Students learn to explore layers of landscape

DCIM100MEDIADJI_0020.JPGFirst-year students explore the dimensions of the landscape of Loxley Valley through various media

Olaf Schroth

At the beginning of their second semester, our students explore the various dimensions of landscape through time, from history and geology to current planning policy and future landscape change. In addition to the lectures and workshops in our studio, students undertake two field trips to Loxley Valley near Sheffield. Learning Technologist Paul Buck supported them on site this year with 360’ photography and drone-based imagery (read the full story ).

Landscape students on site in Loxley Valley, near Sheffield

As one student, Rachel Sherratt, wrote in her conclusions: “By observing and understanding the various influencing factors within the Loxley Valley, it can be seen that the interaction between these factors has had the most significant effect on the landscape. Each factor has influenced the landscape differently, but it is the interrelationship between the factors which has lead to the distinctive character of the valley.”
In presenting their work, students mixed various media and illustrations, including normal as well as 360’ and drone-based photography, with drawings (example below) and paintings, as well as maps based on Ordnance Survey and Environment Agency data.

Olaf Loxley Valley fig 1
Sections through the Loxley Valley river corridor (Edward Etheridge)

This year, new approaches were taken in allowing the submission of posters, websites and movies instead of a written report. Particularly interesting in the context of landscape planning is the tool StoryMaps by ESRI, the same company that is distributing the Geospatial Information System (GIS) ArcGIS. Storymaps allows users to integrate data-driven maps directly from ArcGIS and to link them with various multimedia sources.

The following links give an idea of the range of creative media used by our students to explore, describe and analyse the various dimensions of landscape in Loxley Valley.

Loxley Valley: The Changing Landscape, by Wong Kwan Wing

Layers shaping the landscape and character of Loxley Valley by Wing S Yuen

Landscape Character Assessment of Loxley Valley by Andy Solaini

New Adventures in Technology Enhanced Fieldwork


Paul Buck

Here at the Department of Landscape, we’re always looking for new, creative ways of using technology to enhance student learning (TEL). This is one of my key roles as the department’s Learning Technologist. A recent example of this is a collaboration with lecturer Olaf Schroth and university teacher Thom White. Olaf, Thom and I get equally excited when we discover new technology that we can get creative with and repurpose for use in Landscape Architecture,  and that has the possibility of enhancing the learning and teaching experience for students and ourselves. Read more…

Joining the Green Dots

Selman P1080365Professor Paul Selman

Not everyone noticed, but in the 1980s we had an industrial revolution. Based on liquid silicon, this revolution was every bit as far-reaching and disruptive as the 19th century’s industrial revolution based on coal. It was swift and clean rather than ugly and polluting. The economy flourished, often in discreet business parks near attractive market towns, leaving behind rust belts and urban decay.

Read more…

Getting Creative when your PHD changes direction

Camilla Allen

How might you react to the news that the subject of your research, which in my case is Africa’s Great Green Wall, changes direction?

At the start of the second year of a Landscape History PhD – at this middle point – it seemed appropriate to reflect on my experiences so far: the hopes and realities of the remaining time I will be working on this project, and why being part of the Creative Spatial Practices cluster offers an important perspective on my work so far.

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“If you see a thousand faces then it is good for you”

Clare Rishbeth

This four-minute film shows the brightness of lungi fabric against long cold granite benches in a square in East London. A group of older women chat and laugh as they spend time here, amongst a busy mix of commuters and school kids, pigeons and dogs.


Watch clip of Alone Together: the Social Life of Benches

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Lessons from Kazakhstan, lessons from the inside…


Eckart Lange

Should we all rethink and investigate what we could teach and learn out there in the real word rather than in lecture theatres, studios, seminar rooms, laboratories etc.?

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Lessons from the terraces – travels in the Philippine Cordilleras

MA Landscape Architecture student Charles Lamb is one of the two winners of the 2016 Landscape Institute Student Travel Award. Charles travelled to the Philippines to research indigenous forms of water management in the Cordilleras, the chain of mountain ranges in the northern region of the island of Luzon.

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Ross Cameron hosts this years’ “RHS John MacLeod Annual Lecture”

Held every autumn, this influential RHS lecture invites prominent speakers to explore important horticultural issues. Hosted by the RHS at the Lindley Hall in London, the John MacLeod Annual Lecture was created to highlight important and inspiring topics on horticultural science. Read more…

Landscape Research Helps City Project Scoop Top Awards

The awards cabinet is growing for Sheffield’s new Grey to Green regeneration programme – after it scooped two coveted Yorkshire In Bloom awards.

The Grey to Green scheme, inspired by University of Sheffield landscape research, which has turned a redundant former Read more…

What’s in a Name?

Ross Cameron – Repost of his guest blog for CABIblog

Dr Ross Cameron of the University of Sheffield outlines his latest book (Environmental Horticulture – Science and Management of Green Landscapes), co-authored with Prof. James Hitchmough and how writing the book can sometimes be easier than settling on a name that everyone approves of. Read more…

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