The UN Climate Change Conference UK 21 is an event many believe to be ‘the world’s best chance to get runaway climate change under control’.
But as landscape designers, how can we help?
HLM’s Landscape team prioritise maximising places for people and nature by creating ‘healthy landscapes’; spaces that promote good health and wellbeing. In the current climate we find ourselves in, with radical changes to working, living and social environments, designing places that are carefully developed to promote a connection to nature both indoors and outdoors is essential. We urgently need to adapt and protect communities and natural habitats by designing people-centric masterplans that focus on the community at the heart. It is vital that there are large communal spaces, as well as vast areas of green and blue infrastructure and wild landscaping, but also that it is financially viable for developers.
Our ‘Forever Home’ H345 – Home of 2030 concept masterplan addressed the current crisis of ‘nature’s great thinning’. Green and blue infrastructure formed an integral element of the ‘forever home’ concept, ensuring a sustainable solution to the ecology and drainage of the site. Prioritising these two key aspects would result in a diverse network of public realm spaces throughout the scheme, as the Sustainable Urban Drainage (SuDS) strategy would be enhanced to provide recreational facilities such as large water lakes for open water swimming and water activities.
Planning balance has historically not considered wider environmental, social, and economic issues, which means that biodiversity has suffered from a lack of focus. The HLM landscape team looked to enhance biodiversity through the specification of a wide variety of planting ecosystems. The masterplan also provides the opportunity for a wide range of soft landscape interventions, all of which provide significant ecological benefit to the site, including urban woodlands, meadows, open grassland, rain gardens, allotments, orchards, and rear gardens. A wide range of species mixes selected to enhance the native plant community and support a robust growing environment, ensuring a sustainable long-term solution that benefits the environment.
A robust network of dedicated cycle lanes added into the masterplan to encourages healthy living habits and sustainable forms of transport. A carefully designed network of footpaths through welcoming green spaces ensures residents can walk between locations, which in turn promotes natural interaction and surveillance across the site. Vehicle access was purposely designed on the main access roads and along the back streets of the housing blocks, thus removing their presence from the street frontage, which again encourages people to walk within a safe car-free environment. All these factors help reduce any possible negative environmental impacts of the site development and provide healthy living within a diverse environment.
Our ‘forever home’ concept masterplan delivers a vibrant, greener, age-friendly, inclusive living environment. The fundamentals of our concept can be used to build sustainable communities and protect natural habitats – in line with the Governments climate emergency declaration.
To learn more about how we are delivering more sustainable landscape projects, contact : [email protected]