J & L Gibbons 35th Anniversary
To celebrate the 35th anniversary of J & L Gibbons, we are delighted to announce a collaboration with the John Muir Trust in a unique project partnership to restore montane scrub habitat on Scheihallion, the ‘Fairy Hill of the Caledonians’.
The documented research project and community engagement programme will provide opportunities for direct action to re-establish natural montane scrub habitats, both propagated and planted with local provenance seed, while protecting and encouraging natural regeneration. The initiative will commence as Scotland hosts COP 26, to highlight climate change adaptation and to address biodiversity loss associated with the decline of montane scrub habitat.
We will work with local people to grow trees from seed which has been collected on site or propagated by local partners. The trees will then be planted out on the slopes of Schiehallion, where they can take advantage of their natural habitat, topography, geology, soil and orientation.
The project will not only transform the landscape, and enable the evolution of montane scrub, it will also enhance open access for everyone, improve its biodiversity and create a culture of shared stewardship.
Can Dirt Save Us All?
To coincide with COP26, U+I Think invited Jo to speak about DIRT - the beauty of soil as critical infrastructure and a much overlooked natural climate solution. The talk at Brighton Circus Street is available to watch here. Alongside the talk, Jo curated a series of essays from Ellen Fay, Maria Smith, Neil Davidson, Michael Smythe, Anton Blackie and Matthew Gandy in response to her own, that dug deep, revealing diverse perspectives. Click here to read them.
250 Things a Landscape Architect Should Know
Jo was invited to be one of 50 international ‘thinkers’ to communicate their top 5 fundamentals to the landscape profession. The compendium, curated by B. Cannon Ivers, has resulted in a diverse cross-section of knowledge and expertise that communicates the depth and breadth of landscape architecture. The book covers divergent and wide-reaching topics and features both theorist and practitioners. It is available to purchase online from all the major book retailers.
Contact with nature in cities reduces loneliness
Between 2018 and 2020 Urban Mind - a collaboration between King’s College London, Nomad Projects and J & L Gibbons - has collected data via the Urban Mind app from 750 UK citizen scientists investigating associations between feelings of loneliness with the social and built environment. Our research showed that feelings of overcrowding increased ‘momentary loneliness’ by 39%; but when people were able to see trees or hear birds, feelings of loneliness fell by 28%. Our research was published in Scientific Reports, and covered in The Guardian, Daily Mail and Treehugger.
The Tai Treeist
Fiona Banner speaks to Jo about her love of trees, soil and the wood wide web. The podcast, part of the series The Squirrel’s Heartbeat, was recorded at the Bethnal Green Nature Reserve (Phytology), where Fiona was artist in residence for much of 2020. Fiona Banner aka The Vanity Press is a visual artist whose work centres on the problems and possibilities of language, both written and metaphorical.
Urban Mind for Canal & River Trust
Do you feel happier when you’re beside water? What is the effect of canals on mental wellbeing? A citizen science project that provides scientific answers to these and other questions, an ongoing collaboration with the Canal & River Trust and Urban Mind.
The results are looking fascinating and will be made public soon.
Open House Festival 2020
Commissioned for the Open House Festival 2020, this short film made in conjunction with Dezeen explores the Dalston Eastern Curve Garden. During the pandemic, London rediscovered the immense value of its outdoor public space and Open City celebrated it through a series of bike rides, video tours and outdoor events. Jo was part of the panel discussion hosted at the Boundary Estate’s Arnold Circus discussing land, justice and landscape, how to create a more equitable city and empower this change.
Jo was invited to a contribute to the first issue of Tangible Territory, the journal created by Tereza Stehlikova. Tereza is an artist, filmmaker and senior lecturer at the RCA, with whom J & L Gibbons and Landscape Learn have an ongoing collaboration based on overlapping interests. Tangible Territory, Tereza says: ‘is not a real physical location, but a place that lies in the liminal land between the real world and its representation (or evocation) on the screen (…) Hopefully a transformative, living space, where we can meet, interact, grow…’
The Landscapists Seminars
Hosted by Ed Wall, The Landscapists Seminars are short daily conversations with landscape architects and designers from around the world focused on their design and research projects. The 20-minute informal seminars, provide insights into the unique project approaches, techniques and methods employed by leading designers and researchers. Jo focused on a project in the making at the new Munch Museum in Oslo, an exciting collaboration with Tracey Emin. Visit The Landscape website for more information.
Co-Creation | Architecture Gala
The Architecture Gala is the Nordic region's largest meeting place for architecture with international and national speakers. The 2020 theme of co-creation focused on the cooperative efforts required to highlight the possibility of new angles, new collaborations, new results. Johanna focused on the deep ecology of her collaborative approach to design. She referenced the work of J & L Gibbons and the ambitions of her social enterprise Landscape Learn in the context of the climate and biodiversity emergency. Watch the lecture here.
Fundamentals Lecture Series: The City
This series of Fundamentals, chaired by Professor Jeremy Till, discussed the climate change emergency, the most urgent issue facing the planet today in the context of the wider territory of the city. The talks asked if there is to be systemic change, how does that play out spatially. Johanna contributed to the debate by discussing the urban forest as a city habitat, with reference to her recent publication, ‘Conversation on Urban Forestry’. Watch the lecture here.
Women in Design 2020+
The International Conference and Exhibition fostered an open dialogue on current and future design practices between women designers of global repute. Johanna explored how J & L Gibbons develops design and critical engagement strategies to connect city communities with natural processes, the urban forest and the soil that lies beneath our feet. Visit the Women in Design website for more information.
Conversations on Urban Forestry
The first book published by Landscape Learn, Conversations on Urban Forestry, by Johanna Gibbons explores the implicit interconnection of people and trees in the city through a number of conversations with extraordinary individuals. These are artists, engineers, ecologists and arborists who champion the urban forest as a dynamic organic structure of remarkable biodiversity and biomass embedded within the fabric of a city. In the face of a climate change emergency these conversations highlight, through different lenses, how urban forestry creates a collective capacity for caring for our ecosystem. Purchase the book from Landscape Learn.
Royal Designer for Industry
Johanna was honoured to be named a ‘Royal Designer for Industry’ (RDI) by the RSA who said: ‘She has championed landscape design in a world declaring climate emergency, ecological breakdown and a mental health crisis. She's been ahead of the game, always looking for answers and delivering examples of better planning and design’. Visit the RSA website for more information.
How to Measure Baukultur
In January 2018 the European Ministers of Culture adopted the Davos Declaration calling for a high-quality Baukultur to improve the well-being of all. But how do we measure Baukultur or quality of the built environment? Neil presented recent findings from our Urban Mind research, in the context of our social enterprise Landscape Learn and current J & L Gibbons commissions.
The David Skinner Memorial Lecture
Johanna was invited to deliver the annual public Memorial Lecture. She was able to give a personal as well as professional perspective having been one of the early intakes to the course at Edinburgh College of Art where David Skinner was Professor. Jo explained how Skinner’s teachings have influenced the work of her practice over the last 30+ years. Supported by the entire J & L Gibbons team, the studio took the opportunity to follow the lecture with a field trip to ‘Big Tree Country’, Perthshire taking in highlights of The Grand Tour of Scotland.
50th Anniversary of Ian McHarg's: Design With Nature | A Celebration of Influence and Legacy
Preeminent Landscape Architect Ian McHarg reshaped the profession with his revolutionary ecological approach to design captured in his seminal book, Design with Nature, which celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2019. Jo was invited to help mark this event in McHarg’s home country of Scotland organised by Landscape Institute Scotland. Speaking at Edinburgh College of Art as one of several ECA alumni the evening acted as a reminder of McHarg’s significant legacy. You can watch Jo’s talk here.
Landscape Institute 90th Anniversary | Landscape Festival of Ideas
Held in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park (QEOP), Jo and Neil were invited to help celebrate the achievements of the profession. Neil spoke about Urban Mind, a research collaboration between Kings College London, Nomad projects and J & L Gibbons. Jo led a walk along the Lea Navigation through Canal Park, one of the three parklands of the QEOP, by lead Landscape Architects J & L Gibbons in collaboration with muf architecture/art, East and Phil Meadowcroft, delivered by LDA.
IDEAL | Rapperswiler Day 2019
The conference addressed the notion of the ideal vision of a city where nature is preserved and a lively living environment is featured, one that is worth living in. Jo talked about the ‘ideal’ being reflected in process collaborative and driven design underpinned by a philosophy of deep ecology, the principle belief that the living environment as a whole should be respected. Watch the conference here.
Middle East Smart Landscape Conference 2019
The two-day summit in Dubai brought together leading landscape architects and sustainability experts to discuss topics on developing healthy happy cities and improving the quality of life within urban communities. Neil focused on London as a case study for considering cities as a landscape network functioning at multiple scales and interdependencies, through exploring the city as ecosystem.
Systemic Design in Urbanism
Systemic design seeks to reintegrate disvalued landscapes into urbanized territories and regional ecologies. Johanna and Neil presented a seminar at the University of Roma Tre talking about action research and the need to interface with natural processes and cultural networks to help sustain life and wellbeing in the city. Jo and Neil also participated in a studio review sharing their knowledge with the students of Landscape Urbanism.
Nature and Wellbeing
The conference hosted by University of Naples Federico II, investigated the relation between health, landscape, architecture and city, focusing on the design of open space; starting from the overcoming of the traditional idea of urban park. Neil considered landscape networks functioning at multiple scales, the need for collective imagination and how Landscape Architects are ideally placed to mediate between these scales.
Outside of teaching and professional practice Architect Matthew Blunderfield produces Scaffold – a podcast featuring long-form interviews with architects, artists and designers. In an interview with Jo Gibbons, she reflects on how the landscape is viewed, our relationship with natural processes, where we’ve interrupted them and how we can mend and reconfigure them. She says “Stewardship is what my profession is about, we are stewards of the planet.” Listen to the Scaffold podcast here.
Commissioned by J & L Gibbons to celebrate their 30th anniversary in 2016. Where do all the earthworms go? There are reminders all around us in the urban landscape, mostly in the form of trees, that we are intricately linked to the soil beneath our feet. Yet we tend to consider it simply as a surface on which we move about. Claudia draws attention to the often ignored and unconsidered sonic world that envelops us. In Where do all the earthworms go? She imagines what a subterranean, soil-based world might sound like: what if we could, like the earthworm, move through soil as we move through air? What new worlds of sensorial experiences might open up to us? Claudia Molitor is a composer/artist whose work draws on traditions of music and sound art but also extends to video, performance and fine art practices. Listen to the piece here.