Report from IFLA
IFLA, (International Federation of Landscape Architects) was arranged in Mexico City the 3.-5. June this year, and in the last minute I got the message I would get sponsor money enough to go. So, after sleeping a bit after ELASA, I headed for Mexico. I had faxed the organization committee, but had just got a message back that they couldn’t meet me at the airport. So I didn’t know where to stay or anything. the only thing I had, was a travellers book from Mexico, so I found the hotel where IFLA was arranged, at the map. But when I came to the airport, I saw a woman standing with an IFLA-sign, and the happy ending of that story was that I was invited to stay in the home of one of Mexico’s best known landscape architects, Mario Schjetnan. (He had a Norwegian grandfather!)
The theme of IFLA’s 31th congress was “Metropolis: Landscape architecture & ecology”, and there were about 600 participants from the whole world. The first day started with an opening ceremony, and after that, lectures. The welcome cocktail party in the evening was a supposed to end at 21.00.
I had met a student from New York that was a member of ASLA, (American Society of Landscape Architects) and we has an appointment with one of the organizers, so he could informate that we would collect all the students after the cocktail party. But the cocktail party went on and on with eating, drinking, folk dance, singing and dancing till after midnight. And at that time everybody had had too much tequila!!
The next day started with technical visits. They were supposed to start at 9.00, but 10.30 we finally went off. (“Mexican time” became a familiar phrase to us during the congress).
I went on a visit to Chapultapec forest, that is one of the largest urban park in AMerica, and is more than 600 ha. In this park we saw the Chapultapec Castle and the Zoo that they where restoring. We also visited the Tlálc fountain, designed by Diego Rivera, the famous mexican artist. the last stop was the house of Luis Barragan, a mexican architect.
In the afternoon it was lectures again, and this evening there was a private party in “My” house. The last day I went to a technical visit to see Xochimilco, a new ecological park, designed by Mario Schjetnan and his office, Grupo Diseno Urbano. In the afternoon there were lectures and presentation of the International Student Competition, and in the evening we had a big farewell party in Hacienda de los Morales.
Unfortunately, I didn’t had the chance to come to the Grand Council, because it was to close to ELASA, but I got confirmed that we still have an observer status there. The most important issue discussed at Grand Council was the reorganization of IFLA. At the IFLA-meeting in Corea in ’93, England, Canada, Australia and USA resigned. England, Australia and USA have even established the Landscape Alliance, as an alternative to IFLA. Other countries are also not satisfied with IFLA today. IFLA doesn’t reach their members, there is little information sent out, IFLA need more action, and should be more visible for the governments. IFLA’s economical situation in the future is there no agreement about, except that many countries think they pay to much to be members, and get little back.
The will of reunification is there, and 4 working groups were settled:
- Finance, and
Their work will be ready to the Grand Council in ’95, and there will be published a resolution then.
To get an answer to our financial problem coming to IFLA in the future was impossible after the Grand Council. I will try to send a nice little letter to president Anagnostopoulos together with the ELASA yearbook.
IFLA was like a short and luxurious ELASA for the rich and “grown-ups”, and there were also place for students. But I missed a student arrangement. There were no possibilitiy to meet all the students together. There were students from New York, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, Corea. The problem with the Latin-American students was that very few of them spoke English.
I got good contact with the students from New York and I also got contact with the Corean girl (I had a lot of work with finding her). She told me that they were going to start up Easter Region of students Association (ERSA), and they were going to have their first meeting in Corea now in October. They would welcome people from ELASA to join their meetings, so I hope that will be possible in the future.
It was an interesting congress with good lectures of well known landscape architects and architects. The influence from USA was strong, but the Mexican culture was strongly represented. Landscape architecture is a little and new subject in Mexico, and the 27 Mexican landscape architects in Mexci City had really done a good job with arranging congress.
The next IFLA World Congress will be held in Bangkok, Thailand, 21-24 October 1995.