LVIA is more interesting than design. Discuss.

The last session of the Professional Practice module comprised a double act from Kathryn Ball and Radek Chanas who both work as landscape architects at Pegasus in Cirencester. Initially they revealed how they got into the profession themselves – generally by devious routes but ultimately arriving where they are now and very satisfied with the project work they currently do. Radek originally wanted to design but from a planning perspective, such as large scale settlements and transport infrastructure, and Kathryn was initially attracted to “free-thinking” design – she felt she was “too creative to be academic” but eventually found herself warming to the whole sphere of landscape and visual impact assessment (LVIA).

Their talk then became a presentation of a number of recently-completed and currently-live projects undertaken at Pegasus and ranging widely from a small-scale LVIA for housing on the outskirts of Milton Keynes to a proposal for an extensive offshore windfarm in the Irish Sea. Some projects only lasted days, others were much longer and often contingent on seasonal surveys (visibility analysis needs to consider worst case scenarios best displayed in winter – lack of foliage screening).

All this was extremely useful material for the students to apply in their current Leckhampton planning module: the importance of map data (see magic.com and https://maps.nls.uk/), identifying sensitive features from historic maps, the significance of special designations, how all this can be prioritised and evaluated and finally the clarity and effectiveness of the derived maps produced to inform decision making (see accompanying GIS analysis of zones of theoretical visibility of a proposed wind farm in Wales).

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Bob Moore

About gloscape

Landscape Architecture @ University of Gloucestershire

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