Just 6 months in and 2020 seems to have been one of the most controversial in recent years, pandemic, recession, unrest now overshadow the deadly Australian wildfires at the start of the century. The three named storms “Ciara, Dennis and Jorge” that hurtled across the UK causing tragic flooding and crowning February as one of the wettest ever months on record.
Not forgetting impeachment, royal departures and tragic air loss we all watched on and whilst March slowly came and went, we secretly thought – “this will not affect us”
So that was then – it did and is affecting us, now we are inevitably seeing the changes that may affect us forever. 10 weeks in we are “Getting used to change” working from our spare rooms or dinning tables has become the norm for some, the “oopps you caught me mid bite” on the ever-frequent Teams Meetings and our excitement as yet another Amazon delivery arrives!
As countries begin to lift lockdown measures and businesses slowly start to open, what were once daily occurrences are now dilemmas, such as how do we commute and operate safely, this must certainly highlight the need to think differently about Urban Design in the future?
With a reduction in the use of Public Transport our roads are already adapting either by closing or to make more space for people to get around by walking and cycling safely, barriers are being constructed similar to that of GreenBlue LeafSpace – which offers a pleasing modular solution that will also help mitigate Air Pollution with its planting schemes.
We know in recent years call for cities to focus on health in their planning has been growing, we are still a long way off from the therapeutic gardens of Singapore, however the need for resilient, sustainable “healthy cities” has never been so important for the mental and physical health of city residents, Marianthi Tatari, an architect at UNStudio Amsterdam, says,
“20 minutes of ‘green time’ a day helps to give us a healthy and humane approach to our present situation”
In Portland, USA instead of closing their parks, they shut them to traffic to make more space for people. Albeit temporary however as the need to social distance continues, we may see more spaces pedestrianised.
GreenBlue are in the process of adapting their current RootSpace underground soil support system to enable “Pop up Parks” or even “Parklets” in our urban areas and are delighted to be speaking to Local Authorities and Landscape Architects already – if you would like more info on LeafSpace please do get in touch.
Another critical factor in the virus spread is sanitisation to have access to regular hand washing facilities / sanitisation units not just in buildings and shops but areas of play recreation is crucial moving forward.
As detailed in recent blogs one thing this pandemic has taught us is the collaboration with others to #Adapttochange quickly, we have seen this with the creation of the Nightingale Hospital in London in just 9 days, increased farming and localised shopping.
Each city will now need to adapt for the long term, this has been highlighted with a recent competition Pandemic Architecture by which architects are designing an urban environment to encourage health, wellbeing however operating as normal with a pandemic at the forefront.
GreenBlue continue to collaborate with industry partners including Landscape Institute, UDL, Treeconomics to name just a few and will shortly be offering coffee break style webinars to introduce some of our partners and their current projects as mini industry updates – more details to follow.
We have also devised our own competition – as you know we champion healthy urban trees; many of these fine specimens give character to our towns and cities. We have had the privilege of being involved in some fantastic schemes, and we all have our favourite tree.
Every Wednesday in June we are going to showcase some of the most amazing trees in hard paving that we’ve come across, however we are asking you to send us photos of your favourite tree in an urban area doing well in a hard surface and the reason why.
We will then shortlist to 3 and announce on our Industry webinar on Friday 3rd July! Send them into [email protected] we can’t wait to see them!