Status & Sustainability


I have been thinking a lot recently about my change of career direction : I used to be a Landscape Architect, and now I am a community gardener. I never believed I could get so excited about composting and soil.

When I left college, my contemporaries were all interested in what they called ‘European minimalism’ ; aiming to design high status places in public squares, to work with rich developers and big name architects, and it was all about you getting to design something to show how good you are at design. I wanted to design meaningful places, and help to transform communities through transforming their public spaces : the kind of projects that proper designers looked down on, and probably still do.

It always worried me, that other people in my profession weren’t interested in the slightest in the environmental impact of their work, and I found it extraordinary that it was so difficult, not to mention much more expensive, to reuse or recycle materials already on site, or to specify materials with convincing low carbon credentials.

I am in many ways, much more comfortable in community gardening : I am constantly surprised that people know so little about how to grow food, but glad to be rediscovering my own knowledge, which has all come from experience. A little part of me, though, imagines what my ex-colleagues would think : they must all be earning loads, and working all hours, while I am scraping in a fraction of what I used to get, but still avoiding having to make my son do a 12 hour day so I can. I am thankful.

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