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pro landscaper magazine

Carolin Göhler on Making an Impact through the Landscape Institute

by | 04 Jan 24 | From the Mag, Landscape Architecture, Long Reads

Carolin Gohler

The new president-elect of the Landscape Institute, Carolin Göhler, sets the scene for an exciting year ahead.

As the Landscape Institute (LI) looks ahead to another year of connecting people, place and nature, we do so in safe knowledge that 2024 will be a vitally important year for the landscape professions and related industries. Our role as connectors, strategists, and storytellers will remain essential in our collective ambition to impact the biggest challenges for society – from climate emergency and biodiversity restoration to public health and wellbeing, and the sustainable management of land alongside housing, agriculture, infrastructure, heritage, and more.

2023 was a challenging year across the built and natural environment sectors. Our own members continue to be affected by impacts in the wake of Brexit and wider international unrest, with knock-on effects on procurement, supply chains and rising costs putting increasing pressure on landscape-related businesses.

The UK’s ongoing political inconsistency, and its impact on policy and investor sentiment, has had an unsettling effect on our members’ businesses and project planning, while skills and labour shortages continue to beset their ability to meet project demands. Indeed, these are concerns that we know are shared by our partner membership organisations across the industry.

Landscape Institute Awards

Landscape Institute Awards 2023 winners

Despite these challenges, the LI looks ahead with confidence that we are building from strong foundations. Our recent 30th anniversary Awards spotlighted the incredible work of our members and gives us great inspiration in our power to make the world a greener, fairer, more beautiful place to live.

Addressing the combined emergencies around climate, biodiversity and health remains our priority. As we move through 2024 and beyond, our focus will be on building an inclusive, progressive institute, with policy engagement, membership and education the key drivers of our success. In the next year, our current strategic priorities of people, membership and systems will put our members’ essential skills at the heart of everything we do. Our eight pledges to members, alongside ongoing membership and stakeholder engagement, will guide us as we launch a digital operational infrastructure, and a new five-year corporate strategy

We look forward to reporting on emerging collaborative work on embodied carbon in the landscape sector, as well as with Natural England on green infrastructure standards, and ongoing collaboration with the sector’s other professional institutions. Leading the ‘Adaption and Resilience’ workstream as part of a Construction Industry Council cross-sector climate action plan will remain an important focus, as will expanding our new Landscape Character Assessment (LCA) database.

2024 will be an important year for environmental policy, not least with a general election imminent, and we are pleased that legislation on Sustainable Drainage Systems and BNG (biodiversity net gain) will finally be rolled out. These are vital steps towards more sustainable development, but we must ensure that we demand more of both incumbent and future governments.

Last year, we made great strides in opening up more routes into the landscape professions and in developing the talent we already have. We welcomed the first graduates of the first cohort of Level 3 Technician apprentices as Technician Members of the Landscape Institute (TMLI), and launched the LI Academy.

We expect labour and skills challenges to continue into 2024, as requirements for projects across a huge range of specialist criteria become increasingly difficult to meet. Rising to these challenges, the LI will continue to expand its accredited partners and apprenticeships, and we’re excited to continue work on launching the Level 7 apprenticeship.

We will continue our work and support on ‘Access All Areas’ too – a joint charter signed by five associations as a public declaration of commitment to positive change on Equity, Diversity & Inclusion, as well as continue to meet actions from an MoU on EDI we signed with other professional bodies in these sectors. 2024 could herald positive change, if we all join together and make our work count.

Carolin Gohler

About Carolin Göhler

Carolin Göhler FLI is presidentelect of the Landscape Institute, with her presidency due to run for two years from June 2024. She has over 35 years’ experience as a chartered landscape architect and horticulturist, and over 10 years’ experience as a CEO in the charity sector.

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