School of Architecture, Planning & Landscape

Staff Profile

Dr Ian Thompson

Reader in Landscape Architecture



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. He also holds an MA in photography (with Distinction) from the University of Sunderland.


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.  He is also the author of 'The English Lakes: A History' published by Bloomsbury, London and New York, in 2010. He is one of the editors of the' Routledge Companion to Landscape Studies' (2013) and wrote' Landscape Architecture, A Very Short Introduction' published by Oxford University Press in 2014.  

Roles and Responsibilities

Reader in Landscape Architecture

Degree Programme Director of the MA in Landscape Architecture Studies.


BA (Hons) Philosophy, B.Phil in Landscape Design, MA (distinction) in Photography,  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 Landscape Institute

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), photography


Research Interests

Landscape architecture history and theory. Landscape and photography.

Other Expertise

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

Current Work

Currently editing a second edition of the Routledge Companion to Landscape Studies.

Future Research

Research Roles

Member of the Tectonic Cultures Research Group

Postgraduate Supervision



Usue Ruiz Arana (began 2014, part-time) The Natural City (1st supervisor)


Marjolaine Ryley (began 2018) Time, Image, Archive: Visualising gardening communities through auto-ethnographic photographic practice (2nd supervisor)


n.b both of my current supervisions are Creative Practice PhDs, an area which greatly interests me.




Maimuna Saleh-Bala, Landscape Planning in Nigeria (completed 2017) 2nd supervisor


Pattamon Selanon, A Study of the Relevance of Environmental Art to Landscape Architecture in the Context of the United Kingdom (completed 2016) 1st supervisor


Amira Hasanein, Feeling Comfortable Outdoors. A phenomenological understanding of microclimate in the Egyptian context. (completed 2016) 2nd supervisor


Tugce Sanli, Power struggles in the production of and changing perceptions over contemporary public space (completed 2016) 2nd supervisor


Mohd Yunos Mohd Yazid, Public Participation in Urban Park Planning and Design in Malaysia (completed 2011) 1st supervisor


Navapan Nattika, The History of Open Space in Bangkok (completed 2010) 1st supervisor


Fuad Al-Ansari, The Creation of Vernacular Public Space in the Gulf States, The Case of Manama - Bahrain (completed 2009) 1st supervisor


Zarei Hossein, An Investigation of Design Principles in Contemporary Botanic Gardens 1st supervisor (completed 2008)


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

No undergraduate teaching.

Postgraduate Teaching

APL8000 Conceptualising Landscape

APL8005 Advanced Landscape Architecture Studio I

APL8006 Advanced Landscape Architecture Studio II

APL8008 History of the Designed Landscape

APL8003 MALAS Design Thesis