced and low-income communities can be exacerbated by living in inadequate shelter, climate change 'hotspots' and areas at high risk to disasters such as flooding, droughts, landslides and fires.
Often those most adversely affected by these issues are the world’s most vulnerable, particularly those living in informal settlements, emergency shelter or low-income housing.
They are often the people least equipped or empowered to overcome these issues and efforts to improve their situation coming mostly from the humanitarian & development sectors or self-organised efforts.
...focuses on the sustainable design, planning and management of both urban and rural areas, from the micro to the macro scale.
Landscape architects are trained to understand the interplay between people and natural systems and provide innovative sustainable proposals that link the short and the long-term and consider the big picture.
They provide a holistic understanding of planning, ecology, the built environment, and how these affect the needs of affected communities.
North Rosemary Avenue Pilot Project
© Gyorgy Papp Photography
Most beneficiaries of landscape projects are those who live in high-income countries & communities and the least vulnerable to the impacts of the global challenges.
We believe our skillset can help to overcome these impacts but have a professional and moral duty to work with the world’s most vulnerable communities who are most affected by them.
However, very few landscape architects currently work within the humanitarian & development sectors and there is no strategic effort to focus our work in this area, such as seen in other built environment professions like architecture and engineering.
Mobilise landscape architects to be more active in building resilience in the world’s most vulnerable communities across the globe.
...what value and appropriate role landscape architects have in such contexts by asking questions of ourselves and those living & working there.
We are conducting a research effort into the question of "what support do vulnerable communities need to build resilience to natural disasters?"
We are investigating this through a series of workshops based around the Four Elements (Earth, Air, Fire & Water), building up a toolkit of our capabilities and strategy for enacting them.
...with the humanitarian & development sectors and affected communities to understand the work already being done in such contexts.
We advocate for landscape architecture and its potential to build resilience amongst fellow landscape architects, the humanitarian & development sectors, and vulnerable communities. This is through giving presentations, coordinating multidisciplinary presentations & workshops and writing for industry journals.
See our Resource Library for a collation of case studies, research and toolkits related to humanitarian landscape architecture.
...our skills & potential role to the humanitarian & development sectors, the affected communities and our own profession.
We connect practitioners, NGOs & academics who are united around HLC’s mission using this website and arranging workshops, allowing them to discuss their own experiences, capabilities & needs.
If you’re interested in our work or want to be a part of the network then get in touch!