Leonard Circus - ​Shared Space - GreenBlue Urban
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Leonard Circus – ​Shared Space


GreenBue was pleased to revisit this well documented "shared space" project with the London Borough of Hackney, the well established 11 trees planted in GBU's ArbrSystem have proved to not only be aesthetically pleasing for passers-by on foot and bicycle but provided a welcome backdrop to market day with onsite seating for all to enjoy.

The advent of the Central London Congestion Charging Zone radically changed the traffic pattern in Leonard Circus, London, EC2. Pedestrian and cycling traffic has dramatically increased following the significant reduction in motor traffic.

In order to facilitate the new traffic pattern and also to calm vehicular movements the ‘shared space’ system pioneered by the Dutch traffic engineer, Hans Monderman, had been applied together with the theories developed in the UK by Stephen O’Malley. The result is regulated and calmed traffic conditions plus a greener and more attractive environment.

The whole of Leonard Circus was repaved on a single level without kerbing, signage or carriageway markings. The area between the buildings has been laid with unglazed brickwork, broken up by an irregular pattern of panels using contrasting grey granite, York Stone and Italian porphyry.

The apparently random planting of eleven trees of various evergreen and deciduous varieties was, in fact, dictated by the need to avoid the very dense network of utility ducting and cabling.

The need to protect these services and maintain the load-bearing capacity of the road system was successfully achieved without compromising the spatial and nutritional requirements of the developing tree roots. The innovative design of the GreenBlue Urban load-bearing StrataCell modular system ensures a greatly enhanced soil environment eliminating compaction and maintaining irrigation and ventilation.

The new public regeneration space was loved by all! However, years on, the tree protection has certainly been put to good use as detailed within our images and in 2019 it was decided a "car-friendly" tree guard would be designed. GreenBlue got to work on a favourable solution by all - the results speak for themselves.

Ruper Bentley Wells LB Hackney states:-

The "Hackney Tree Guard" has been tested to take impact from a 1.5T vehicle at 6mph, many thanks to GreenBlue Urban in achieving this in a collaborative way. It was a groundbreaking scheme and one which takes shared space to the next level where trees and people are paramount. Traffic efficiency and safety improved when the street and surrounding public space was redesigned to encourage each person to negotiate their movement with others. Thanks to Dutch Traffic Engineer Hans Monderman.