The Future is Landscape: report

The Future is Landscape: report

A new report on the Future is Landscape highlights the importance of our cities’ living structure and the role that open space systems play in people’s health, as well as the living systems of water, vegetation, birds, animals and insects.

The report published by RMIT's School of Architecture and Urban Design and RMIT Europe shares insights from industry leaders and international academics on the importance of integrating nature and landscape and how to tackle urban challenges through collaboration, participation and with a focus on people.

Report contributors include city leaders such as the Mayor's Design Advocate for the Greater London Authority and the head of urban planning and public space working with the City of Milan along with industry and academic leaders from the International WELL Building Institute and the Universite libre de Bruxelles.

Spearheaded by RMIT's Professor Martyn Hook, Dr Katrina Simon and Dr Marta Fernandez, the report also showcases several urban projects in European cities that are focused on integrating nature with landscape, improving citizens’ quality of life and the overall sustainability of cities.

The Future is Landscape report The new report is an outcome of a global webinar on The Future is Landscape hosted by RMIT Europe on 25 November 2020 as part of RMIT's Practice Research Symposium (PRS) Europe.

Dr Marta Fernandez, Executive Director at RMIT Europe, said COVID-19 has changed our lives while transforming our built environment – turning our homes into libraries, cafes, work spaces and play spaces. 

“It has returned biodiversity to our cities and shown us what clean air feels like,” Fernandez said. 

“The pandemic has been an unparalleled call to action to drive sustainability and transform the way we live. 

“As governments are starting to invest in construction and infrastructure as part of their economic recovery packages, it is an opportunity to be proactive and advance and deliver buildings and infrastructure to develop cities that not only address climate change and energy challenges but also have an inclusive human-centric approach,” she said. 

“Landscape urbanism is at the heart of that as it looks into how we can create these spaces that drive socio, ecological and economic development impact.”

 Also outlined in the Future is Landscape report:

  • The development of the 15-minute city. Rather than the false dichotomy between nature and culture, urban and natural, we need to move towards shaping a productive city with a closer relationship with natural landscapes. 
  • A city’s infrastructure has to focus on returning relevance to people and nature rather than cars. To change cities, we need to change our streets first and our modes of transport and the idea that people have to rely on cars. COVID-19 has already made us realise how important it is to make room for other means of transportation, such as walking and cycling. 
  • The importance of measurement to drive change. There is nothing more important than the ability to measure outcomes and the opportunity to develop a roadmap that gives us clarity on what we are developing – measurement and certification drive accountability and change.
  • Approaching landscape in a pandemic. Setting open spaces as a framework to regenerate the city and the impact on people who live in fragile neighbourhoods must be considered.     


Story: Gabriela Torres, Patricia Lora Febrero and Karen Matthews


  • Research
  • Sustainability
  • RMIT Europe
  • Society
  • Urban Design

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Acknowledgement of Country

RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business - Artwork 'Luwaytini' by Mark Cleaver, Palawa.