Landscape architectural research in Canada: developing a certain future in uncertain times.

  • Douglas Paterson


LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURAL RESEARCH in Canada is defined by the uncertain and complex global issues of the times, the significant theoretical and methodological debates facing the world of research in general, and the increased academic pressures for research in a less well-funded and more constricting research environment. It is also affected by the political environment in which its few researchers are outnumbered by the larger disciplines and professions which seem to be getting bigger all the time, and by its own internal struggles between its disciplinary and professional roles. Landscape architectural research efforts in Canada are, as such, both vigorous and hesitant, aggressive yet underfunded, well focused yet somewhat uncertain in their ultimate intention. This paper begins with a brief examination of the present context of our research. It next looks at the basic problems that have and continue to plague design research. With these contextual issues established, the paper then recounts a brief history of the profession and its emerging educational-research base in Canada and gives an overview of current research efforts. It concludes by suggesting several important directions that are needed in Canadian landscape architectural research over' the next 10 years. It is hoped that this personal, historical account of research efforts, problems and opportunities in Canada will allow others in the Asia-Pacific region to recognise the similarities to their own situations.