Forecast Festival of Landscape Architecture

The inaugural Forecast Festival of Landscape Architecture was one of the best events I’ve been part of for a long time. Or possibly the best full stop. This was no stuffy conference with keynote speakers droning on in airless lecture theatres, broken only by endless salad-wraps and urn coffee.

Creative Directors, and good friends, Sharon Mackay and Di Snape set out to “kill the keynote” and generate spirited conversations to explore the future of Landscape Architecture. That they did.

Sharon and Di proved that you have to be serious about not taking yourself too seriously, and that little details matter. Great location, great food, smart people, serious discussions, and equally serious parties. Little things like setting the festival in the extraordinary spaces in and around the State Library of Queensland, full of air, light and the smells and sounds of Brisbane. And ice-creams in the hot sun.

What has this got to do with the serious business of design and cities? For me, it reminded me that as designers our work should be intimately connected to the rhythms and seasons of a place and to the lives of people. And to then fashion something (like a building or park or event) to celebrate this and make life better.

The very-bright Dr Naomi Stead has written an excellent review of the festival here ‘Future Forecasting: Landscape Architects might save the world’

I’m not sure that I can do better, so I won’t.

As for my contribution, I kicked off the opening session talking about Research and Speculation with a reminder that there are serious issues affecting cities and citizens and suggested that speculative design work can help explore alternative possible futures. Thanks to Ben Hewett for chairing, and Penny Hall and Matt Mackay for the conversation.



I was thoroughly surprised and delighted by the best bits of Brisbane so I will endeavour to follow up and unpick what it was that made them so good.

#news #photo #urbandesign #events

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