The “Towards Cities that Thrive – Communicating the role of Healing Gardens” Research Collaboration receives a 2019 National Landscape Architecture Award for the Research, Policy & Communications category.

AILA Awards Night

This submission reflects on five years of evolving industry-academic collaboration to raise awareness of the benefits of evidence-based design while designing with nature for therapeutic spaces, extending the knowledge base and advocacy of landscape architecture. The submission includes a journal paper, project report and conference presentations. While authorship of all submitted projects span a multidisciplinary team of environmental engineers, healthcare and design professionals all projects were under the substantive direction of the Conrad Gargett principal Landscape Architect and Griffith Adjunct Industry Fellow Katharina Nieberler-Walker with the Cities Research Institute.

In this five-year journey of collaboration between Conrad Gargett Griffith, QUT and UQ, substantial challenges have faced the team, related to budgeting for research work, site access, data gathering and communicating the results through a variety of forums. The journey has been possible through several displays of leadership, with leadership amongst the team spanning industry and academia, within the team members’ organisations (universities, healthcare providers and industry business), and within the team members’ community of practice (Landscape Architecture professional bodies in Australia, Europe and Singapore).

We have strived for knowledge-sharing between professionals and academics that enables better design and credible post occupancy feedback: for landscape architects as to how academic research is done (ethics, methods and write up); and for academics as to how research can be applied in landscape design.

The resulting outcome from all involved is evidence of the importance of research based design thinking.


Jury Citation – National Award:

“Although the benefits of contact with nature for mental and physical wellbeing are wellknown, landscapes are still not sufficiently incorporated to many projects. For this reason the jury recognised the need for specific research that assists project teams in advocating for the inclusion of landscape.

The commitment of academics, researchers and designers in a wide ranging collaboration over a number of years has resulted in publications and practical case studies that highlight the role of healing gardens in positively influencing broader health and wellbeing.”