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Landscape Architects Have Much To Offer For Climate Change Adaptation

The Government’s success in designing a national climate adaptation framework will depend entirely on its propensity to utilise landscape architects.

So says Debbie Tikao, President of the New Zealand Institute of Landscape Architects, following Hon Simon Watts’ announcement to conduct an inquiry into climate adaptation.

“As stewards of the environment, landscape architects are experts in understanding how best to interact with the landscape, how it can be enhanced through sustainable design, and how to avail it to tackle climate change,” she says.

“As such, the Institute has already undertaken significant work in developing a series of guideline documents that will support landscape architects’ role in responses to climate change and climate-positive design.

“Once we publish them later this year, they will be crucial to the Government’s success in designing a climate adaptation framework for New Zealand.”

Ms Tikao welcomes the Climate Change Minister’s focus on improving New Zealand’s ability to cope with climate change and build resilience.

Landscape architecture is well-positioned to be a leader in climate change adaptation and mitigation, but it is often missing from the climate change dialogue, she adds.

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However, it is promising the Minister wants “long lasting” climate change mitigation solutions.

Similar discussions – and how to serve, protect, and regenerate the ecosystems and communities of Aotearoa – will be canvassed at the 2024 NZILA Firth Wānanga, at the InterContinental Wellington between 16-17 May.

A suite of resources designed to support NZILA members in their role to create positive environmental change will also be revealed.

“There has never been a more pressing time for landscape architects to take the time to grow knowledge and think more deeply about their relationships – to each other, to communities, and whenua,” Ms Tikao says.

“The theme of the wānanga is Māramatanga, which encapsulates illumination, enlightenment, insight and understanding. With the unprecedented social, environmental, and political challenges facing us today, the wānanga provides a space for us to share, kōrero and grow.

“And because we have the know-how to improve the built environment’s energy and carbon efficiency, we’re calling on the Government to put us to good use to support them in mitigating climate change impacts through good planning and design.”

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