School of Architecture, Planning & Landscape

Staff Profile

Dr Ian Thompson

Reader in Landscape Architecture, Director of Internationalisation and Postgraduate Research



Ian is a professionally qualified landscape architect and town-planner with a background in philosophy and an interest in landscape architecture theory and the history of the designed landscape.


Ian worked in practice as a landscape architect for 13 years before taking up his first academic position in 1992. he has been engaged both physically and intellectually with the transformation of landscapes. In particular he worked on three of the British garden festivals - Glasgow, Gateshead and Ebbw Vale. As an academic he has studied the value systems inherent in landscape architectural interventions (his book, 'Ecology, Community and Delight' (London, Spon 1999) won a Landscape Institute Award in 2001) Ian's interest in garden history led to the publication of 'The Sun King's Garden', an account of the creation of Louis XIV's gardens at Versailles (London, Bloomsbury, 2006) He is a former editor of 'Landscape Research', a Routledge journal whose main areas of interest are environmental design (landscape architecture, architecture, planning) countryside management, visual arts, cultural geography, archaeology, ecology, history and literature. His most recent book is 'The English Lakes: A History' published by Bloomsbury, London and New York, in 2010.

Roles and Responsibilities

Degree Programme Director, M.A. in Future Landscape Imaginaries

Director of Internationalisation and Postgraduate Research.


BA (Hons) Philosophy, B.Phil in Landscape Design, PhD.

Previous Positions

Lecturer in Landscape Architecture, School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape, Newcastle University (1992-2007)

Senior Landscape Architect, Gateshead Metropolitan Borough Council (1986-92)

Landscape Architect, Tyne & Wear Metropolitan Borough Council (1985-86)

Landscape Assistant, Gateshead MBC, Department of Parks and Recreation (1984-85)

Planning Officer (Landscape) Glasgow City Council (1980-84)

Landscape Architect, Brian Clouston & Partners, Glasgow (1979-80)


Member of the Royal Town Planning Institute
Member of the Landscape Institute

Board Member of the Landscape Research Group

Founding Member of the Landscape & Art Network

Honours and Awards

Landscape Institute Award 2001. Landscape Institute Award 2007.


Some French

Informal Interests

Hill walking, singing with the Heaton Voices (community choir), digital photography


Research Interests

Landscape architecture history and theory.

Other Expertise

Environmental ethics, Public art, Landscape aesthetics, Garden history, Landscape heritage and conservation, Landscape urbanism

Current Work

'The English Lakes: A History' has recently been published by Bloomsbury (April 2010).

Future Research

I am interested in investigating the potential for landscape urbanism in Britain and Europe. I am also seeking to secure resources for an investigation into the social, cultural and ecological aspects of landscapes created through the processes of post-industrial reclamation.

Research Roles

Member of the Tectonic Cultures Research Group

Postgraduate Supervision

At present I have only one PhjD student:

Mohd Yunos Mohd Yazid, Public Participation in Urban Park Planning and Design in Malaysia.

However, the following students have recently successfully completed:

Navapan Nattika, The History of Open Space in Bangkok (completed 2010)

Al-Ansari Fuad, The Creation of Vernacular Public Space in the Gulf States, The Case of Manama - Bahrain (completed 2009)

Zarei Hossein, An Investigation of Design Principles in Contemporary Botanic garden (successfully completed 2008)

Esteem Indicators

Landscape Institute Award 2001 for 'Ecology, Community and Delight'(London, Spon 1999). 'The Sun King's Garden' (London, Bloomsbury, 2006) was commended in the Research category of the Landscape Institute Awards 2007. Specialist Adviser Landscape to RAE 2008. Review of research proposals for the Research Council of Norway 2008.

Former editor of the journal 'Landscape Research' (Routledge / Landscape Research Group)

External examiner on landscape architecture programmes at the University of Greenwich, Manchester Metropolitan University. Recently appointed as external examiner at Birmingham City University.

PhD examiner for Edinburgh College of Art, University of Sheffield, University of Greenwich and University of Melbourne.


Undergraduate Teaching

History of the Designed Landscape. Contributions to studio projects at various levels of the BA Architecture programme.