Today, focusing on sustainable design, Australia is on the leading edge of engaging environmental applications. The landscape designer becomes one of the developer’s major assets with ground floor participation on large-scale projects.
Being aware of the current climate is an asset that works to the developer’s advantage. Sustainable and contextual design should be two of the developer’s earliest considerations. Working with architects and engineers, landscape architects can contribute vital information at a time when it is most helpful and should be at the table when a developer first considers a project for development. LA’s are especially valuable for their perspectives regarding environmental impact. The developer is concerned with the bottom line. LA’s will be considering that concern as well. As members of the design team, they can provide the environmental road map to avoid costly delays that affect the bottom line.
Sustainable Design and Solutions
Along with architects and engineers, LA’s can contribute their knowledge of sustainable design and to what extent a major project will affect contextual concerns in terms of overall planning. With their early participation, LA’s can assist with preempting many problems that would otherwise plague the project.
LA’s are especially competent concerning the impact of a building’s footprint and can assist with evaluating the balance between contextual design and the developer’s objectives. By referencing all exterior contingencies—pedestrian and vehicular traffic patterns, water management, exterior lighting, safety and accident avoidance measures, as well as contributing to a general design consensus, many inherent problems can be solved in advance.Large green spaces, in contrast with large paved plazas, yield a higher environmental benefit, and the LA also knows that drought resistant grass is the sustainable, albeit perhaps more costly, material. Moreover, when green areas are favored over pavement, it can help facilitate government cooperation—perhaps to the extent of reinforcing negotiating strategies. When a developer is presented with the prospect of spending more on grass or complying with expensive government mandates, the choice becomes obvious.
Most large-scale developers are aware of the benefits provided by exterior amenities. LA’s are particularly adept at providing them and, at the same time, tying them to sustainable design. With the use of durable materials and creative art forms, green spaces are enhanced and plant materials are conserved, thereby reducing maintenance expense, while yet providing an appealing public environment. Including a retention pond may be a viable consideration for easing the storm drain load—earning the city’s gratitude.
Exterior commercial areas, such as outdoor cafes, exhibit areas and, in particular, safe and visible areas for children—all contribute to the ambience and help to defray local objections to the installation of a large project. In contrast with objections, the project will be welcomed as a healthy contribution to the community.
Amenities act as a draw to the area, ensuring the developer’s investment through good will engendered by thoughtful treatment of the public.
With the assurance that a portion of the difficulties encountered by developers can be handled with the earliest possible participation of landscape architects, it’s good to know that their counsel increases the value of the project by contributing much to its success.