You may have seen that we recently asked you all to nominate who you thought the most influential landscape architect was. The idea of this feature was to canvass the UK working landscape architects to let us know who they believe are currently influencing the UK landscaping sector. The results are not by any national research or scientific approach, but purely based on the opinions of the landscape architects that kindly participated.

All that being said, the 50 or so people that nominated their individuals have allowed us to pull together this top ten, which I hope you agree is an insightful read. We also had nominations for ‘the most influential landscape architect of all time’, who had their own unquestionable influence. This list is certainly not a definitive one, but it has undeniably got us thinking about who the industry see as game changers, and what people need to do to be recognised by their peers, challenge the norm (which is never easy) and make a real difference.

We very much hope you enjoy the read and would love to hear your feedback about the people who are on the list – and maybe some names that should be. Thank you to all that took the time to help us compile the FutureArc Most Influential.

Jim and Lisa Wilkinson, Managing director and editorial director



UK-born James has been advancing the fi eld of landscape architecture and urbanism for the past 30 years, primarily through his leadership on complex urban projects around the world, as well as through teaching, public speaking and writing. James Corner Field Operations is a leading-edge urban design, public realm and landscape architecture studio based in New York City, San Francisco, Philadelphia, London and Shenzhen. Important public realm design projects include New York’s highly acclaimed High Line; London’s South Park at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park; and Shenzhen’s City of Qianhai, a new coastal city for 3 million people. He is currently leading the design for San Francisco’s Presidio Tunnel Tops, a 14-acre new park; the new Qatar Museums Cultural District and Park in Doha; and the Arts District West Bund Waterfront in Shanghai. His work has been recognised with numerous awards and prizes including the Cooper Hewitt National Design Award.


“James Corner is able to combine great design with attention for critically important topics and tries to show how landscape design can help to improve our cities”



James is a professor of horticultural ecology in the department of landscape architecture at the University of Sheffi eld, one of the world’s leading schools within this discipline. James’ research focus is on understanding how designed plant communities function ecologically and the key factors determining their attractiveness to urban people. His work culminated in the design (in conjunction with his Sheffi eld colleague Prof Nigel Dunnett) of the London Olympic Park. James’ aim is to shift paradigms as to the very nature of what urban planting might be in the 21st century in a time of climate change, sustainability and biodiversity.


“Perennial and wildfl ower genius… the UK’s Piet Oudolf”



A landscape architect, founding member of J & L Gibbons LLP and founding director of Landscape Learn, a social enterprise, Jo is a fellow of the Landscape Institute and the RSA and serves on several advisory panels. She is an Honorary Research Fellow at Birkbeck, University of London and a core research partner of Urban Mind, a cross-disciplinary project lead by Kings College London with Nomad Projects. Her expertise concerns heritage, green infrastructure and urban regeneration. Many of Jo’s projects are international award winning, including the 2011 Landscape Institute President’s Award for the Dalston Eastern Curve Garden. Recent projects won in competition include the new Museum of London and the new Museum Island in Oslo, where she is working in collaboration with Tracey Emin.

“A real commitment to the promotion of the profession and support for the education of future landscape architects”



An internationally acclaimed landscape architect renowned for creating distinctive sculptural landscapes which engage at a fundamental human level. Kathryn brings morethan 35 years of distinguished practice to Gustafson Porter + Bowman in London and Gustafson Guthrie Nichol (GGN) in Seattle. Kathryn’s work from both firms includes the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain, Seattle City Hall Plaza, and the landscape design for the National Museum of African American History and Culture, in Washington. Current projects include a civic project in Senegal, Valencia Parque Central, Rhine Terrace at the Novartis Campus in Basel and Taikoo Place in Hong Kong.

“A truly inspirational architect that creates amazing designs”



Kevin was appointed an associate director at Planit-IE in 2018, having been integral to the development of the company’s business, projects and people. Since then, he has taken on an active role in the practice’s future growth and strategic direction, specifically across the Greater Manchester region. He is continuing to grow the company’s wider contribution to Social Value across projects; building on his experience from Manchester’s ‘Our Town Hall’ project.

“Kevin has changed the public realm across Manchester over the last 20 years. His projects large and small will echo the streets for the 20 to come”



Martha is renowned for generating striking designs for diverse projects worldwide. Martha is a tenured professor in practice at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design, advancing design for Climate Change Mitigation, and a founding member of the Working Group of Sustainable Cities at Harvard University. She is the recipient of a Council of Fellows Award by the American Society of Landscape Architects and a Doctor Honoris Causa from the Boston Architectural College.

“Martha Schwartz‘s projects are an example of how public space should be rich and welcoming and enjoyable to all”



A pioneer of the new ecological approach to planting gardens and public spaces, Nigel’s work is based on decades of experimental research, and widespread application in practice. He works as a designer and consultant and regularly collaborates with a wide range of other professions. Nigel has authored and co-authored key books on planting design, water-sensitive design, and urban rainwater management. His projects include work on the Queen Elizabeth London Olympic Park, the Barbican Centre, London, and Sheffi eld’s Grey to Green. A Gold Medal winner at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show in 2018, Nigel won the Landscape Institute Award 2018 for Planting Design, Public Horticulture and Strategic Ecology, and the Landscape Institute Fellows Prize for Most Outstanding Project.

“Teaching at Sheffield University on an ecological approach to planting is changing the way we think”



Matt has been pivotal in the design and delivery of some of Planit-IE’s Manchester studio’s key projects. His work on Altrincham’s public realm over the last seven years has helped to transform the town’s position from one of doom to boom. He also has a key role in the design team for Albert Square, part of the Our Town Project for Manchester City Council, and promotes a strong collaborative approach on all his projects working seamlessly with all other disciplines. His work with award-winning artist and sculptor Stephen Broadbent, for celebrated artworks. on both Altrincham and Daresbury Sci-Tech Park, have ensured a robust and prominent setting

“He is a true pioneer in the landscape industry and has inspired many younger professionals within the practice”



A practising landscape architect for 30 years, with extensive experience in both the public and private sectors, Noel’s work is founded upon the belief that landscape makes an essential contribution to socially cohesive and sustainable communities. An accomplished masterplanner and strategist, Noel is a passionate advocate for the social and environmental value of landscape. Alongside his work at Farrer Huxley, Noel is past president of the Landscape Institute, where he is also a fellow and past chair of policy.

“He is a passionate advocate for the social and environmental value of landscape, continuously asserting the importance of high-quality environments for all”