HomeEventsInauguration 2009Message from The President, SLILA

Message from The President, SLILA

Mrs.Hester BasnayakeIt is a privilege to be the first President of the Sri Lanka Institute of Landscape Architects and to convey this message to all present on this momentous occasion of the ceremonial inauguration of the institute. On behalf of the Council and members of SLILA, I wish to record our sincere gratitude to Honorable Dinesh Gunawardena, Minister of Urban Development and Sacred Area Development, who encouraged us, presented our Act in Parliament, and consented to be our Chief Guest. We are also grateful to all our other invitees, especially those dignitaries and academics or their distinguished representatives who have made time to be with us. 

It is our aim, today, not only to celebrate this long-awaited event, but also to give you a clear idea of the tasks that landscape architects must accomplish and the professional training necessary for this. Our souvenir therefore contains the Definition of the Profession of Landscape Architect for the International Standard Classification of Occupations of the International Labor Office (ILO) approved by the International Federation of Landscape Architects (IFLA), as well as the IFLA Education Report.

The ILO-IFLA definition shows that the practicing professional has three scales or levels of work, landscape planning in teams with other professionals at the macro-scale, site planning (sometimes in teams with other related professionals) at the medium scale, and detailed landscape design, often referred to as “landscaping”, at the micro-scale. It is also made clear that teaching and research are vital tasks.

The IFLA education report highlights the need for comprehensive training – at least 2 years full-time courses in landscape architecture at postgraduate level and at least 4 years full-time courses at undergraduate level. In the case of part-time courses, there should be an equivalent period, even though it means spreading courses over a much greater number of years. The need to take students through a series of design projects, involving real sites of varying size and complexity, is met in effective courses throughout the world, leading to a process of selection of those who are truly suited to design of the outdoor environment, besides giving the training required. Exercises in landscape planning should, no less, be a crucial part of the training. It is thus incumbent on those in the field of education to take steps to ensure that courses in Sri Lanka are of a sufficiently high standard.

It is also our duty, today, to inform you that the institute hopes to work closely with the public sector towards the early establishment of, literally, many hundreds of essential landscape architect positions at appropriate levels in all relevant central government and local government institutions, and to stimulate the private sector to follow suit. Indeed, Sri Lanka will not achieve sustainable development unless this specialized expertise, with adequately trained manpower, is available.

Hester Basnayake

President, Sri Lanka Institute of Landscape Architects