The twin crises of climate change and mass biodiversity loss are the most serious issues of our time. Infrastructure, buildings and construction play a major part, accounting for nearly 40% of energy related carbon dioxide (CO²) emissions but climate change is only one of the drivers accelerating global biodiversity loss, environmental degradation and damage. Changes in land and sea use, exploitation of organisms, pollution, invasive alien species and erosion of precious soils compound these crises.
Whilst we have always regarded ourselves as stewards of the environment there is much more we can do. We, as landscape architects, are very well positioned to lead the change in meeting societies’ needs without breaching the earth’s ecological capacities and environmental limits.
Together with clients, stakeholders and collaborating consultants, we will need to take a leading role in planning, designing and commissioning landscapes, cities and infrastructures as indivisible components of a larger, constantly regenerating and self-sustaining system in balance with the natural world.
The research and technology exist for us to begin that transformation now, but what has been lacking is collective will. Recognising this, we are committing to strengthen our working practices to create landscapes, public realms and master plans that have a more positive impact on the world around us and which conserve and enhance both the natural and built environments.
We will seek to:
- Raise awareness of the climate and biodiversity emergencies and the urgent need for tangible action amongst our clients and industry partners.
- Advocate for faster change in our profession towards resilient and regenerative design practices and for higher Governmental and industry priorities to support this.
- Establish climate and biodiversity mitigation, adaptation and resilience principles as key measures of our profession.
- Share knowledge and research with regards to climate and biodiversity challenges.
- Evaluate all new projects against the aspiration to mitigate climate change, and encourage our clients to adopt this approach.
- Preserve and protect existing valuable landscapes and habitats whilst conserving areas of functional and biodiverse landscape in all developments.
- Adopt a whole systems approach to landscape design recognising the importance of aquatic, terrestrial and arboreal environments in ecosystem survival and carbon sequestration.
- Promote life cycle studies, carbon footprint assessment and post occupancy evaluation, to reduce both embodied and operational resource use.
- In addition to working with mitigation, adaptation and resilience as primary tools, look to using regenerative design principles in the design of landscapes.
- Collaborate with architects, engineers, contractors and suppliers to reduce and recycle waste during landscape construction and maintenance.
- Promote low embodied carbon, and look to maximise carbon sequestering, responsible and sustainable use of water, and biodiversity net gains in all projects.
- Promote responsible procurement and manufacture of growing media and soils. And advocate sustainable planting procurement and implementation.
- Minimise wasteful use of resources in landscape architecture, both in planning and construction.
D'Land, DP Green, Grant Associates, ICN Design International, Ramboll Studio Dreiseitl, Stephen Caffyn Landscape Design
We hope that all Singapore landscape architecture practices will join us in making this commitment.
If you are not a landscape architect, or are based outside Singapore, please visit our global hub here