Landscape architects, including Martha Schwartz, covered in mud

Kevin McCleod on Channel 4 looked at three landscape projects in Castleford on TV last night. Martha Schwartz did worst. Tempted into describing herself as one of the ‘Two Queens of Landscape Architecture’, she forced a celebrity design for a park amphitheater down the reluctant throats of a mining community in the North of England. There was a community ‘consultation’ exercise in which she was told they did not want it. So English Partnerships paid the £1m project cost. It was built. The community do not like it and do not use it. Sic transit gloria mundis.

Parklife, a London landscape firm, also did a community ‘consultation’, and then provided the adventure playground which was requested. Very sensible. It cost £200,000. But the landscape architects refused to provide a fence and so the vandals are pulling the park to pieces and ripping out the plants, night after night. Very stupid. Sic transit gloria hortus.

A local community leader said the first step in making a public open space was to build a high fence. She did this and then forced the designers to make what is now called the Cutsyke Play Forest. It is popular and remains in excellent condition. Very sensible. I congratulate her. See our essay on Parks and boundless space for a discussion of the role of boundaries in the planning and design of public open space.

6 thoughts on “Landscape architects, including Martha Schwartz, covered in mud

  1. David Barrie

    Err, slight factual correction. The landscapers in the second scheme didn’t refuse to provide a fence. The site is already fenced and kept under lock and key. So wipe away some of that mud. For some of the designers working on the regeneration of Castleford have been showered with garlands. And they deserve it!

  2. Pingback: Urban landscape design in Dharavi, a Mumbai slum | Garden Design And Landscape Architecture Blog –

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