IFLA Europe Conference


The general theme tackles a recurrent problem of the contemporary landscape but also one that is political and very actual. On one hand the landscape doesn’t know any limits, borders, frontiers… It is a spatial and social reality that is fluid, overlapped and crossed. On another hand the accessibility, the spatial mobility, migration of people animals and plants are central topics of contemporary design. The theme raises the problem of the limit or the non-limit in landscape.

IFLA17 Conference Program

The Conference is open for the general public, no registration needed.

Venue: The National Museum of Contemporary Art

Address: Palace of the Parliament wing E4,  2-4 Izvor Street, Bucharest 


Ellen Fetzer

Ellen Fetzer holds a diploma and a PhD in landscape planning from Kassel University, Germany. Since 2001 she has been working at the School for Landscape Architecture, Environmental and Urban Planning in Nürtingen (Stuttgart area). She is primarily coordinating an international master degree in landscape architecture (IMLA). The second focus of her work is on computer-supported collaborative learning. She is currently coordinating an ERASMUS+ Strategic Partnership titled ‘Social Entrepreneurship for Local Change’ and institutional contact person for the Strategic Partnership ‘Landscape Education for Democracy’. Ellen Fetzer has been a member of the Executive Committee of ECLAS, the European Council of Landscape Architecture Schools, since 2004 and serves as its vice-president since 2011. Since November 2016 she is delegate of the universities of applied sciences for the university network for digitalization of higher education in Baden-Württemberg.

Strong landscapes for strong democracies: landscape architects as agents of deliberation

Planning, and specifically environmental planning, is a process for collectively, and interactively, addressing and working out how to act with respect to shared concerns about how far to go and how to "manage" environmental change….We cannot therefore predefine a set of tasks which planning must address, since these must be specifically discovered, learned about, and understood through intercommunicative processes.” (Healey, 1992). Such thoughts came to be known as the communicative turn in planning. 

This new perspective extended the professional profile of the planning professions to a new set of tasks such as process design and community visioning facilitation. Even if Patsy Healey’s article has been published 25 years ago its implications are more than relevant today, especially with regard to the New Urban Agenda adopted in October 2016 at the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III). This agenda aims to lay out a new framework how cities should be planned and managed to best promote sustainable urbanisation. 

Article 92 of the New Urban Agenda suggests that:  ‘We will promote participatory age- and gender-responsive approaches at all stages of the urban and territorial policy and planning processes, from conceptualization to design, budgeting, implementation, evaluation, and review, rooted in new forms of direct partnership between governments at all levels and civil society, including through broad-based and well-resourced permanent mechanisms and platforms for cooperation and consultation open to all, using information and communication technologies and accessible data solutions’ (UN Habitat, 2016). Clearly, the New Urban Agenda asks for integrated and participatory approaches to which also landscape-related planning and design professions need to contribute. Planning and designing are complex learning processes in which the landscape serves us as a discourse framework. The framework itself evolves during this learning process, which is why understandings, visions and values of landscapes can be created and also changed by intercommunicative processes. It is very relevant that landscape professions are prepared for shaping and guiding these processes in a democratic way. We may call this ability transformative competence.

Healey, Patsy (1992): Planning through debate: The communicative turn in planning theory in: The Town planning review 62(2):143-162

United Nations (2016): New Urban Agenda, Resolution adopted by the General Assembly on 23 December 2016:http://habitat3.org/wp-content/uploads/New-Urban-Agenda-GA-Adopted-68th-Plenary-N1646655-E.pdf, accessed on 21.04.2017

Romanian version

Albert Fekete - 2

Albert Fekete is a Graduated Landscape Architect, head of Department of Garden Art, Dean of the Faculty of Landscape Architecture and Urbanism Budapest, Szent István University. He is an active landscape designer with European design experiences, having since 2000 his own office (Lépték Terv Landscape Office) in Budapest/Hungary and since 2007 the AB PLAN Design Office in Romania. He is working in Germany, Holland and Spain as well, having more than 50 realized landscape and open space design projects. He is member of the steering committee of the Hungarian Association of Landscape Architects. Being leader of several research projects in the last 15 years, he has a rich international scientific experience as well. He was awarded among other in more than 15 design competitions, and won several national and international awards, for instance the „Landscape Architect of the Year 2012” and the „Landscape Architect of the Year 2017” (in the team of Lépték Terv Landscape Office) prizes in Hungary, and the „Europa Nostra Prize” of the EU in 2014.

Regionality in LA education, research and professional activity – an East European case study

The term “landscape architecture” was first used in 1840, and “landscape architect” – in 1862. The profession, which has existed for over 100 years elsewhere in the world, in East Europe is still a young field, and a landscape architect a relatively young occupation. The scientific and practical foundations of this specialization were developed as part of architecture in its broad sense, and over the last years evolved into a new field combining architecture, planning, environmental protection, the issues of sustainable development, horticulture etc.

Social awareness of landscape architecture in East Europe countries was very low and start to increase after 2000, hundred of new, realized public projects rising up in the last 10 years. The aim of the presentation is to give a short overview about the professional activity – the education through research and design – of the Hungarian school of LA in cooperation with the national association of LA and with several professional or non-professional organisations, in order to preserve and to develop the cultural values and to increase the impact of LA in Hungary and Romania.

Romanian version

Nigel Thorne

Nigel is a chartered landscape architect (a Fellow of the Landscape Institute) specialising in landscape and project management. He practices as an independent landscape consultant concentrating on contract administration and project implementation but also works part-time for a variety of award-winning landscape architectural practices across the UK and internationally. Although trained in design, he concentrates on the important practicalities of comprehensive engagement with the design implementation process in order to maintain design integrity and to work collaboratively with contractors and suppliers to ensure the highest standards of workmanship and project operations. He was a trustee of the LI for over 15 years culminating in his role as president from 2006-2008. He was elected president of IFLA Europe at the beginning of 2010, completing his second and final term in office at the end of 2013. He works and teaches both nationally and internationally and regularly gives talks, seminars and lectures in order to promote the work of the profession around the world. In 2016 he became project manager for a £6.2 million publically financed heritage and conservation project for the Royal Parks at Brompton Cemetery in the Royal London Borough of Kensington and Chelsea; the project aims not only to restore the built form historic heritage assets of the garden cemetery but to increase the relevance of this quite unique public space to local residents, communities and world-wide visitors alike. He is a trustee and board member, representing the Landscape Institute, of the Architect’s Benevolent Society and also sits on the London Advisory Committee of Historic England.

"Green Infrastructure – where did it all go wrong? – A quizzical look at over 30 years of alleged sustainable landscape architectural practice"

It was the title of this conference, “(Un) Limited Landscapes no fence; no offence”, that prompted further interrogation into the much lauded green infrastructure approach to contemporary developments from a landscape architectural perspective. It is human beings who burden our world with limitations in terms of red line boundaries and borders, which in turn have determined and defined where we find ourselves today in terms of countries, peoples, cultures, and communities. Our landscapes however, reflect no such delineation but in response, our human attempts at a comprehensive green infrastructure developmental approach still fall short.

Perhaps this is not so surprising. It is a rare thing that genuine communication, collaboration and cooperation happen between built environment professionals in order for the most comprehensive, holistic and effective green infrastructure responses to be implemented. Mere connectivity between soft landscape elements fails to recognise the bigger picture that a green infrastructure approach ought to achieve in terms of respecting the landscape, creating communities and developing places and spaces where people genuinely wish to live, work, visit, relax and enjoy.

A quick search on Wikipedia would suggest that the green infrastructural approach to modern development was somehow ‘developed’ by the Americans approximately 30 years or so ago; an interesting supposition but highly suspect. Humans were once the greatest proponents of green infrastructure ‘living’; respecting and working with the land as a means for their survival. Using it wisely for food production, a means of transport, protection and most everything else. As populations have increased so the respect for our landscapes and environments has diminished and maybe this is why it is suggested that green infrastructure might be seen as a recent invention for a more modern approach to human developmental intervention.

Genuine green infrastructural development needs to be fully comprehensive; not an add-on and not an option but a necessity providing the fundamental principles for all necessary development. It needs to look beyond borders and boundaries to become the basis for a truly holistic approach to future human intervention in the landscape. Humans, because of their very different cultures and communities, always seem to struggle with challenges such as these. Perhaps there is light at the end of the tunnel?

Romanian version

Felix Marcu

Dr. Felix Marcu is an expert in archaeology and one of the first researchers of Romania who embraced the new interdisciplinary technique (remote sensing) in archaeology.

Felix Marcu worked since the beginning of his scientific career on some of the most imposing archaeological Roman sites in Romania and abroad: Ulpia Traiana Sarmizegetusa, Carnuntum (Austria), Oberndorf-Bochingen (Germany), Caseiu, Roșia Montană etc. Currently he leads the archaeological research work in Roman forts at Bologa and Gilău (Cluj county) and the remote sensing research of many other monuments comprising the Northern Roman Frontier of Dacia.

Most recently, he has become thoroughly involved in problems of heritage management. He is since last November the manager of one of the most important museums in Romania, The National Museum of Transylvania's History, Cluj-Napoca. He has been appointed by the ministry of Culture as the president of the Romanian LIMES Commission, whose goal is to prepare the Roman frontier in Dacia for enlistment in UNESCO World Heritage. Moreover, he is a member of the National Commission for Archaeology and the manager of the National Programme LIMES, financed by the Ministry of Culture, until 2020.

Limes – the frontier that connects all Europe

The presentation will be an overview of what remains of the frontiers of the Roman Empire, extending over Europe. The focus will be on the sites dated in the 2nd century AD, when the Roman Empire reached its largest extent, especially on the sites of the former province of Dacia. We witness here an unparalleled mixture of military solutions developed to cope with varying landscapes and threats.

The Frontier of the Roman Empire (limes) have been a very dynamic boundary which developed over time and shifted forward and backward in direct relation also with the landscape. Forts distribution is better understood when related with the topography which influenced different aspects: where people could live, where they could produce food, and the need to maintain observation of such people and places.

Nowadays the monument is affected by the topography as well, better solutions in respects of managing the landscape in its vicinity being essential for a suitable solutions and standards in protecting and promoting the sites.

Romanian version

Luana Simion

Luana Andreea Simion is a graduate of the Department of Landscape Architecture, Biodiversity and Ornamental Horticulture at the University of Agronomic Sciences and Veterinary Medicine of Bucharest. She holds a Master’s Degree in Geomatics and Environmental Engineering from the Faculty of Land Reclamation and Environmental Engineering of the same university. During the second year of the master’s programme she has studied Physical Geography and Ecosystem Analysis as an Erasmus student in Lund, Sweden where she produced and published her master’s degree project titled ’Conservation Assessments of Văcărești urban wetland in Bucharest (Romania): Land cover and climate changes from 2000 to 2015’. Since July 2016 she is a member of the Văcărești Nature Park Association.

What you plan is not what you’re gonna get. On Văcărești Nature Park

Have you ever woke up in the morning having in mind to prepare a delicious custard but ended up by eating scrambled eggs for breakfast? Well, certain things just won’t turn out as intended. Holding the Summer Olympic Games is nowhere near as delightful as cooking custard, but it can still result in a complete mess or… a rather exquisite outcome. Such plan was proposed during the communist era for a neighbourhood in the south-eastern part of Bucharest which comprised at that time numerous vegetable gardens. However, instead of supporting persevering rowers paddling just above the Olympic lake, we are now able to marvel at over 90 bird species that gracefully circle around 183 hectares of unique and isolated landscape, so isolated that for about 20 years now, no more than a few nosy and adventurous nature lovers knew existed, due to the disguised walls that surround it. This border has up to this point acted in such way that it made the whole ecosystem possible. Nonetheless, why not break the limit and come close to such revelation? So, if you think again, eating scrambled eggs might not be a bad way to start the day after all!

Romanian version

Lala Panait

Laura Panait lives in Cluj and works as urban anthropologist  and cultural manager. She holds a PhD from Babes-Bolyai University in Cluj. Her thesis analyses the post 1989 art interventions in the Romanian public space as processes. In 2007 she graduated Bauhaus Dessau Kolleg VIII, „EU Urbanism“. Lala organised art interventions and workshops in Romania and abroad: Germany, Poland, Czech Republic, Luxembourg, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Moldova and Russia. She was part of the organising team of the “Superbia” project for the Architecture Biennale Venice. She is founding member of the association Colectiv A and, between 2009-2015 part of the Temps d’Images Cluj team. She also organises the alternative tours “live the City” and Jane’s Walk in Cluj. Since 2012 she is coordinating, together with Silviu Medeșan the “At the Playgrounds – Common space in Mănăștur” initiative.

Take us this day our daily fence and forgive us our trespasses

Pleading  / barrister speech: 100m hurdles are needed to rich the community spaces of the city!

We live in quite suffocated cities, with crowded centres congested by traffic but also by various kinds of festive designs and gentrifications. Meanwhile the neighbourhoods hold their own pace but also hold their needed claims for certain spaces. In my presentation I will speak about the wave of fencing and about the lack of community spaces for collective housing estate’s dwellers and also for local culture. The chosen study case is represented by the local community initiative “At the Playgrounds – Common space in Mănăștur” (Cluj) and the participative process that we are developing since 5 years aiming to activate the green spaces of the neighbourhood but also the neighbours themselves. To speak about fences and active citizenship in the city is a topic that can no longer be ignored neither from political, cultural or social point of view.

Romanian version

Diana Culescu

Diana Culescu holds a Graduate Degree in Landscape Architecture and a Master Degree in Integrated Urban Development. She acquired her PhD title in Horticulture field based on the thesis "Development of a quality assessment method for urban green spaces". Her professional activity, mainly carried out within RPR Bureau of Contemporary Studies company, is focused on landscape design, landscape maintenance and management of sustainable inclusive cities. In 2016, Diana Culescu became the President of the Romanian Landscape Architects Association (AsoP). Within the national professional organization, she is involved in projects and activities that aim to establish, protect and promote the Landscape Architect profession and the Landscape Architecture field in Romania.
Furthermore, her active involvement since 2005 in the Romanian NGO sector, through projects, workshops, conferences and other activities, is yet another mean to attract public awareness towards landscape and environmental issues.

Mental frontiers and communication gaps

The image of the landscape architecture in Romania remains vague and imprecise. Often if you say you are a landscape architect, people ask if you can paint them a beautiful painting … "Monet-like". In more fortunate cases, people understand that landscape architects have something to do with flowers and gardens. In this context, AsoP's primordial purpose was to promote the landscape architect profession as well as opening multiple dialogues. From community projects and collaborations with other NGOs to inter-professional cooperation covering areas ranging from architecture or arts to urban anthropology, the involvement of AsoP members in individual projects or the implication of the professional association managed to overcome mental boundaries that kept this profession in the shade. Although not completely out in the light, a series of legislative projects in recent years demonstrate that landscape architects are no longer seen as those who are supposed to paint nicely or plant small flowers in public spaces, but they begin to find their natural and needed place in the design and planning of our everyday spaces.

Romanian version


An architect by formation, Kázmér Kovács is full time professor at the Bucharest school of architecture. His field is a general theory of architecture, with emphasis on the theory of the built heritage and on the theory of landscape and garden design. Kovács authored two books: Peisaj cu grădină și casă [Landscape with Garden and House], Simetria, Bucharest, 2011, and Timpul monumentului istoric [The Time of the Historical Monument], Paideia, Bucharest, 2003. He has also published a number of papers invarious periodicals in Romania and abroad, contributions to books with collective authorship, as well as translations from the writings of Françoise Choay. Besides being a teacher, Kázmér Kovács conducts a lesser architectural practice in association with professional friends, both in Bucharest and in his town of residence, Sf. Gheorghe (Transylvania). His works include a wide range of planning tasks, from urban development to building design and from restoration to landscape architecture.

Landscape and architecture – professional (non)borders

Tracing a limit is the primordial gesture for architecture. At the same time, establishing borders remains human way of conveying identity to a place. Landscape, instead, is a construct by no means determined by physical limits. The relation between the two is therefore intricate, uncertain and yet unavoidable. The presentation shall approach a few aspects of the unlikely, ever-changing synthesis between architecture and landscape, also in terms of professional practice.

Romanian version