I came to landscape architecture by a very roundabout route. Whilst living in Barcelona and working as an English language teacher, I watched in amazement as the city was transformed in the build up to the Olympics of 1992. Much of the transformation was through the appropriation of spaces throughout the city for people. The extraordinary energy and confidence of Barcelona at that time expressed itself in the design of squares, parks, boulevards and incidental spaces, which dramatically changed the environment, quality of life and image of the city. This inspired me and led me into the profession which I eventually discovered was behind much of this work.
Since then I have never looked back, coming to Manchester to study at the MMU in 1994 and subsequently working in a very diverse range of local practices for more than a decade. The profession has led me into activities and areas of life which I would never have suspected when I first became interested. Outdoor space affects our lives in so many ways, whether in big cities, small towns or the countryside. These are the areas in which we socialise, relax, play, shop, exercise and watch each other: where groups of individuals become a community or a society. The process of designing, planning and looking after these spaces expresses a great deal about our shared values and self-perception.
Landscape Architecture is an immensely complex field which requires an unusual combination of intellectual rigour with spatial awareness and strong visual communication skills. I strongly believe that the profession has a critical part to play in shaping a richer and more sustainable human environment. The challenge of nurturing these abilities in others and fuelling the spark of their enthusiasm is one that fascinates and excites me.