Landscape Planning, Infrastructure and Ecology: Scottish Landscape Architecture through the work of Mark Turnbull (1943-1916)

This thesis focuses on two narrowly researched aspects of Scottish post-war landscape architecture: its international links with America and achievements in the field of infrastructure and landscape planning. The catalyst for this project was the donation of the Mark Turnbull’s (1943-2016) work archive to the Landscape Institute in Scotland, following his death.

It will focus on the twenty-year period which begins with Turnbull’s early career in California, his return to Scotland in 1974 and continuing practice throughout the 1980s. This is a period of great transition and political upheaval in Britain involving several recessions and the gradual transfer of industry from nationalisation to privatisation; Turnbull’s work is reviewed against this backdrop.

During the mid-1970 and 80s Turnbull and others, pioneered structured problem-solving tools and techniques and methodologies for large-scale landscapes and infrastructure projects such as oil refineries, reservoirs, transmission lines and roads. Much of this involved using computers to improve visual impact assessment techniques and methods that had already been invented by others. However, his pioneering work on visual descriptors with Graeme Aylward and visual impact assessment techniques and methodologies for siting or ‘fitting’ linear developments such as transmission lines (and later roads) with Brian Evans were ground-breaking.

Little is written about the state of landscape architecture during this period. This thesis will argue that many of these tools, techniques, and assessment methods were influenced by pedagogic practice in America, brought back by a cohort of students that studied there in the 1950s and 60s. Mark Turnbull is just one of this generation, but his archive provides a lens through which to view an innovative period in the history landscape architecture, for which there is little recognition … yet.


Landscape London: A guide to recent gardens, parks and urban spaces published by Ellipsis in 2001.


Charlotte McLean is a chartered landscape architect with almost 30 years’ experience in landscape design and conservation. She has enjoyed a wide-ranging career, with extensive experience in the private sector and on the planning side in local government (Historic England). Much of her work has concerned ‘designed historic landscapes’ - either conservation and management, or the design and planning of contemporary interventions to give them new use and resonance. She has worked in Italy, France, Germany and Australia.

She sits on the committee for several local community organisations, as a Friend of Linn Botanic Gardens and as Director of the West Rosneath Peninsula Development Committee and is actively involved in improving the local environment where she lives. Charlotte enjoys finding creative solutions, using the skills and knowledge she has acquired as a landscape designer to help realise worthwhile projects.

In addition to PhD work, Charlotte currently works as Associate Lecturer on the Master of Landscape Architecture course.