Launching LDA’s 2021 bursary

“This challenge is all about focussing minds on making the places where we live, work and play more resilient and innovative. I’d love to see people stepping outside of professional norms and introducing relevant thinking and collaboration from artists, creatives, communities, makers and businesses to take landscape to another level.”
Frazer Osment, LDA Design Chair

With COP26 just weeks away, US Climate Envoy John Kerry says the world is poised to make a big leap forward. Leaders are “sharpening their pencils” to make fresh commitments to cut emissions. Talk is of the last-chance saloon.

For those working within the built environment climate breakdown changes everything. We need to be honest with ourselves about the way we are responding, making sure that each project delivers multiple benefits and net good. We need to sharpen our pencils too.

That’s why this year’s LDA Design Bursary competition puts designing for people and planet front and centre.

Now in its third year, the LDA Design Bursary scheme awards £1,000 to five undergraduate or postgraduate landscape architecture or urban design students in the UK with ideas as to how to make the world around us a better place to be. It is designed to support students in need of additional support. One or more of the bursaries will be allocated to a student/s who has faced financial or other challenges in pursuing higher education.

Recipients will also be offered paid work experience in one of LDA Design’s eight UK studios. Ben Adams, a 2020 winner, is currently working in our Glasgow studio.

LDA Design chairman, Frazer Osment, says of the scheme: “Climate breakdown and biodiversity loss mean we must change the way we do things. But we can’t be rabbits in the headlights. We need to collaborate to find solutions and think and work differently, so that people and planet come first.

“The good news is that nature holds many of the solutions. Landscape is the building block of place, capable of managing today’s crises. Landscape-led masterplanning, for example, will find natural ways to promote active travel, connect fragmented green spaces and absorb rainwater run-off.

“So, this challenge is all about focussing minds on making the places where we live, work and play more resilient and innovative. I’d love to see people stepping outside of professional norms and introducing relevant thinking and collaboration from artists, creatives, communities, makers and businesses to take landscape to another level.”

The challenge

We want you to reimagine an existing piece of town or city or conjure up a new piece of city. It might be a network of streets, a square, park or waterfront, or at a larger scale, a neighbourhood or new settlement. How can it better respond to climate breakdown and biodiversity loss and at the same time be more liveable for people? Can climate drive better placemaking? What options do we have to future-proof designs for hotter summers and wetter winters? How can we make our high streets and open spaces work much harder for nature? We want your design thinking to be ambitious and multi-faceted. Think about energy, water, the circular economy, the micro and macro. How can the local community, businesses and makers shape your design?

In your submission, please describe your place in any way you wish, through illustration (2 x A2 max), or illustration + words (one image + 1,000-word limit), or video (five minutes max).

The deadline for submissions is midnight on Monday 22 November. Awards will be announced in December.

Contact us at bursaries@lda-design.co.uk with any questions.

Good luck, everyone.

Download the challenge. Download the LDA Design Bursary 2021 Application Form.

Check out last year’s awardees.

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