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Looking Forward to Heritage

Ruth Slavid


The last issue of Landscape was in large part a celebration of the Olympic Park, and included an interview with John Hopkins, the guiding light behind the landscape achievement. John was full of energy and ideas, was teaching in the US and researching a book, and making plans for the future. It was a huge shock to his family, friends and colleagues and those who simply admired his work when he died unexpectedly at the start of this year.

The esteem in which he was held is indicated by the comments on the story that appeared on the LI website, and this issue contains a tribute written by some of those who knew him best at different stages in his career. I hope you find them as touching, informative and occasionally surprising as I did.

Looking back over the life of someone like John Hopkins allows us to take stock of the achievements of the last few years. But Hopkins was looking forward, and so must the landscape profession. If anyone ever thought working with heritage was about being backward looking, I hope that this issue, which has a strong heritage theme running through it, will persuade them otherwise. After all, in some senses, every landscape has a heritage unless it is created from made-up land in a place with no context.

The nearest that one comes to that situation is with the Gardens by the Bay in Singapore, created for one of the world’s least nostalgic nations on a platform that has been built out into the harbour. It has already been covered by Landscape but it reappears in this issue as part of our visual representation of the history of parks, researched by Newcastle University academic Ian Thompson and beautifully designed and illustrated by David Atkinson.

This ‘mind map’ represents one aspect of the evolution of the journal. Our aim is on the one hand to stimulate and develop readers’ ideas, on the other to provide useful knowledge – whether an update on knowledge about using trees or a listing of latest relevant legislation - to help practitioners do their jobs better. Like the best landscapes, the journal has to develop in order to prosper. As well as continuing to adjust the content that we provide, we have also looked at the format in which we provide it. There have been some design changes to the magazine which we hope you will enjoy and which should aid legibility. In addition you can now read the journal online at or in an ipad edition which will be available to download shortly from Apple’s iTunes store. We would love to hear your responses and your ideas for future content. Please email me on [email protected]

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