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FUTUREARCH for the UK’s landscape architects

APRIL 2018

Collaborative working

Phillip Black Sweco

The importance of

parks and play Flood prevention Could trees be the answer?

STREET

FURNITURE

for sociable spaces OXFORD CITY COUNCIL A n e w p at h i n i n n o vat i o n

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WELCOME

FUTUREARCH for the UK’s landscape architects

WELCOME Welcome to the April issue of FutureArch. We all know the troubles of funding and finding enough money to turn a project from idea to reality. It can be limited, to say the least, when it comes to public open spaces. One of the areas that has been hit the hardest is parks, but it was refreshing this month to see MP for Nottingham East, Chris Leslie, warn Parliament on the consequences of the “alarming rate in the decline of parks”. The warning was made during a Westminster Hall debate on the provision of children’s playgrounds. On the topic of things that are in decline, this month we investigate whether street furniture can reduce antisocial behaviour, or whether it encourages it. ‘Hostile architecture’ has been used on occasion to try and prevent people from hanging around and causing damage, but is it the answer? Do we need to reduce the amount of street furniture in problem areas? Find out what our interviewees had to say on page 39. The Oman Botanic Gardens will begin construction later this year and is set to become the largest botanical garden on the planet. Tim O’Hare Associates has been tasked with creating a soil strategy for the entire landscape. A project of this scale, where unique soils for eight different habitats have to be created on site, has “never been attempted before”, according to Tim O’Hare – read more on page 22. Have a great month. Joe Betts joe.betts@eljays44.com

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03/04/2018 09:35


WELCOME

WELCOME 06 NEWS 08 INTERNATIONAL NEWS 10 OUT & ABOUT: ecobuild

FUTUREARCH for the UK’s landscape architects

CONTENTS

FEATURES 12 the big interview: phillip black 16 the green advantage 20 OXFORD city council 22 oman botanic garden 25 BIODIVERSITY in kings cross 28 could tREES COMBAT FLOODING? 32 PADDINGTON central 36 WHY ARE PARKS AND PLAY SO IMPORTANT? 39 STREET FURNITURE

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PORTFOLIOs 42 WIRRAL WATERS 46 arnhem central station 50 APRIL roundup

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EDITORIAL Features Editor – Joe Betts joe.betts@eljays44.com Managing Editor – Joe Wilkinson joe.wilkinson@eljays44.com

Eljays44 Ltd

3 Churchill Court, 112 The Street, Rustington, West Sussex BN16 2DA Tel: 01903 777 570 Published by ©Eljays44 Ltd – Connecting Horticulture Printed by Pensord Press Ltd, Gwent, UK The 2018 subscription price for FutureArch is £125. Subscription records are maintained at Eljays44 Ltd, 3 Churchill Court, 112 The Street, Rustington, West Sussex BN16 3DA, UK. Articles and information contained in this publication are the copyright of Eljays44 Ltd and may not be reproduced in any form without the written permission of the publishers. The publishers cannot accept responsibility for loss of, or damage to, uncommissioned photographs or manuscripts. Whilst every effort has been made to maintain the integrity of our advertisers, we accept no responsibility for any problem, complaints, or subsequent litigation arising from readers’ responses to advertisements in the magazine. We also wish to emphasise that views expressed by editorial contributors are not necessarily those of the publishers. Reproduction of any part of this magazine is strictly forbidden.

Cover image ©Sweco

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PRODUCTION Production Editor – Charlie Cook charlotte.cook@eljays44.com Subeditor – Kate Bennett kate.bennett@eljays44.com Design: Kara Thomas SALES Business Development Manager – Jamie Wilkinson jamie.wilkinson@eljays44.com

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Deputy Sales Manager – Jessica McCabe jessica.mccabe@eljays44.com MANAGEMENT Managing Director – Jim Wilkinson jim.wilkinson@eljays44.com Editorial Director – Lisa Wilkinson lisa.wilkinson@eljays44.com

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NEWS

NEWS

Oxford street transformation plans receive widespread support

A new campaign has been launched between London National Park City and Seedball to ‘grow the national park city’ by sowing #WildflowersforLondoners. The campaign website explains: “This spring, we are calling for Londoners to come together and help make London a successful National Park City by sowing nine million #WildflowersForLondoners. “You don’t need to know about gardening to help turn London into a greener landscape. “By backing our campaign, you are helping us to show Londoners how easy it is to #getgrowing in our own neighbourhoods and how, through small actions, over time we can transform our urban landscape into a beautiful city of colourful wildflowers returning every year. London National Park City has partnered with Seedball for this project, an award-winning North London-based social enterprise that produces wildflower seedballs.” A donation site has been set up, with a target of £20,000. www.chuffed.org/project/grow-the-nationalparkcity

£10m funding secured for new HS2 urban quarter

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©TFL

New campaign launched to grow a wildflower for every Londoner

Plans to transform Oxford Street and the surrounding area into an unrivalled place to live, work and visit have received widespread support. The plans, subject of a recent consultation by Westminster City Council and Transport for London, proposed a new traffic-free area between Orchard Street and Oxford Circus delivered by December 2018 to coincide with the launch of Elizabeth line services. The aspiration behind the proposed improvements is to see the creation of safe, accessible and inspiring public spaces for people of all ages to enjoy. These would rival those in other cities such as Paris and New York, and include improved pedestrian crossings, wider pavements and additional taxi ranks on surrounding roads. The residents, families and community around Oxford Street were at the centre of thinking for these improvements to address some of the very serious and pressing issues of poor road safety and air quality on and around Oxford Street. More than 22,000 responses were received as part of the consultation. Of those who responded to the online consultation directly, 64% supported all or some of the plans to transform the area. www.oxfordstreet.co.uk

Plans to create an urban quarter around the HS2 Interchange station in Solihull have taken a major step forward today after almost £10m in new funding was secured. The Urban Growth Company (UGC) was established by Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council to maximise development and investment at the HS2 station site and neighbouring land, collectively known as The Hub. It has been working jointly with the council to secure £9.8m of devolution deal funding from the West Midlands Combined Authority to enable HS2 to design the changes. The changes include a plaza and public transport

interchange aimed at creating a sense of arrival at the new HS2 station, replacing surface car parking with multi-storey car parks to free up land, improved pedestrian links and additional capacity for utilities. Councillor Ian Courts, deputy leader of Solihull Council, said: “This agreement means we really can make the most of HS2’s arrival and deliver up to 77,500 new jobs, 775,000m2 of commercial space, 4,000 new homes and generate £4.1bn every year as a result. “It also means that people across the region will be better connected than ever, thanks to the improvements to local transport links.” www.ugcsolihull.uk

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NEWS

Civic Engineers announces year of growth as turnover grows by 33% Civil and structural engineering practice, Civic Engineers, has had another strong year of growth. The practice, which has offices in Manchester, London, Leeds and most recently Glasgow, has seen turnover grow by 33% to £4.5m in the financial year ended February 2018. In addition, the appointment of former Deloitte accountant, Alistair Topping, as finance director has been announced. Alistair, an experienced finance director, previously spent 13 years at Deloitte advising owner managed businesses throughout the north west. Most recently he was group finance director for a business providing

energy efficiency measures which was grown and successfully sold to a trade purchaser in 2017. Founding director Julian Broster said: “This last year has been a very busy one for us and it is great to be able to announce these results and welcome Alistair to the team. Over the course of the year we have worked on some fantastic projects with our many clients and collaborators, including Rutland Mills in Wakefield, Park Hill in Sheffield, Cannon Green in the City of London and the conversion of the listed Mackie Mayor building in Manchester city centre.” www.civicengineers.com

Tim O’Hare Associates welcomes geologist to its team of specialists

Ebbsfleet in Kent will be the site of the first new Garden City of the 21st century, creating 15,000 new homes, 30,000 jobs and seven city parks. It is also the largest of the 10 Healthy New Town initiatives being run by the NHS to show that land can be used to deliver health benefits. This has created an exciting opportunity to take an innovative approach to the design and sustainability of the city and, in particular, the health of its community. That is why the Ebbsfleet Development Corporation and the NHS are launching an international design competition, managed by the Landscape Institute, to ensure the best minds in the landscape profession take on the challenge of how best to create a truly modern, healthy city. The Landscape Institute’s work on public health and landscape has gathered a growing evidence base that green spaces play a vital role in healthy living. By having green spaces integrated into communities, people have the opportunity to become more active and improve their health. Even short-term exposure to green space can have a huge impact on both physical and mental wellbeing. Driving forward this important link is at the heart of this project. Conceptual ideas need to be submitted online by Wednesday 18 April 2018. www.healthygardencity.co.uk

Leading landscape and soil consultancy Tim O’Hare Associates (TOHA) has further enhanced its team of specialists by welcoming geologist Matthew Heins to its Oxfordshire-based practice. Originally from South Africa, where his degrees in Geology and Geography led to employment in geological exploration and mining consultancy, Matthew joined Tim O’Hare Associates in February 2018 when he moved to the UK. His role at TOHA is already utilising his broader business development experience as he identifies upcoming projects where TOHA’s extensive soil surveying and site investigation, testing and analysis, design and specification, planning and monitoring, and other specialist soil services can be employed. Speaking about Matthew’s arrival, Tim O’Hare, principal consultant at TOHA, said: “The team at TOHA is very much enjoying having Matthew on board. His background in site investigation will strengthen the TOHA consultancy team and he has also brought new impetus to our business development activities. Matthew said: “Joining TOHA has given me an amazing opportunity to learn more about soils whilst contributing my own knowledge and experience of geology to the team. It’s a privilege to work alongside my TOHA colleagues and I hope I will be able to help generate further business opportunities for them.” www.timohare-associates.com

©Matt Buck

Opportunity to create the first Garden City of the 21st century

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NEWS

International

NEWS

ASLA looks forward to World Landscape Architecture month 2018 This April the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) will celebrate World Landscape Architecture Month (WLAM) by looking to the future of the profession. As a part of ASLA’s “This Is Landscape Architecture” social media campaign, a different student chapter will take over ASLA’s Instagram account each day in April. WLAM will also serve as the launch of ASLA’s new logo and rebrand. After a successful 2017 campaign, ASLA will again ask its members and landscape architects around the world to share their

favourite designed spaces on social media with a card that reads “This Is Landscape Architecture” with #WLAM2018. These posts aim to help the public connect the term landscape architecture to the work of landscape architects that surrounds them. In addition, during the campaign, a different ASLA student chapter will take over ASLA National’s Instagram account each day. This 30-day takeover will highlight the projects of the next generation of landscape architects and favorite designed spaces on campuses

across the country. “We’re really excited about putting the future of the profession and ASLA on display,” said Nancy Somerville, ASLA’s Executive VP and CEO. “We want to showcase the great projects our student members create while we move into a new era for the society.” ASLA will also debut its new brand identity in April. The rebrand and logo refresh will better embody the entirety of the society’s efforts and the profession as they both continue to evolve. www.asla.org/wlam

Azizi Developments opens doors for new contract tenders Azizi Developments, one of the leading private developers in the UAE, has announced that it will start accepting the prequalification applications for AED 20 billion worth of contract tenders for its projects in Dubai in 2018. This is in addition to the developer’s

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existing pipeline of projects that are in various stages of development across the city. Construction on the various projects is set to commence 60 days from now and will be delivered by 2020. This is the largest tender announcement from the developer to date and will contribute to its real estate portfolio over the next few years. Commenting on this announcement, Mirwais Azizi, chairman of Azizi Group, said: “This will be a tremendous year of growth and expansion for the company. The new tenders are our largest number released so far and will contribute to our already packed portfolio of projects which we aim to deliver on schedule by 2020.” He added: “This announcement represents our commitment to developing the real estate landscape in Dubai even further, utilising the latest technology in building design and architecture to create entire communities that

stimulate a multi-faceted lifestyle. Since last year, Azizi Developments has been working closely with its contractors and sub-contractors to push forward with development to deliver projects ahead of schedule. Our goal is to ensure that we meet the commitments we have made to our buyers and investors by delivering high-quality living.” Azizi Development is currently working on developing more than 200 projects in 2018. Among the biggest projects are Azizi Riviera, the developer’s flagship development in Meydan One, followed by Azizi Victoria, the megacommunity project in Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum City – District 7. Among the other projects in the pipeline are Royal Bay by Azizi and Mina by Azizi on Palm Jumeirah, Azizi Aliyah Residences and Farhad Azizi in Dubai Healthcare City, and Azizi Farishta, Azizi Plaza, among others in Al Furjan. www.azizidevelopments.com

www.futurearch.co.uk

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NEWS EXTRA

ECOBUILD Out & about T

his March, FutureArch exhibited at Ecobuild. Held at the ExCeL Centre in London, Ecobuild featured exhibitors specialising in sustainable building and design, ood management, housing, energy, and green and blue infrastructure. The show was a great opportunity to meet some of our readers, as well as picking up some useful information in the seminars.

The seminars on green and blue infrastructure proved popular

FutureArch and Pro Landscaper magazines were available for visitors

The Platipus team display tree planting products

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Sustainable housing designs were also on display at the show

Visitors browse some of the reading material

Seminars took place throughout the day

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Interview

PHILLIP BLACK SWECO, UK

Phillip Black, Technical director – landscape architecture at Sweco, talks collaboration, the future of landscape architecture, and the scandinavian business approach

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Could you tell us about your role at Sweco? My role is to head up the Sweco UK landscape architecture team, which currently consists of 12 members. The team is spread across four offices: Manchester, Leeds (our head office), Glasgow, and then also one in Forres in the north of Scotland, between Aberdeen and Inverness. Over the last couple of years, the team has tripled in size, and will be moving into a new office in the centre of Manchester. There are definite plans for future growth across many disciplines, both here in Manchester and in other parts of the country as well. There are approximately 15,000 people employed by Sweco in Northern Europe. The company is one of the biggest employers of landscape architects in the region. We have a huge landscape presence, particularly in the Scandinavian countries. Do you work closely with the other offices across the country? It is very much a single, combined UK team. Sweco is focused on developing strong, technical teams, and collaboration is key to that. As a company, we are always thinking about the technical offers of what each team can provide, rather than their location. We all work closely together, providing the skills to provide the best results for our client’s needs – no matter how small the project. We measure success by how far we’ve enabled them to achieve their goals, and the trust they place in us to advise on their futures.

1 Does that include collaboration with the other disciplines within the company? The collaboration across the multidisciplinary teams is central to everything we do. We are an engineering, environmental and design consultancy with a wide range of different disciplines that work collaboratively on all sorts of different projects. Would you consider yourselves to be specialists in a particular field? The Sweco model is to offer a wide range of services across a wide range of sectors, at both large and small scales. We work on extremely large projects, but don’t limit ourselves to this. In the UK, we have a great reputation in the field of energy and transportation in particular. We are focused on designing the cities and communities of the future. As part of that, we have set up a new initiative recently called Urban Insight. What is Urban Insight? Urban Insight is a new thought leadership initiative, published via the Sweco website. At Sweco we have nearly 15,000 experts planning and designing the cities and communities we live in. Urban Insight has been launched to illustrate our expertise – encompassing both local knowledge and global capacity – as the leading adviser to the urban areas of Europe. This initiative offers unique insights into sustainable urban development in Europe, from the citizens’ perspective. It is an area where all that knowledge and expertise

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INTERVIEW

can be brought together. There is a different topic every year, and our focus this year is the sustainable development of transport in urban areas of Europe. What is the next step for the team? There is a big focus on investing in our skills base and office infrastructure, which includes our new office in Manchester city centre. This forms part of a strategy to have a strong and multidisciplinary presence in many of the cities across the UK and Ireland. What makes Sweco stand out? One of the main things is that Sweco works to a decentralised model. We are a large organisation, and we recognise that, for clients, that is not always necessarily the best thing – it can become impersonal. To avoid that, we develop small, bespoke teams, suited to the needs of a client, that have a degree of autonomy and a clear technical focus within what they do. This helps us to be more engaged with our clients. That Scandinavian heritage also makes us special. We believe that being a Swedish company in origin brings a new perspective to the projects that we do, not only in terms of the technical aspect and experience, but also for business culture – being accessible and easy to work with.

While doing an art foundation, I did a lot of painting and sculpting, which led into an interest in British landscape painting. I built up a strong interest in the dynamics of a landscape – why they are the way they are. Whether it is a rural or an urban landscape, it is about seeing the mechanisms that are in play. Landscape architecture is about design, but it is also about understanding the processes, understanding people, and having an appreciation of how landscapes evolve out of the way that they interact.

What inspired you personally to become a landscape architect? There are many different routes into landscape architecture; my particular background was art.

What background did you have before joining Sweco? I joined Sweco two years ago, just after it had rebranded from Grontmij – Sweco had acquired the

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4 company the previous year. Prior to joining, I worked in several landscape architecture practices across the UK – both large multidisciplinary organisations and smaller landscape specialists. I started out at in the planning department at Bath City Council. Has the role of the landscape architect changed during your time in the industry? The role of the landscape architect is quite complex and touches on a multitude of different things. You have to interact between a wide range of different disciplines, but also a wide range of stakeholders. Being able to handle the complexity of these relationships is what makes a good landscape architect. As the planning system has evolved, understanding it has become a skill set that is more and more important. The UK has a particularly demanding planning system and that is an important part of what we offer. What are the key challenges facing the industry? Landscape services are in demand, but there aren’t enough landscape architects out there. There are not as many new people coming through the education system as there has been in the past. A lot of that is to do with funding, but as a profession, and from the Landscape Institute, there needs to be a focus on new routes into landscape architecture. Apprenticeship is a hot topic. I support our junior members of staff through their pathway to chartership, helping them with the training. That is a really important part of what we do, and it harks back to the culture of Sweco, supporting people through their career and retaining people through that support. They are the future of the profession, and we must make the time to ensure they stay and develop.

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There are a couple of things we do here at Sweco to try and help with that: firstly, our training programme, which supports our employees towards achieving chartership. Secondly, one of the landscape architecture courses is located nearby to our team here in Manchester, so we invite students into our offices and support them by reviewing their work. What projects are you particularly proud of? Within Sweco, we do both landscape planning and design work, but it is the design projects that are perhaps more eye catching. Greengate Square in Salford was an important project for the team. Sweco Landscape Architects acted as lead designer for a multidisciplinary team, on a series of new public spaces connecting Salford’s new 13ha Greengate Exchange mixed-use development with Manchester. The scheme involved a new footbridge over the River Irwell that connected the two cities. A new public square, sculptural beacon towers, and water, misting and laser displays displays establish Greengate as a vibrant and exciting new city centre destination. One of our lead designers in our Leeds office, Simon Heald, is currently leading a large multidisciplinary design team to create a new public park in the centre of Bridlington, East Yorkshire, called Gypsey Race Park. The project centres around regeneration and habitat creation along the Gypsey Race River corridor. The strategy is to create a blue/ green corridor where naturalisation techniques are championed; where they cannot be used, sustainable green engineering solutions are implemented and supplemented with ecological planting around new public spaces.

1 Greengate, Manchester 2  Gypsey Race Park Bridlington 3 Greengate detail 4 Gypsey Race Park Bridlington

Sweco Sweco is one of Europe’s leading architecture and engineering consultancy, planning and designing the communities and cities of the future. Grontmij UK rebranded to Sweco in April 2016. W: www.sweco.co.uk

www.futurearch.co.uk

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26/03/2018 09:42 11:27 29/03/2018


INTERVIEW

THE GREEN ADVANTAGE Bruce Collinson of the Whitehill and Bordon Regeneration Company explains how landscaping is playing a key role in the creation of a ‘green and healthy’ town in Hampshire

A

sk Bruce Collinson, project manager at the Whitehill and Bordon Regeneration Company, why green space is important and he’ll enthusiastically launch into a volley of reasons. “I think it brings multiple benefits. It benefits the physical site because it creates a better sense of place; it acts to connect areas – separate housing developments or different smaller development sites. It also benefits people from a health and wellbeing point of view because they have got places they can enjoy and use for a variety of activities, whether it is a physical activity or just reading a book. It benefits local wildlife because it provides areas that mammals, birds and insects can use, whether it’s for breeding, nesting or hibernating over the winter.” It’s hardly surprising, then, to hear that an abundance of green space is at the heart of the project that Bruce is currently working on – Prince Philip Park in Hampshire. This large-scale development is spearheading the transformation of the former army headquarters of Whitehill and Bordon into one of NHS England’s 10 ‘healthy new towns’. Key to the NHS designation is its mission to promote healthy living through sports, activity and relaxation spaces, as well as eco-friendly surroundings. In line with this, Prince Philip Park will have about 100ha of green space among its 2,400 new homes and the several schools, sports pavilions and community facilities that make up its 1m-square foot town centre. “Nearly 50% of the development will be green space of one sort or another,” says Bruce, who believes that landscaping choices should reflect the character of the local area wherever possible – and that’s exactly what he set out to do at Prince Philip Park. “We are surrounded by quite a lot of lowland heath, which is made up of heather, gorse, silver birch, oak and plants like that,” he notes. “Within the site, there’s also a lot of oak and silver birch, so what we are doing in the design is ensuring that these sorts of species are used. For example, in one of the green spaces that was improved last year, we cleared five hectares of Scots pine and started to recreate a new heathland area. Where the MOD had planted trees as a crop, as part of their forestry operation after the Second World War, we removed those and returned the place back to its natural state.”

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INTERVIEW

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“WHEN I’M OUT IN MY OWN TIME, IF I GO TO ANOTHER GREEN SPACE IN A NEW AREA, I ALWAYS LOOK FOR IDEAS”

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This approach allows more natural light to filter in and makes for a diversity of habitats, which in turn brings benefits to wildlife – and children. “One of the things I have done is to install a bird hide on an existing green space near a pond, and the schools have been using that as part of their studies,” says Bruce. For the Whitehill and Bordon Regeneration Company, landscaping is clearly a means to enrich local residents – and children are by no means the only people on its radar. In an unusual move for a developer, the company has decided to put some of the largest blocks of greenery into place from

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INTERVIEW

the very outset of the Prince Philip project, which is expected to span 12-15 years. It believes this will make a substantial difference to the area’s regeneration. “It provides green space that’s accessible not only to new residents but also to existing ones – it has an important role to play, joining the new and existing communities together.” Last year, the company delivered a community garden, which is being run by a local charitable trust. “The idea is to bring people together to grow their own fruit and veg, which is proving successful,” says Bruce. “We are also looking at creating an edible street. It will be on quite a small scale, but it will consist of hedgerow plants and fruit trees so that people will be able to pick their own. Hopefully, it’ll prove popular and we’ll be able to do more of it.” Next in the pipeline for the site are the sports pitches – cricket, football, some tennis courts – which are to be followed by a new 10-hectare linear park, which will be at the centre of the development. “We are also waiting for planning approval for the first stage of our town centre, which includes quite a lot of public realm – civic spaces, but also green spaces with quite a lot of planting,” Bruce tells us. The plan is to have community buildings, including a church, a leisure centre with swimming pool, a theatre, a pub and a covered market for street food and arts and crafts, all surrounding a central park. “The town park will be the heart of the town centre and the buildings around it will help generate activity that will spill over into the park.” Bruce sees no trade-off between preserving the aesthetics of green space and installing play and community facilities. “You can solve it with clever designers, consultations and doing research on different products. There’s so much choice out there that you have no excuse to go to the first you see, and it doesn’t necessarily even need to be more expensive – there are so many options.” He personally gets inspiration from TV, papers and industry bulletins, and from keeping his eyes wide open when he visits places of interest across the country. “When I’m out in my own time, if I go to another green space in a new area, I always look for ideas – and I have stolen a few from other places. There was a place I visited in Somerset, near Cheddar Gorge, that had interpretation boards on the site. On the pillars that were holding up the boards, they had brass rubbing plaques so you could go around the whole area, collect these brass rubbings and it would make a picture. That was quite

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3 a nice idea, and what we have done in one of our green spaces is to put brass Roman numerals on top of our way-markers, so children can get brass rubbings of these numerals and collect them.” To help accommodate these different initiatives, Bruce likes to have a flexible budgeting strategy. “There’s not one formula that’s used for every site,” he says. “I start with a budget in mind and then decide how to allocate that based on the space we have and what we are trying to deliver. It depends on the site: if there are good facilities or plenty of wildlife interest, then you don’t need to do a lot on that, and you can maybe spend your money on different things. It’s also about having good control of your designers and landscape architects, making sure you are building in checks and balances so that you don’t end up with a design you can’t afford.” The company also uses a formal tender process to choose the best contractors in a costeffective manner. “Depending on the size of the projects, we’ll do a search of companies that we know could do the work, and contact them to see if they are interested,” Bruce explains. “If they are, then we invite them to bid, to formally tender for the work.” Similarly, he adds, if it has previously worked with a company that would be perfect for the next project, it invites it to tender, too. In each instance, though, the company looks at having a minimum of three contractors bidding for the work. “Then we do a comparison and select a preferred one.”

“AN ABUNDANCE OF GREEN SPACE IS AT THE HEART OF THE PROJECT THAT BRUCE IS CURRENTLY WORKING ON – PRINCE PHILIP PARK IN HAMPSHIRE”

1 CGI of Arrival Square 2 Hogmoor Park 3 The opening of Hogmoor Park

The Whitehill and Bordon Regeneration Company (WBRC) The Whitehill and Bordon Regeneration Company (WBRC) is a joint venture between Dorchester Regeneration and Taylor Wimpey, appointed by the Defence Infrastructure Organisation to redevelop the former Prince Philip barracks in Whitehill and Bordon, Hampshire. W: www.princephilippark.co.uk

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03/04/2018 09:21


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03/04/2018 09:40


FEATURE

Oxford City Council

A NEW PATH

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“THIS B2B REVENUE STREAM HAS BEEN HUGELY SUCCESSFUL, WITH THE COST SAVINGS AND PROFITS RETURNING £4.7M TO THE COUNCIL”

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Oxford City Council has launched Oxford Direct Services to change the way it provides services for commercial landscaping projects

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n response to reduced central government funding, councils have had to be innovative in how they generate income and deliver frontline community services. One such council is Oxford City Council. In 2012, it founded Oxford Direct Services (ODS) – which it wholly owns – to provide council services to 150,000 residents, and to commercial businesses. These services include work on commercial landscaping projects in the area, such as maintenance, environmental cleansing, general civil engineering, landscaping, and tree and grounds management. This B2B revenue stream has been hugely successful, with the cost savings and profits returning £4.7m to the council. Time for growth Based on this performance, ODS now plans to grow its commercial services arm, with all profits going to protect and invest in Oxford City Council services, as well as growing the company, creating jobs, and keeping money in the local economy. To do this, ODS will create two arms-length Local Authority Trading Companies – in effect, social

enterprises owned by the people of Oxford. Around 700 council staff will transfer to these organisations. This splits ODS’s public sector responsibilities from its commercial aspects, to meet rules about the amount of income that can be generated from private work. Profits made can be put back into funding for council projects. “The City Council’s Direct Services team has long served the people of Oxford by providing high quality, reliable services,” says Gordon Mitchell, chief executive of Oxford City Council. “Not only that, it has been successful in the commercial world, and in doing so has brought income to the council. “Now, as a social enterprise owned entirely by the city council, ODS is set to expand its operations, benefiting all of its customers – including residents of Oxford. ODS is the ‘people’s company’, with 100% of its returns coming back to the city of Oxford, benefiting the community as a whole rather than private shareholders. That money will help offset the impact of the removal of government grant funding we receive, allowing us to maintain and improve council services.” Simon Howick, ODS’s managing director at Oxford Direct Services, says: “ODS keeps the city running

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FEATURE

day and night. We empty your bins, clean the streets, maintain the parks, and maintain your property if you live in one of Oxford’s 7,800 council houses. “The city council remains by far our largest customer, and my number one focus will remain on continuing to improve the services we provide residents and businesses across the city. But we can also continue to expand our commercial contracts with businesses and other organisations to generate additional income for the council, while continuing to innovate and becoming more efficient. “This includes offering services such as building services, highways and engineering, commercial waste, Large Goods Vehicle and MOT testing, vehicle repairs, landscaping, grounds maintenance and pest control. Most ODS staff live in Oxford, so growing our business will also translate into increasing employment opportunities for local people.” Generating funds Council departments can legally only make a certain amount of income from private work, and the scheme’s success has taken it close to those limits. By establishing it as a social enterprise, it can continue to extend its commercial operations, generating additional income for the council to use for the benefit of the city and creating more jobs for local people. The plan is that ODS will deliver £10.4m in value back to the council over the next four years, which can be put towards council services such as additional commercial landscaping projects. The commitment is the next step in ODS’s plan to grow its commercial services business, alongside improving the efficiency of services provided for the council. To deliver on its goals, ODS will continue to expand its contracts with commercial business and organisations, offering services such as building services, highways and engineering, landscaping, and grounds maintenance. Two wholly-owned Local Authority Trading Companies have been set up: Oxford Direct Services Limited, to primarily serve Oxford City Council, and Oxford Direct Services Trading Limited, for commercial work. More than 700 frontline council services staff have transferred to the new organisations. The council remains the shareholding owner of the organisations and, in practice, the services will continue to operate seamlessly as ODS, delivering services both externally and for the council. The next stage “Everyone in the team is very proud of the improvement in council services and efficiencies we

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3 have delivered as Oxford Direct Services and the financial contribution we have made to date through our commercial services,” says Simon Howick. “For those residents and organisations where we deliver council services, very little will change. The city council remains our single largest customer and we will continue to strive to improve our services and efficiencies. However, under the new structure, we will also be able to maximise the commercial opportunity by offering our expertise to a wider range of organisations – delivering even more revenue back to the council to spend on community services.” Tim Sadler, chairman of Oxford Direct Services, adds: “The new structure will allow ODS to thrive for the good of the community. It will allow the organisation to continue to grow its financial contributions to the council, continue to keep the costs of council service delivery down, and provide additional, good quality job opportunities and apprenticeships over the coming years.”

“BY ESTABLISHING IT AS A SOCIAL ENTERPRISE, IT CAN CONTINUE TO EXTEND ITS COMMERCIAL OPERATIONS, GENERATING ADDITIONAL INCOME FOR THE COUNCIL”

1 O  DS is expected to generate £10.4m pounds for the council over the next four years 2 O  xfordshire 3 T  he Radcliffe Camera, a neo-classical style building at Oxford University 4 T  he service will generate income that can be used on projects in Oxford town centre

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03/04/2018 09:17


FEATURE

OMAN BOTANIC GARDEN

Soils for success

The groundbreaking Oman Botanic Garden sees Tim O’Hare Associates develop an ambitious soil strategy, creating unique soils for eight different habitats

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n the foothills of the northern Al Hajar Mountains, 35km west of Oman’s capital, Muscat, an area of more 420ha is about to be transformed into a botanical oasis that will host the largest collection of Arabian plants in the world. Construction of the Oman Botanic Garden, a visionary project that was initiated in 2006, begins this summer. The garden will contain eight diverse habitats to display the varied, dramatic habitats and landscapes found in Oman. Each habitat will host plant species that reflect Oman’s rich botanical heritage. Two of the more sensitive habitats will be enclosed within biomes, which are to be among the largest in the world. The Northern Biome will recreate the varied habitats of the Northern Mountains, from agricultural terraces with fruit trees and roses to rocky landscapes with high altitude species; the Southern Biome, meanwhile, will enclose the rich and varied cloud forests found in the Dhofar region. Visitors will find a cliff

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face and waterfall, descending into lush forest. Unique desert habitats, a lush wadi landscape and salt flats will surround the biomes. The range of soils that is to be managed and manufactured on site will be fundamental to the project’s success. Arup, the lead design and project consultant, brought in soil and landscape consultant Tim O’Hare Associates (TOHA) to undertake a sitewide soil survey at the concept design stage. This was carried out by TOHA principal consultant Tim O’Hare and senior associate Dr Laura Hathaway-Jenkins, and while some of the in-situ soils were encouragingly good, others were found to be extremely hostile. In order to design soils that would replicate those found in the Omani habitats, the TOHA team visited numerous regions of Oman in order to understand the specific agronomic properties of the soils and their management requirements (drainage, amelioration, irrigation, etc.). Research was also carried out into various mineral and organic ameliorants that could be sourced locally. Using the data and information gathered from the survey and visits, TOHA developed the soil strategy for the entire landscape scheme. This detailed everything from protecting delicate site soils and landforms during construction to importing and manufacturing new soils. Detailed specifications were then prepared, including the materials and quantities to be used for each blend, the method of onsite blending, storage methods, application, and management during and after construction. The onsite manufacture of the different topsoil mixes will be a complex operation, and will be overseen throughout the construction phase by TOHA. “To my knowledge, this scale of project – where unique soils for eight different habitats have to be created on site – has never been attempted before,” says Tim O’Hare. “The biomes are a really specialist environment, requiring lightweight soils that can support the range of species found in two very different climatic zones. The Oman Botanic Garden is a dream project for a soil scientist as it gives us the opportunity to showcase what soil engineering can achieve.”

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Tim O’Hare Associates LLP Tim O’Hare Associates LLP is a leading independent soil science and landscape engineering consultancy. Its services support all elements of land development, management and regeneration, from the initial planning stages, outline and detailed design, through to construction and aftercare. W: www.timohare-associates.com

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1  The Southern Biome 2  The Visitor Centre 3  Northern gravel desert 4  Olive trees, Al Hajar Mountains 5  Agricultural terraces 6  Trees in the nursery 7  Juniper trees, Al Hajar Mountains 8  The project site 9  Harsh desert soils 10 Salt accumulations

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supplied 80,000m² of wildflower turf to the 2012 olympic games and 2013–14 transformation works

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Wildflower Turf Ltd have a specialist SUDs turf product that creates a UK native, biodiverse, aesthetically pleasing space that can cope with periodic flooding. If you would like Wildflower Turf SUDs specification details or want to know more about introducing wild flowers into your designs then Wildflower Turf Ltd offer a free CPD training service covering all aspects of specifying, installing and maintaining exemplary wild flower environments. Contact us on 01256 771222 or helen@wildflowerturf.co.uk to learn more. Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park SUDs installation, London

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FEATURE

Biodiversity IN KINGS CROSS

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Des Smith, head gardener at Kings Cross for Willerby Landscapes, takes a look at how the planting on the rooftop gardens has attracted new wildlife

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ithin its planning for Kings Cross, Argent LLP wanted to promote and develop a diverse planting palette across the estate; consequently, it enlisted horticulturalled designers from Dan Pearson Studio, Applied Landscape Design, Tom Stuart-Smith and Laurie Olin, along with Townshend Landscape Architects, as design guardians. The vision was to use a diverse species range to create a bold planting scheme that enhanced the public realm’s green spaces. There are now approximately 350 different species of perennial plants and shrubs on site, and 25 different species of trees. This huge range, in a relatively small area, means that there can be plants in flower from February through to December. The naturalistic planting is set within a formal landscape design, using pathways and courtyards to lead seamlessly from one garden to another. The scheme takes a layered approach to planting – low-growing groundcover plants are overplanted with mid-height perennials and shrubs, while drifts of taller plants, such as grasses and small trees, add impact.

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FEATURE

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“THE GARDENS HAVE PROVED A GREAT SUCCESS – NOT ONLY IN TERMS OF THE AMOUNT OF POSITIVE FEEDBACK RECEIVED FROM VISITORS, BUT ALSO IN THE IMPROVED WILDLIFE NUMBERS IN THE AREA”

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A major influence on the decision to base the landscape design around swathes of artistic meadow-style planting was the requirement that the scheme had a different dimension to it than regular public parks – too often in the past, parks have predominantly consisted of acreages of cut grass, and tired shrubs and trees. The planting design was achieved by taking a snapshot of the area prior to the regeneration works and mimicking the ‘wasteland’ feel of the railway sidings that were situated there in the estate’s industrial past. The gardens have proved a great success – not only in terms of the amount of positive feedback received from visitors, but also in the improved numbers of wildlife in the area, enjoying the diversity of the planting. Although the planting is not indigenous to the area and was primarily chosen to give a good mix of flower colour and form, insects and other wildlife have not hesitated in occupying the area since construction. It took a season or two for the plants to become established enough to attract invertebrates and birdlife, as it is not only food plants that are important for drawing in wildlife – the cover provided by taller plants is also essential. This cover takes time and correct horticultural practice to achieve.

The first garden, in Handyside Park, was completed in 2013, and has now become a feeding station for finches and sparrows; with its plentiful nectar-rich flowers, it is also home to carder bee nests, and in 2017, mice overwintered in the gardens, feeding on the grass seeds. This is encouraging, demonstrating that the food chain in the area is expanding. To introduce immediate biodiversity is almost impossible, but the planting at King’s Cross – both at ground level and on the roofs – has proven that, given the correct mix of food plants, habitat and shelter, wildlife will find and use it. Biodiversity has also been given a helping hand with the installation of bird boxes and bee hotels. The influence of the Camley Street Natural Park on the estate’s wildlife numbers also cannot be overlooked. This is an established haven in the industrial landscape, and connects with the green spaces around St Pancras Church and through Camden to Regents Park. The nesting birds through this corridor are now finding and using the new gardens at Kings Cross as a source of food, gathering caterpillars, larvae and seeds during nesting time. With the gardens at Gasholder Park and Bagley Walk now complete, the green corridor is now joined all the

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FEATURE

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6 way through to York Way, where there are remnants of old parkland trees and green spaces. The greening of King’s Cross is not limited to the ground: more than 15 green roofs have been sown and planted over the last eight or nine years, mostly at eight or more floors up. These are a valuable asset in the food library for wildlife: on the roof of 2 Pancras Square, a mallard duck nested in among the lavender plants and raised her ducklings there before leaping to the ground with them – much to the consternation of passing members of the public! Pied wagtails, robins, crows and a blackbird also all use this garden as a food site, feasting on thousands of invertebrates over the course of the season. Blackbirds treat the podium garden on the Tapestry Building as their own personal takeaway, shouting loudly at any interference from humans. Despite this, these roofs are generally quieter – they are privately managed and more sheltered than the gardens on the ground, so the birds can get on with life with minimal disturbance. As more areas on the estate are completed, the diversity of the planting is enhanced, with each designer bringing their own ethos to the gardens. New varieties of flowers and shrubs prolong the

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7 seasons; new species of trees provide shelter for wildlife; new areas of turf give places to rest and play for the gulls, pigeons and crows. This biodiversity has enabled the garden management team to forego the use of pesticides – the natural predators on site deal with any aphid and caterpillar attacks. Leaving plant material to stand overwinter also provides a hibernation habitat for predatory insects; when the spring cutback takes place, the overwintering insects have moved into the hedges and evergreen shrubs, ready for the summer bounty. As the public realm grows, the number of people using the estate increases, putting extra demands on the landscaping. The design of the spaces, however, aids the thoroughfare of people by taking out ‘pinch points’ and providing smooth passage between areas. Many visitors come specifically to engage with the landscape, taking pictures of the planting and enjoying the green spaces and the wildlife – either around the canal and its environs, or while sitting in the various gardens. It is pleasing to see these spaces providing the benefits they were designed for – little escapes from the stresses of modern city life.

“THE NESTING BIRDS THROUGH THIS CORRIDOR ARE NOW FINDING AND USING THE NEW GARDENS AT KINGS CROSS AS A FOOD SOURCE, GATHERING CATERPILLARS, LARVAE AND SEEDS DURING NESTING TIME”

1 4 Pancras Building Roof Garden pond 2 Triplets Roof Gardens 3 Handyside Park canal side and brown roof with meadow seed mix 4 Wildfowl on Regents Canal 5 Pancras Square Pond 6 St Pancras Lock next to the Gasholder Triplets 7 Wildfowl nesting in front of Handyside Park

Willerby Landscapes Willerby Landscapes is a leading commercial landscaping company based at Four Elms, near Edenbridge in Kent. It specialises in all disciplines associated with the installation and ongoing maintenance of hard and soft landscape schemes, water features and specialist planters. W: www.willerby-landscapes.co.uk

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29/03/2018 13:37


Could trees

COMBAT FLOODING? Manchester-based environmental charity City of Trees is calling for trees to be used in the fight against urban flash flooding

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lash flooding is becoming an increasing problem, particularly in urban areas. As the UK’s population continues to grow, more green space is being built on – reducing the amount of space available for water to drain naturally into the ground. This means that more and more rainwater enters our sewers, which were not designed to cope with the rising number of storms and increased rainfall that the UK is now seeing. As a consequence, the severity of flooding in our towns and cities is on the up. A report from the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology recently claimed that properties, businesses, and related infrastructure in urban areas – where more than 80% of the UK’s population lives – are at the biggest risk of flooding.

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In previous issues, FutureArch has explored the many benefits that trees can bring to a design – biodiversity, cleaner air, improving mental health. Now, leading environmental charity City of Trees is calling for trees to be used to help combat flash flooding in cities and towns, as well as clean polluted water. The charity and its partners highlighted the role that trees can play as part of the United Nationsorganised World Water Day on 22 March, which aimed to show nature-based solutions to the water challenges we face in the 21st century. Research undertaken by Dr James Rothwell from The University of Manchester has demonstrated that trees can have a significant positive impact on managing water in towns and cities. James has

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03/04/2018 08:52


FEATURE

STRATEGIES TO PREVENT FLOODING Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology design strategies to prevent flooding • Catchment-Based Approaches – woodland planting, creation of ditches •R  educing urban runoff – green infrastructure such as parks •R  etrofitting existing urban areas – the retrofitting of SuDs strategically in response to high-risk flood areas •D  esigning for exceedance – Drainage systems can withstand extreme weather conditions, but don’t assume they won’t exceed and spill over. Designs should consider the possibility of exceeding water and where that will go.

Water testing equipment ©City of Trees

been working on monitoring the ‘Howard Street Project’ for the past two years. The project involved three London plane trees being planted in a specially designed pavement on Howard Street in Salford, and was the first ever project of its type in the UK. Results show that the trees, and the soil they were planted in, reduced the amount of water running off Howard Street and draining into a nearby sewer by approximately 75%. In addition, any excess water that did drain into the sewer was delayed by up to three hours, significantly reducing the amount of

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pressure on the drainage system and thus helping to prevent sewers from overflowing into rivers and streams, or drains backing up and causing flooding. Following the success of Howard Street, a new SuDS (Sustainable Urban Drainage System) street tree project has recently been delivered on Prestwich High Street in Bury, Greater Manchester. Many of the trees have been planted in specially adapted tree pits to be able to receive rainwater running off the road, the pavement and some of the surrounding

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“AS THE UK’S POPULATION CONTINUES TO GROW, MORE GREEN SPACE IS BEING BUILT ON – REDUCING THE AMOUNT OF SPACE AVAILABLE FOR WATER TO DRAIN NATURALLY INTO THE GROUND” FutureArch April 2018

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CASE STUDY – HOWARD STREET Monitoring results (November 2015 to February 2018) from The University of Manchester • The tree system has been monitored for the last two years, capturing more than 100 runoff events from the road surface. •T  he trees and the soil pit are retaining and utilising the majority of the runoff, with an average volume reduction of 78%. •W  here excess road runoff passes through the tree system, delays of up to three hours are achieved. •T  he average peak flow reduction over the two-year period is 81%. The Howard Street Project was a partnership between City of Trees, The University of Manchester, United Utilities, The Environment Agency, Urban Vision and Salford City Council.

buildings. The rainwater is used by the trees to help them grow, while excess water drains through and is eventually returned to the sewer system. The planting formed part of the £2m Bury New Road regeneration scheme, which included roadway and pavement improvements – and shows how green infrastructure can sit alongside city design. The University of Manchester is also involved in monitoring the ability of trees to manage and clean water on Prestwich High Street. “More than 5m homes and businesses in England are at risk of flooding,” said Katherine Causer of the Environment Agency. “To protect properties, we use a mixture of hard and soft engineering and natural flood management techniques which can be a more cost-effective and sustainable way to manage flood risk, while creating habitat for wildlife and helping regenerate rural and urban areas.” “These ground-breaking projects will help to demonstrate how green spaces in our towns and cities, when well designed, can have positive benefits to people beyond just looking nice. The

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“RAINWATER IS USED BY THE TREES TO HELP THEM GROW, WHILE EXCESS WATER DRAINS THROUGH AND IS EVENTUALLY RETURNED TO THE SEWER SYSTEM” trees will show how we can slow the flow of water running off our roads, pavements and building and help to reduce the risk of localised flooding in addition to removing pollutants which could otherwise end up in our streams and rivers.” “Street trees are just one of the measures that we deliver to help make us more resilient to climate change,” says City of Trees’ Pete Stringer. “Research has also shown that planting trees in appropriate places in our upland areas can help reduce the amount of water entering our rivers before they get to our towns and cities. “We believe trees and other natural approaches can provide sustainable solutions to our modernday environmental problems, and urge for these approaches to be adopted not only nationwide, but worldwide”.

City of Trees City of Trees has been working to improve the look and feel of Greater Manchester for more than 25 years, and has planted 5,000 street trees, including on residential streets and in city centre locations. W: www.cityoftrees.org.uk

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03/04/2018 08:55


London - Natural History Museum Contractors: Blakedown Landscapes Products: Porphyry Setts, Yorkstone Paving, Green Schist Paving

01708 867 237 enquiries @cedstone.co.uk www.cedstone.co.uk

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03/04/2018 10:24:52 03/04/2018 10:48


FEATURE

Paddington Central PHASE TWO

we speak to niall o’brien of external works and hard landscaping specialist Maylim, to find out about its work on Paddington Central

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ithin walking distance from one of Britain’s busiest train lines, Paddington Central has become one of London’s leading business, residential, and leisure locations. Maylim was appointed by commercial property development company British Land as principle contractor for phases one and two of the project. Prior to the works commencing, the existing public realm at Paddington Central was a corporate space dominated by road traffic. A key element of the design brief set out by British Land was to improve pedestrian access and usage, calm traffic, reduce vehicle priority and improve road safety. Overall, the masterplan was to create a greener, more pedestrian-friendly environment, resulting in aesthetically pleasing and functional spaces for people to engage with and enjoy.

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“PADDINGTON CENTRAL IS RECOGNISED FOR ITS INNOVATIVE INTEGRATION OF BOTH HARD AND SOFT LANDSCAPING”

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FEATURE

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Kingdom Square Kingdom Street thoroughfare Aerial view of Kingdom Street and Woodland Garden Woodland Garden walkway Kingdom Square gardens

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Hard and soft landscaping Paddington Central is recognised for its innovative integration of both hard and soft landscaping. When asked about mixing the two, Maylim’s contract manager for the project, Niall O’Brien, tells us that, as the scheme was built on a podium slab, achieving sufficient planting depth was a major challenge. This challenge, however, was quickly overcome by the design team: with a clever redesign of the hard landscaping levels, the adjacent soft landscaping beds were mounded to allow the scheme to incorporate large and mature trees. “The vision for the scheme was to bring a woodland feel to the urban area,” says Niall. “Maylim worked alongside Townshend Landscape Architects to select a range of planting that would thrive in these difficult conditions. We travelled to the Lorenz von Ehren nursery in Germany and we were ambitious with our selection. We chose sizeable trees that pushed the limits of the site growing conditions and suited the scheme well.” It wasn’t just the planting depth and conditions that had to be taken into consideration when selecting the trees – Maylim also had to consider the allowable weight that could be imposed on the podium, working with the project’s structural engineers to ensure that the podium slab was not overloaded. A bespoke concrete amphitheatre bench proved too heavy, so was replaced by a hollow stainless steel shell, clad in timber. It is evident that the design teams worked hard to decide on the right materials for the project; we ask Niall about the hard landscaping, and how Maylim made a decision on the stone that was used across the scheme. “A specific colour palette was chosen by the architects, which we then had to match,” says Niall. “We used two different types of stone: British Yorkstone across all of the footways and Chinese granite setts for the vehicle road.”

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Community outreach Maylim is known for its work within the local communities that surround its projects. Niall tells us that it is important to engage and involve the community, as projects can often occupy a location for long periods of time. Maylim focuses on keeping disruption to a minimum, and always works to give something back to the community. “While working on the Paddington Central project, British Land introduced us to Pursing Independent Paths (PIP), a local charity for adults with learning disabilities,” Niall explains. “We made contact with PIP to find out how we could use our skills and expertise to benefit the charity. We built a community garden within our site compound, and each week a class would visit the garden to learn about growing fruit and vegetables. “Soft landscaping specialist Willerby Landscapes provided the plants, and its in-house expert came down and helped plant them. It was a really great experience for everyone involved, and we are delighted that, although the project is now complete, the PIP students have continued to maintain their ‘Fruitful’ garden. They use their own home-grown produce to make smoothies and juices, which they sell on street food stalls across London.” Maylim also reached out to the Paddington Partnership, which suggested they got in touch with a local primary school. The school, Essendine Primary, had a disused yard that it wanted to utilise for as a new external educational space. “We drew some ideas and sketches for it and worked with the school’s staff to decide what would be beneficial for the children,” Niall tells us. “We decided upon a sensory garden, and over consecutive weekends we built raised planters, walkways, benches and a wild flower meadow – it was a complete transformation.” With the final phase of Paddington Central completed in February 2017, Maylim has left behind more than just a spectacular project: it helped to create unforgettable experiences, teaching members of the local community new skills and providing resources that will be used for many years to come.

6 6  Kingdom Street, solid oak benches 7  The Kitchen Garden, curved timber-clad bench 8  Kingdom Street

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MAYLIM

Maylim specialises in external works and hard landscaping, as well as highway and civil engineering projects; it has worked on prestigious projects including the redevelopment of Battersea Power Station and the regeneration of Greenwich Market. Working across public and private sectors, it takes an integrated approach to deliver anything from small scale developments to multi-million pound projects. W: www.maylim.co.uk

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03/04/2018 09:45


FEATURE

WHY ARE PARKS AND PLAY

so important?

With statistics showing that parks are on the decline, FutureArch investigates why it so important to stop this trend and create more spaces where children can play

“NATURAL MATERIALS THAT ARE ALIVE, EVER-CHANGING AND RENEWING THEMSELVES HAVE VERY HIGH PLAY VALUE”

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hris Leslie, MP for Nottingham East, recently called for research into the state of UK play provision in a Westminster debate. Chairman of the Association of Play Industries (API), Mark Hardy, had this to say: “API research uncovered a steep decline in playgrounds across England. Our report – Nowhere To Play – found that 448 playgrounds are closed or closing. With no dedicated funding for playgrounds from central government or third-sector grants, play provision falls to local authorities, whose budgets are squeezed. “We’re delighted that Mr Leslie has called upon the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government to commission a thorough report into the state of play facilities and open spaces throughout the UK.” Why is this a problem? Playgarden is a specialist play design company that offers a consultation-led approach; it has more than 15 years’ experience working with nurseries, children’s centres, primary schools, academies, secondary schools and special education needs schools, offering the bespoke design and build of playgrounds. Working

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1 nationally, Playgarden provides specialist support for developing school and nursery playgrounds. “We place children and young people at the very heart of our design and build service, and combine this with an in-depth understanding of play and how children play,” says Playgarden’s head of education, Ros Harker. “All children, regardless of age, should build a lifelong bond with nature that will help them develop the necessary skills, knowledge and understanding they need to cope with life’s challenges. To this

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FEATURE

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4 end, we employ landscape architects to do all of our playground designs, and embrace the opportunities that the outdoor play environment offers children and young people. “We believe that engagement with all levels within the setting is imperative. For example, as part of the process of designing for a school, the landscape architect will meet with a school’s senior leadership team, teaching staff, governors and pupils.” As well as being a great way to teach children about nature and get them outside, quality play space is also a great way of encouraging young people to stay healthy and get the exercise they need. “With rising levels of childhood obesity and a deepening crisis in children’s mental health, research is urgently needed into the correlation between these issues and the deprivation experienced in some areas where free play opportunities are lacking,” says Chris Leslie MP. “It’s now time to drive forward a renaissance in children’s play across the country so that the physical and mental health benefits of outdoor play are opened up to children from all backgrounds. “I will be asking the government for a clear show of support for play and the benefits it brings to children, families and communities. A relatively modest investment in playground provision now will help reverse the downward trend. “The worsening childhood obesity crisis means that the provision of spaces for children to play and get active has to take priority. Children with a playground within 1km of their home are five times more likely to be of a healthy weight. For many children living in deprived areas – who are more than twice as likely

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to be obese than those in more affluent areas – playgrounds are their only chance to play outdoors. “We would expect to find a higher incidence of childhood obesity in deprived areas where free play opportunities are limited. Research into the prevalence of obesity and other health issues in certain geographic areas could examine these correlations and ultimately guide decision-making. “Play is fundamental to children’s wellbeing. If play is restricted, there are likely to be profound effects upon their physical and mental health, both now and in the future. Although not a silver bullet, a well-maintained community play area fosters social cohesion, inspires children to get active and can transform a community.” The solution Ros believes that the answer to creating more play spaces is to utilise natural play options. “Outdoor play is one of the richest and easiest ways to access play. It is also critically important to the social development of all children. Outside, in nature’s own playgarden, there are many opportunities to play in a way which may not include large pieces of play equipment. These environments can sometimes be the most creative and cost-effective learning and play environments. “Natural play environments support the whole school curriculum, encouraging imagination, exploration and diversity, offering playful engagement with nature. Natural materials that are alive, everchanging and renewing themselves have very high play value, adding to the complexity and richness of a play environment.”

“FOR MANY CHILDREN LIVING IN DEPRIVED AREAS, PLAYGROUNDS ARE THEIR ONLY CHANCE TO PLAY OUTDOORS” 1 Flying Start, Eirias Park, Colwyn Bay 2 The beach, Irthlingborough Nursery and Infant School, Northampton 3 Flying Start, Eirias Park, Colwyn Bay 4 Flying Start, Eirias Park, Colwyn Bay 5 Messy mud, Irthlingborough Nursery and Infant School, Northampton Photographs ©Playgarden

THE FACTS A Freedom of Information Act request to all councils, carried out by the API, revealed the following number of playground closures: • 2014/15: 112 • 2015/16: 102 • 2016/17: 80 The request also asked for future plans to close playgrounds and revealed the following number of playgrounds earmarked for closure: • 2017/18: 103 • 2018/19: 51

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03/04/2018 09:01


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03/04/2018 13:39


FEATURE

STREET FURNITURE

Sociable spaces cities are increasingly using ‘hostile architecture’ to discourage people from lingering in public spaces – but is there a better approach to tackling antisocial behaviour?

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hen you take a break from your work to get a bite to eat, or need to take a break after a busy morning in town, or simply want to sit down and people watch, you seek out a nearby bench. When there are none, it can be frustrating – why would there not be somewhere to sit? The answer lies with town and cities’ concerns about antisocial behaviour. Some cities are utilising so-called ‘hostile architecture’ to try and stamp out common problems such as graffiti, drug use, and general misbehaviour. A major technique in hostile architecture involves removing places where people can gather, such as benches, to encourage people not to hang around in areas where they could cause problems such as those listed above.

Podium Isles (2D & 3D) in Halmstad, Sweden

Is this really the best option, though? Paulina Blasiak, head of landscape at Urban Edge Architecture, doesn’t think so. “Design can be so heavily driven by people misbehaving,” she tells us. “I believe that, rather than stopping everyone enjoying the open spaces, councils and government need to look at helping the people and actually preventing that bad behaviour. “If you take out street furniture from our designs, or anything that could be thrown or pulled out or damaged, you are stopping the general public from enjoying the open space, just because some hooligans decided to ruin it. “The problem is being looked at from the wrong perspective. It is too simple to say that the problem will go away if we take away these spaces. I believe the opposite is true – if you invest in spaces then people have something to be proud of, it creates a natural surveillance, and the space is well looked after.” As an example of this, Paulina highlights the work at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London. Before the project, the land was underused and perceived as unsafe. It was not an area that was well looked after by the local community. The difference now is huge: “Suddenly people started to look after their space, because the community feels responsible for it – they have been invested in.”

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Street bench in Stamford

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Turn over to see case studies from street furniture manufacturer Streetlife

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FEATURE

CASE STUDIES

HUG-A-TUBS

DELFT, NETHERLANDS

AMSTELVEEN, NETHERLANDS

© Kaj Van Geel

OVAL TREE ISLES

To demonstrate the positive impact that street furniture can have, we asked Dutch street furniture manufacturer Streetlife to provide some examples of where its products have encouraged social behaviour

• People have a better experience of the place; there’s more quality • Less youths ‘hang around’, meaning there is less antisocial behaviour • There’s more social interaction.

PODIUM ISLES (2D & 3D)

HALMSTAD, SWEDEN

Two and three-dimensional ‘surf’ isles were integrated into the plan by the architect. A formerly desolate parking area has been turned into a lively, well-maintained square where people can meet and relax. This project transformed the area from an unused space to a social meeting point, and the square has won architectural prices in Sweden.

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These are movable planters with hanging benches attached. A large square in the city centre of Amstelveen was to be filled with more green places to relax, but it had to be possible to clear the space quickly on market days, too. The Streetlife Hug-a-Tubs implemented here have been the ideal solution.

GIANT FLOWERPOTS

GHENT, BELGIUM

Ghent has plans to renovate seven streets and locations in the city centre to bring back quality to the areas. These plans will take time to establish; in the meantime, temporary arrangements have been made in all seven locations, with diverse elements including Streetlife’s Giant Flower Pot. When refurbishment is taking place, the Flowerpots can ne moved to a new location.

All photographs ©Streetlife

These green isles are placed on a busy shopping square above a car park. Researchers measured the flow of users and have come to the conclusion that:

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PORTFOLIO

Client Peel Holdings Ltd Masterplanners Parkinson Inc. Architects Glenn Howells Architects Main contractor Morgan Sindall Size of project 5,000m² Project value £600,000 Build time Three to four months

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WIRRAL WATERS

WIRRAL MET CAMPUS

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PORTFOLIO

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lanning permission for Wirral Waters was secured in May 2012 – the largest planning approval in the UK. Wirral Waters is a landscape-driven masterplan and design strategy, with the brief specifying a ‘lush city waterfront with room to breathe’. The aim of Wirral Waters is to bring about the regeneration of Inner Wirral – a place with residual employment and health challenges, together with longstanding, embedded perceptions of being a poor quality investment location. A creative and fluid three-way process has been created between landscape architect, masterplanner and client to ensure there is a free and flexible relationship between masterplan and site design as each phase develops. Wirral Metropolitan College was one of the first projects within the ambitious development to be completed, and set the standard for future phases. Set within a historic dockland, the new college

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building and surrounding landscape needed to stand up to some extreme weather conditions while also bridging the transitions between the historic landscape and its ongoing future use. Design Working closely with Parkinson Inc. and Peel Holdings Ltd, the design for the site was distilled from the aspirations for the entire Wirral Waters vision. Bold colours and forms, robust materials, close attention to detail and new blocks of trees transform a derelict dock edge into an iconic and memorable landscape in scale with the post-industrial waterside neighbourhood. The Built Environment, Skills and Enterprise Centre at Wirral Metropolitan College, Birkenhead delivers a leading facility for the acquisition of technical skills, providing a local skill base to deliver elements of the wider Wirral Waters masterplan over the next 30 years.

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PORTFOLIO

7 Students were involved in the planning of the building and the landscape, and their involvement continued throughout the construction process, with regular site visits. Wirral Met College’s horticulture students were able to gain practical experience and skills, supporting BCA Landscape, Parkinson Inc. and the Mersey Forest team with the final tree planting to help complete the finishing touches. The benefits to the students will continue, as horticulture students will learn about the critical maintenance of the trees and shrubs around the campus throughout the year. Having challenged the desire to install balustrades along the entire edge of the dock, the relationship between the dock side and the water is maintained in the same way it always has been. The car park has been designed with a single, simple fall, as well as quality paving and no obstructions, so it can easily be converted into an events space for special occasions. This environmentally sensitive project has achieved a BREEAM ‘Excellent’ rating, with the landscaping including a series of biological credits – including energy efficient lighting, sheltered cycle parking, recycled hard landscaping materials and responsible sourcing. Together, these enhance the site’s ecology and attenuate water runoff. Outcome The project demonstrates how landscape architecture can be at the heart of meaningful regeneration, and creating wider social and economic confidence in a post-industrial setting. It also shows how a seamless

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connectivity between the public and private realm can provide a benchmark for a long-term vision that has placemaking and local people at its core. The Wirral Waters Campus has set high expectations for the ongoing neighbouring developments, which will, in turn, be measured against this project. The scheme has received a National RIBA award, with the positive and creative role of the landscape vision and implementation receiving specific commendation. RIBA judges commented: “One of the most successful aspects of the building is the way it works within an excellent landscape scheme. The setting of the dockside has been fully exploited, yet this is not a normal UK design response. The absence of barriers to water was noticeable and, combined with the lack of perimeter fencing, the landscape is allowed to act as an outside space that people want to be in – not an enclosed car park. It was this final aspect that persuaded the judges that this could indeed be worthy of an award – the building and its landscape can act as a blueprint for an excellent minimum standard for future phases.” “The students love it, the staff love it and the client loves it,” said Richard Mawdsley, director of development for Wirral Waters. “The design has had a big and positive influence on student behaviour, with improved positive feel and feedback for this part of Wirral Met’s Campus. There has been no graffiti and no antisocial behaviour, and students and staff have become better connected to nature.”

8 1 View out to the Great Float Dock 2 Aerial view showing the dockside seating 3 Entrance planting and seating by the public road 4 Pollarded willows in the café break-out area 5 College entrance with new cycle route and footway 6 Ornamental grass shadows softening the 2x2m concrete panels 7 Framed view out over the future Wirral Waters development 8  Alder trees and grasses separate the car park and dockside All photographs ©Karl Glenn @ BCA Landscape

BCA Landscape BCA Landscape is a creative landscape design studio with an award-winning portfolio of projects that demonstrates its creative vision and experience in green infrastructure and public realm design and delivery. W: www.bcalandscape.co.uk

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03/04/2018 13:50


PORTFOLIO

ARNHEM CENTRAL STATION

ARNHEM, THE NETHERLANDS Bureau B+B Urbanism and Landscape Architecture

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PORTFOLIO

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rnhem Central Station is located next to the city centre. The area was previously isolated by a main road which surrounds the city centre and prevented interaction on the human scale; people often had to ask for the way in the chaotic setting between city and central station. The nondescript building, built in 1954, was hidden behind the bus terminal and a car park, and the structure of the area purely reflected the functional character of the train station, ignoring its potential to be an energetic and social city hub. Brief In the Nineties, the municipality of Arnhem and the Dutch Railway Company decided to build a new station to improve the surrounding public space. UNStudio designed an iconic building that was shaped to accommodate the flow of passengers, and Bureau B+B integrated the hub into its urban context. The brief for the landscaping was to

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transform the area into a lively public space, facilitating the movement of the 65,000 passengers who use it every day and guiding travellers intuitively in order to make using public transport as easy and stress-free as possible. The central station had the potential to be a multifunctional public place, rather than simply a transportation hub, with facilities and meeting places to serve as spaces of encounter for users and passengers. It also had to be carefully unified with the urban environment – knitted into the fabric of the city. Design The station area lies on the slopes of the Veluwe hills, dipping into the lower landscape that flanks the River Nederrijn. This results in a 20m height difference that has to be bridged in public space. The space has thus been designed as a continuous flowing landscape, with all the different height levels and streams of transportation seamlessly connected. Natural stone pavement is laid in various directions, following the

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Client Municipality of Arnhem Light planning Atelier LEK Build time 2006-2016 Size of project 45,000m2 Project value €5.9m

1 Transition landscape for encounter and interaction ©Frank Hanswijk 2 New design suggests the feeling of standing within a flowing topography ©Frank Hanswijk 3  Public space guides people intuitively through the area ©Ben ter Mull 4 One continuous flowing landscape, carefully integrated in its urban context ©Frank Hanswijk

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PORTFOLIO

undulating ground surface. Stainless steel figures subtly mark the height differences and thereby emphasise the area’s relation to the surrounding landscape; greater height differences are bridged by stone ‘folds’ in the plane. Fitted with wooden seating, these folds transform into benches that emerge from the surface like waves or sand dunes; following the flow of the surface, the furniture leads people through the open space, while their concave shape invites people to take a moment of rest. The landscape transition is also expressed in the planting. Along the lower eastern side, shade-tolerant plants lend a sturdily luxuriant quality, while colourful plants that prefer dry conditions define the appearance of higher and sunnier areas. The legibility of the landscape is enhanced by linear illumination integrated into the handrails of steps, and small lampposts close to areas of greenery and seating create attractive settings. In contrast to this sensitive lighting, the main transition spots are brightly lit to enhance orientation and increase safety. Outcome Due to the recent economic crisis, the construction of the station and surrounding was seriously delayed. Nevertheless, the area finally came together and is now an Arnhem icon, integrated with the city and surroundings through its functional but sensitive design. During the day and the evening, inhabitants, tourists and waiting passengers use the now multifunctional public space, and its flowing topography and surface has led it to become one of Europe’s skater hotspots. Fortunately, thanks to the sturdy detailing of the ground plane and the durable street furniture, these users are easily accommodated. The central station area transforms the act of waiting for a train or bus into a moment of urban encounter, allowing rest as well as exchange, and enhancing personal health and public life. 5 Creating intuitive orientation with spaces of flow and spaces of rest ©Frank Hanswijk 6 S  turdy detailing translates overall concept into the small scale ©Frank Hanswijk 7 S  cattered on the floor are steel numbers, marking the topography’s height difference ©Ben ter Mull 8 P  ublic space is used in a high frequency during every day time ©Ben ter Mull

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Bureau B+B Urbanism and Landscape Architecture Bureau B+B Urbanism and Landscape Architecture is an Amsterdam-based practice that aims to create clear, functional and poetic landscapes that find answers through inquisitive design. W: Bplusb.nl/en

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29/03/2018 13:46


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22/03/2018 13:34


MONTHLY ROUNDUP

MONTHLY roundup

Upcoming events, exciting projects, social media updates – it’s landscape architecture, digested

DATES FOR YOUR DIARY

EXCITING NEW PROJECT

10 April Rationalising land use allocation in the Green Belt, The London Society In his talk, Colin Wilson suggests there is potential for using areas of poor quality green belt – particularly that which is adjacent to existing industrial clusters and motorway infrastructure – for industrial land, while also freeing up industrial sites near railway stations to deliver much-needed housing. www.londonsociety.org.uk

21 March – Landscape 50 University of Sheffield

CLAPHAM PARK

25 April A River Runs Through It, Suffolk This conference will explore and celebrate the creativity of rivers and our response to them, with speakers hailing from the environmental, academic and arts worlds. Tickets are £35 if booked before 18 March (£40 after this date), and include lunch and an optional post-conference walk on the adjacent Carlton Marshes nature reserve. www.waveneyandblytharts.com

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ambeth Council’s Planning Committee has approved Metropolitan’s new development proposal to build more than 2,500 new homes and a wide range of community facilities at Clapham Park in south London. PRP, the award-winning architectural firm, designed the revised plan for Clapham Park. Strategically located between three local centres – Clapham, Brixton and Streatham Hill – the masterplan will create a vibrant, inclusive series of neighbourhoods with safe, secure streets, ample public and

private green space and new community facilities, while also positively maintaining Clapham Park’s unique character. The design of all the homes has been optimised with delivery in mind through a kit of standardised parts, maximising efficiency and options for both modern and traditional construction methods. This approach has significantly increased the number of dwellings delivered on the site, and doubles the affordable homes provision. Of the homes, 53% are affordable and at least 10% will be wheelchair adaptable,

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03/04/2018 09:27


MONTHLY ROUNDUP

SOCIAL MEDIA

QUOTE OF THE MONTH

Councillor Colin Clarke, lead member for planning at Oxfordshire County Council

On Twitter © Des Blenkinsopp

“I DO APPRECIATE THE FACT THAT THEY HAD SOME MAJOR CONCERNS, BUT AT THE END OF THE DAY I THINK THE RIGHT DECISION WAS MADE AND HAD TO BE MADE”

Colin Clarke had been speaking after it was revealed that Cherwell District Council had approved 4,000 homes to be built on green belt land. Colin explained that, although there were concerns raised by members of the public, the county council, and Highways England, only 3% of the greenbelt within the Cherwell district area would be built on.

@LondonNPC “Today, with @seed_ball, we launch our new campaign to sow 9 million wildflowers. One wildflower for every Londoner! You can be part of making London a little bit wilder by backing our campaign #WildflowersForLondoners”

@ParksAllianceUK “Parks are a vital and well-used part of British life and heritage. Please take a minute to join the 200,000 supporters and sign our @38_degrees petition to protect Heritage Lottery Funding for Parks”

@SatelliteMPR “Sitting in on a fabulous meeting this morning between @urbanedge_uk Head of Landscape Paulina Blasiak and Joe Betts of @FutureArchUK @ProLandscaperJW #landscapearchitecture #landscaping”

while dual-aspect properties have been maximised. All new homes, regardless of tenure, are designed for durability and significantly enhanced longevity, to reduce future maintenance costs and resident service charges. Green avenues between the individual sites incorporate seating and stepping stones to encourage young children to climb, balance and engage in imaginative play, with ‘garden rooms’ providing further

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opportunity for children to meet and play. Communal courtyards and podium gardens provided within each site have secure sheltered spaces with planting and lawns, where children can run and play. Each garden will contain places to sit, dine and socialise, as well as quiet places to relax. The gardens are truly playable, with elements that are proposed to be used for informal imaginative play, climbing and balancing.

@SatelliteMPR

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