We asked eleven landscape professionals, all at different stages in their careers, to tell us what inspired them to follow a career in landscape and what advice they would give to others. Their answers show the breadth of talent, experience and passion across the profession. They explain how they trained, what is important to them about the profession and how they would recommend it to others.

Amanda Gregor Profile

Amanda Gregor

Amanda is an urban designer at Witteveen + Bos UK. She studied Sociology and Anthropology (MA (Hons) at Glasgow University, an MSc in Environmental Studies and Sustainability Science at Lund University, Sweden followed by a PGDip in Urban Design at Westminster University.

What inspired you to study to become a landscape professional?

I studied Sociology and Anthropology and was always interested in the relationship between people and their environment. During my MA I developed this interest by focusing on sustainability and the city. My lightbulb moment came during a chance meeting with one of the partners from Gehl Architects. I explained aspects of the field that I liked, and he said ‘that’s Urban Design’ – I say lightbulb, it was more like the neon lights on the Las Vegas strip! I finally had a framework to help me understand and allow me to pursue my career in this field.

How did you train, what sort of work experience did you have?

After my studies, I completed internships at an environmental consultancy (land remediation), a small architecture practice, a sustainable consultancy for housing associations, and an educational charity working in sustainability and architecture across London. All of these opportunities helped me define my interest in working across different scales and integrating a societal component with a spatial dimension.

What projects are you working on at the moment?

A masterplan for a historic town centre in the UK; also on using virtual reality as a tool for community and stakeholder engagement for cycling and walking infrastructure projects in London and Inverness. After trying virtual reality, I realised how valuable it is as a way to communicate proposed plans to a wider audience.

What do you enjoy most about your work?

The work I do is meaningful and it’s great to be a part of a team to help make a positive impact in someone’s experience of everyday life. Whether it is helping people travel in a safer, greener, healthier way, to helping reduce stress levels through interventions in the public realm. Every project brings its new challenges so I’m constantly learning.

What trends do you predict for your industry within the next few years?

A greater awareness of the importance of healthy cities. We will require modal shifts from the use of private cars to a greater use of public transport, cycling and walking, and we will need an improved public realm to facilitate this. Addressing flooding and air pollution will become more pressing and I am also interested to see what impact Big Data will have, and how this will be used between corporations/government/councils and also for us as designers.

The work I do is meaningful and it’s great to be a part of a team to help make a positive impact in someone’s experience of everyday life.
Amanda Gregor, Urban designer at Witteveen + Bos UK

What do you find most challenging about your job?

The nature of our work means that quite a lot of projects do not come into fruition for a long time. It makes it difficult to analyse how the design or strategy actually works and what it looks like in reality.

How would you say you make your mark on the world ?

I bridge the gap between the designers and the end users, and provide opportunities for a wider group of people to have an input into how their public spaces are designed. Through my work, I contribute to creating more inclusive spaces that encourage people to live healthier lives.

Why is the landscape profession important to the future of society and the environment?

The UN predicts that nearly 70% of the world’s population will live in urban areas by 2050. It is vital that the profession continues to find solutions for the people living in these urban areas as well as the environment that is supporting it while also considering the impact on rural areas. Our profession is integral in safeguarding our environment and creating solutions for a sustainable future.

What would you tell someone who is thinking about becoming a landscape professional?

Get as much exposure as possible, and get involved! Volunteer in community projects, pursue work opportunities, attend events and talks, and read around the subject. If you meet someone in the industry who is doing interesting stuff, ask to meet them for a coffee and ask them your burning questions about the industry.

And it’s fulfilling! As landscape professionals, we have the opportunity to make positive changes to our environment which can impact our daily lives.