Have you considered how your community is benefiting from green infrastructure?

Noticed enhanced social cohesion? Active play? Increased wildlife and biodiversity?

Take a moment to think about where your nearest area of green space is.

Often, there is an underlying social flag labelling us on who we are, depending on where we live. This gentrification provides a negative stigma and contributes to inequality.

Access to green infrastructure should not be dependent on the number of earnings we have or the status quo of wealth within a particular area, it should be a human right to look out of your window and see greenery.

Historically, sought-after homes consisted of space and light, however, our new generation is moving towards a compact residence due to the rising cost of living, valuing outdoor space more than the inside; especially in highly populated areas.

With a critical shortage of homes, Britain is in a race to build on mass fast, which is resulting in rows of ‘cut and paste designs’ with identical features, uniform builds and a lack of uniqueness.

“I don’t believe creative design costs more to build than replicating homes, as the wider benefits it brings to society are essential, we can’t underestimate the importance of improving lives” – Sadie Morgan, Government Design Advisor

Bicester, Kingsmere

Research by Teeside University found that there is a disconnect between the architects who design social housing and the residents that live there. Contradicting value systems between the two were largely evident. Many architects found lack of budget caused minimum design guidelines to enable maximum allowance of space.

Further to these findings, a new user-centric approach is now implemented to try and align values between landowners and communities. Finances aside, we are all human and access to the natural environment is so important and should hold a higher value at the implementation stage.

The prosperity of the nation comes from the family, and the prosperity of the family comes from where you live. Designing inspirational places for residents is critical for driving happiness and achievements.

Kenmont Raingarden

Kenmont Gardens is a prime example of a community-led approach requiring a green focal point for the neighbourhood. Residents were included in extensive consultations enabling a “pocket park”, to be used by all and in particular the parents and children of the adjacent school.

Several designs were proposed, and with the advice of  LB of Hammersmith and Fulham, in partnership with Thames Water, a  Sustainable Urban Drainage System (SuDS) system was installed to include a seating area and enhanced landscaping. Enabling bio-diversity in the area encourages  healthy behaviour  whereby walking and cycling are now the norm.

GreenBlue worked extensively with streetscape designersProject Centrefrom concept, design through to implementation along with strong relations with installers FM Conway this was another great installation of StrataCell Tree Pits and Hydroplanter Flex Rain Gardens improving the quality of life for all those who live, work and play in our urban areas.

The Timberyard, Deptford

The Timberyard Deptford is a stunning masterplan scheme based in South London, Lewisham, constructing new local amenities and over 1000 new homes. At the heart of the scheme, the overall initiative was to create new public spaces for all to enjoy, as well as connect existing links throughout the area to allow a sense of placemaking.

Working with Vogt Landscape Architects, the project’s aim is to achieve a sustainable outcome by placing nature at the forefront of its design, utilising rainwater and providing shade for our streets. In fact, 80% of the building roofs in this scheme have been allocated to both green and brown roofs, helping to increase biodiversity in the surrounding area.

GreenBlue Urban supplied ArborSystem tree pit packages for the planting of 8 trees along Grove Street. Installed by  Scotscape, planting also included the use of RootRain irrigation for proactive irrigation directly to the rootball and custom Arboresin pre-case Brittney Bronze tree grilles to create a striking finish above ground, giving the location a sense of quality and invested care.

What we are building now is a legacy we all must live with.

There should be an ethical responsibility on developers and architects to identify regeneration opportunities and creative designs that stand the test of time, the infrastructure we can be proud of.

Developers can honour their mitigation obligations, planting quality trees into optimal underground environments to offset. Working with correct software tools such as itree and CAVAT, Developers can also assess the limits to which new planting can achieve the biodiversity net gain they require.

We look forward to welcoming developers; Barratt Developments to speak at our 30 Year London Anniversary Event on best practice schemes, inspiring others to think positively and creatively avoiding the labelling theory of stereotyped neighbourhoods that includes the amount of green infrastructure.

It’s the little things in life that make us who we are and appreciate the places we live.