London as you've never seen it before - but maybe will...

Victus Pontis View from Bridge for SH web

Image credit: © Justin Davis

25 February 2013

Landscape Institute launches New London Landscape

100 quirky, green and sometimes plausible ideas for how London's landscapes could be improved by green infrastructure goes live today at www.newlondonlandscape.org For the first time members of the public will be able to explore the designs submitted for the recent 'High Line for London' design competition run by the Landscape Institute in partnership with the Mayor of London and Garden Museum last October.

New London Landscape allows visitors to explore the 100 previously unseen design ideas, post comments about individual designs and strike up conversations with the designers. "We want to start a conversation about London – these designs may never be built, but our aim is to change the way Londoners look at and think about their city. Sometimes dreaming about what's possible can help us focus on what is possible. All kinds of amazing ideas are possible and this competition shifts the debate away from things which are mundane and easy to deliver. It challenges us to think creatively and imagine our city in a much more exciting way." said Sue Illman, President of the Landscape Institute.

New London Landscape is a first for London – a collective 'green' vision by some of the best and brightest designers, landscape architects, architects and green campaigners working today. It reveals a new 'greener' London with an exciting range of new spaces including micro orchards at bus shelters, pleasure gardens over the Thames, linear parks, elevated cycle paths and floating gardens. Some of the previously unseen designs include an idea to transform the old Eurostar building into a year-round arboretum and butterfly house; Grape London, which proposes planting a linear vineyard across London and Victus Pontis, an installation that spans the Thames where medieval London Bridge once did and includes hi-tech biomes and a bridge of food and life.

The Landscape Institute is keen to ask the public what it thinks of this 'greener' vision for London and has incorporated an 'add your comment' section at the end of each individual project entry. "We want it to be an ideas bank for many years to come, inspiring people to think differently about disused space and new developments. Eventually we want people to be able to upload their own ideas, and inspire other cities to get involved. It would be great to see what Bristol, Manchester or any number of UK cities might look like." said Sue Illman.

'A High Line for London: Green Infrastructure ideas competition for a new London landscape' was launched in July 2012 by the Landscape Institute in partnership with the Mayor of London and Garden Museum. The competition, which was inspired by the New York High Line, attracted over 100 green infrastructure ideas from around the world. The brief was to create a public design project that went beyond the commonly accepted role of urban parks and engaged communities with the benefits of green infrastructure. As an open ideas competition entrants were unconstrained by any current planning restrictions.

'Pop Down' by Fletcher Priest Architects won the competition with an idea to create an underground mushroom garden experience beneath Oxford Street. The runner-up was 'The Lido Line by [Y/N] Studio with an idea to insert a clean, safe 'basin' in the Regent's Canal in which to swim the 'Lido Line' from Little Venice to Limehouse. The judges were so impressed by the standard of entries that they also selected three highly commended designs. Bridge-It by HTA: an idea to unlock inaccessible transport corridors around the existing transport network - green linear parks built over, under and beside railway lines and a series of cycling and walking networks linking transport hubs. Barge Walk by Erika Richmond and Peggy Pei-Chi Chi: a design to re-connect people with water via the creation of a linear park, farm and wetland on floating barges at the edge of Canary Wharf. And Bus Roots by Wynne James: an idea to make use of the many empty roof spaces of bus shelters to create raised gardens with sparrow colonies, insect hotels and miniature wildflower meadows. Each bus shelter garden would be looked after by its local community, school or street.

The Landscape Institute defines green infrastructure as the network of natural and semi-natural features, green spaces, rivers and lakes that intersperse and connect villages, towns and cities. It is a natural, service-providing infrastructure that is often more cost-effective, more resilient and more capable of meeting social, environmental and economic objectives than 'grey' infrastructure. A new edition of its position statement Green Infrastructure – an integrated approach to land use will be released on Monday 4th March 2013 which showcases a range of successful strategic GI work and reflects the radical shift from regional planning to the localism agenda in England.

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