Mapping the education, current situation and development needs of landscape architecture in Estonia

The role of landscape architects in our urban landscape and in the countryside is growing, as they are involved in almost all projects and buildings in the public realm. People are increasingly interested in quality public space and green areas. The green revolution is also bringing many new regulations and requirements for planning, and planners increasingly need the help of landscape architects.

The aim of the study commissioned by the Estonian Association of Landscape Architects (EMAL) was to get an overview of landscape architecture education, the labour market and development needs in Estonia. The survey (May to December 2021) was based on a survey of 182 people involved in the field (including 21 employers) and interviews with 17 participants. The situation of landscape architecture in neighbouring countries – Latvia, Finland, Germany and the Netherlands – was also examined as background.

Landscape architects in the field confirmed that it is an increasingly important field in terms of the environment, climate and quality of life and that the workload is already high. Respondents tended to be more satisfied with their studies in the field, more with their choice of field of study and higher education institution, and less with the curriculum and internship opportunities.

Recommendations: more technical subjects, more freedom in subject choice, more project-based subjects, more involvement of practitioners and more placements. More training, job opportunities, apprenticeships, and training for women and men.

Finding a job as a landscape architect is somewhat tricky, as the job requires a variety of knowledge and skills as well as several personal qualities. Low pay, a modest reputation and misplaced job expectations are significant obstacles, leading many landscape architecture graduates to opt for a non-specialist job.