Much of the work of landscape architects takes place in urban environments, in public squares, housing, streets and parks – the public realm. This work requires close collaboration with architects and town planners, and is often called urban design. Many landscape architects are also urban designers.
Good urban design is crucial to creating sustainable communities and combating climate change in the urban environment. Urban design is focused on making physical improvements, as opposed to urban planning, which is concerned more with policy and statutes.
Landscape architects are often agents of regeneration, working on large-scale masterplanning of projects such as the 2012 Olympics, King's Cross Central in London, Stratford City shopping centre and athletes village in London or New Islington Housing development in Manchester. Urban design of this type requires a strong understanding not just of design, but of all the forces that shape cities, such as economics, politics, sociology and the psychology of how people live and work together.
Stratford City, artist's impression