In an article published this week in the journal Foreground, West End based landscape architect, John Mongard, makes a deeply personal commitment to shift his professional and personal life to focus on mitigating the threats of global heating in his local community.

Mr Mongard says that now is the time to “plan and design landscapes not for image and amenity, but for survival”. 

He writes:

Business as usual is over. Given our failures to meet climate targets to date, this week is when I start designing for two degrees, so my landscapes will still be around in 2030. Built environment professionals need to stop worrying so much about image and worry more about building like our lives depend on it: within and for future habitats where humans, plants and animals can still actually coexist. We have to transition to cities and infrastructures made locally and from fully recycled materials; where we plant for shifting ecologies, embracing the spectrums of drought/heat and storms/floods; where the condition and quality of climate, water, energy, waste, food and soil are the primary drivers of design.


For my part, I have decided to transition to a practice of three days a week, leaving me time to help my local community manage climate change in the next generation. I have worked in landscape architecture for over 30 years: it’s time to transition my practice and work on climate change projects as a priority. To do this, we will scale back other work to leave time to research, to lobby and to act on deep adaptation challenges. We will focus on projects that are already planned and that we can implement in the next 10 years.

Mr Mongard sets out seven ways he intends to make ‘deep adaptation’ the driving concern of his projects and professional life.

These include:

    • implementing the Green Space Strategy by the West End local community;
    • building forests and re-wilding areas
    • building city farms and urban food gardens;
    • planting street verges to create urban habitat to absorb water and reduce heat;
    • deep adaptation for flooding;
    • planning for and building regional food production farms; and
    • lobbying for a national deep adaptation agenda to create a program, funds and resources to deal with progressive climate crisis impacts.

You can read the full article HERE

Cover image by John Mongard – Tenterfield. The author’s friend’s farm burning in 2019.