Uncommon Land announces new sustainability framework

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Uncommon Land is pleased to announce the launch of their sustainability framework. Developed from an internal working group, the document is a set of guidelines, a manifesto and a toolbox to initiate environmental, social and economic sustainability interventions in between buildings.

Sustainability and the landscape architect

Sustainability and addressing climate change is now one of the key global issues that landscape architects need to consider. The design of a sustainable landscape and/or public realm encompasses the three pillars of sustainable development: economic well-being, social equity and opportunity and thirdly environmental rejuvenation and preservation.

For the landscape architect, this can translate into intelligent placemaking solutions that support and contribute to the strategy of people – planet - profit. Creating spaces that enhance well being and provide social infrastructure, while well resolved placemaking and high quality outdoor spaces can strengthen local economies by attracting residents, visitors and investment to an area.

Landscape architects globally are concerned with the misuse of the environment and development; which has lost all contact with the basic process of nature. We feel that those who plan for the future must understand natural resources and processes. Landscape architects also have power in meaningful placemaking; creating spaces that are comfortable, whereby also enabling and improving the users quality of life. A well resolved design has the capacity to connect people and provide key social benefits including connection to nature, education, exercise, play, passive and formal recreation.

The framework

The framework is dedicated to addressing climate change and reducing the carbon footprint of users of a site we have designed. This is done by implementing systems that enable sustainable practices, opportunity, and environmental conscientious behaviours. The framework also outlines goals and targets to reduce green house gas emissions in the site construction, operations and ongoing maintenance and landscape management.

Our approach is layered and underpinned by the Paris Agreement, the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) system. We have leveraged from these globally recognised programs to define our own categories that represent key transformations that can be achieved through a holistic design approach. These eight categories are; land, water, waste and pollution, energy, social benefits, outdoor thermal comfort, connectivity and materials. Each of the eight categories have a number of sustainable targets which can be considered for each project we design.

The framework, and its goals and targets are scalable and can be applied at varying scales from masterplans, to large scale concept designs, down to small open spaces. The framework also serves to provide a process through the design stages; ensuring follow through on sustainability strategies that are initiated in concept; are carried out in later stages of the design process and issue for construction handover.

Watch this space to learn more about how we'll be working with the new framework across projects and more.