Prof Dr Emeritus Roland GUSTAVSSON

Institution: Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Alnarp – Sweden

About: Prof Dr Roland Gustavsson completed in 1976 his Masters degree in Landscape Architecture and immediately took up a research and teaching position. After obtaining his Ph.D. in 1987, as only the second landscape architect in Sweden with a doctorate, his ambition was to pioneer a bridge between academia and practice through a position at the university. In 1994 he was appointed Professor in Planting Design and Landscape Management at the Department of Landscape Planning at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU). He is a member of the European network group Periscapes, employing the ‘landscape ambassador’ approach based on Real Life Studios stressing communicative approaches and the meeting of different landscape competences and cultures of Europe. In 2016 he was guest professor at Ohio State University, USA.


Keywords: Landscape Laboratory at SLU-Alnarp, Summarizing Forty Years, Dynamics, Aesthetics, Design

This presentation aims to bring attention to a book release, with the preliminary main title “Urban Woods”, summarizing major concepts through the years and the experience of the first generation of Scandinavian landscape laboratories, in which woodlands have been a central issue. In particular the book brings attention to The landscape laboratory at SLU-Alnarp. We are many co-writers, who have been involved, now sharing the different chapters. As the starter and coordinator during decades, and actively involved in several projects that the book is based on, it is a privilege to be part of the book writing, including reflections of the forty years, and many perspectives I wouldn´t have been capable to understand when I was in the middle of it. Covering a period of more than forty years makes it quite unique when considering the length of one single major project. It is also one of the rare European examples in which landscape architects have been working very close to, and interacting, with foresters in an overlapping process. The world knows a lot of the contribution of foresters and forest ecologists. Here, we wish to bring attention to the landscape architecture as a profession and its contribution.

Being a landscape laboratory it realizes a wish for the landscape architect profession to balance the “indoor professionalism” and “conceptualism” by acting in an outdoor pedagogic, embodying knowledge, contextualize it, elaborating in full-scale, identifying and testing new innovative prototypes of landscape and woodland elements and patterns similar to the car industry test-driving new models. The landscape laboratory is realized in a close cooperation with foresters, ecologists, and also artists. The presentation will be very much hands on, talking about what should have a general interest, and at the same time letting the concrete examples realized out in the laboratory talk. Some issues that will be highlighted: forest and landscape dynamics & dynamic attitudes, perceptions, engagement and the environmental aesthetics, places and walks, the teen ager phenomena, complexity ladders, and woodland edges and hydrology.

Presentation: link