We began this month with a trip to Orvieto's Green Infrastructure Conference, and have returned home ready to implement what we have learnt into our projects and continue to create green spaces in our city. Why not have a read of our March Newsletter...

Project BMK complete!

After beginning the project in September last year, we have completed the landscaping transformation at Bentink, Manvers and Kingston Court in Sneinton. The project covers the landscaped areas around three apartment blocks, transforming unused and unloved verges of shrubs into a woodland in the city.

The scheme consists primarily of grasses and ferns, with various flowers providing changing interest throughout the year. Logs left over from tree removal have been used on the site to provide interest and promote beneficial flora and fauna that are associated with decaying wood. Other highlights include Wildflower Turf, which is currently successfully brightening up the carparks with a carpet of blue forget-me-nots and daisies, and a new seating area which has provided a place for residents to relax and socialise.

It’s our largest scheme for Nottingham City Homes so far, and we hope that it demonstrates how pushing the boundaries in horticultural design, by using more biodiverse planting rather than shrubs, can make a huge impact on the quality of space and complement the built environment.

 

“It’s made us a community”

This month we were delighted to see Meden Gardens Landscaping project officially opened.

The spaces were re-designed for residents of Nottingham City Homes, who wanted an outdoor space that they can use for socialising, and for their existing growing spaces to be turned into a usable community allotment. There was a fantastic turn out from residents, local councillors and the project team.

The gardens now have plenty of seating, raised beds for growing vegetables, wildflower meadows and new paths that create a sense of place.

One of the residents commented, “What the garden has done is bring everyone together. Last weekend there was about seven of us sat outside in the sun all day. It’s an absolute pleasure to arrive home and see my neighbours talking and laughing together”.

To find out more about the project here

 

 

GreenINUrbs Green Infrastructure Conference, Orvieto

At the start of the month we were lucky enough to attend the GreenInUrbs final Green Infrastructure Conference in Orveito, Italy. Eighteen months since attending our last Green Infrastructure Conference, we were excited to hear the latest research into bringing green spaces into cities, and successful case studies from across the globe. The conference covered all aspects of green infrastructure; from how it can enable healthy and active lifestyles in an urban environment, to air pollution and impact on the local economy.

We were inspired by the research findings about installing trees along roadsides, and the way in which the space is designed, and the species of the tree can have a huge impact on the health and safety of pedestrians.

We also learned about how the University of Colorado in Denver is incorporating green infrastructure into their campuses. This allows students across a variety of disciplines to collaborate on projects and experiments, allowing them first-hand experience of how professionals work together in industry to achieve the best outcomes.

There was a strong theme across many of the talks about co-creation of spaces in order for them to be successful. We shouldn’t just be leaving it to the designers to make decisions about our spaces, but scientists, schools, local residents, businesses and police officers to ensure the implementation of green infrastructure creates value for the environment, the people using the space and local economies.

We have certainly returned feeling refreshed and inspired (from both the conference and the beautiful Italian Hill-top town that is Orvieto!) and are looking forward to incorporating what we have learnt into upcoming projects.

 

Nigel Dunnett at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (By Ed Higgins)

Last month I headed up to the wonderful Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, one of my favourite places to visit. I was off to a talk by Nigel Dunnett hosted by the Society of Garden Designers.

Nigel Dunnett is becoming an increasingly known name within the world of horticulture. As a Professor at the University of Sheffield, and a key designer for the London Olympic Park, he is leading the way of ‘Ecological Urbanism’ - that is, promoting ecology within cities for the benefit of nature, as well as people. A key message of the talk was that we need to work towards a new need for gardens. For those who have read one of our other blogs we are always talking about SuDS (which incidentally Dunnett describes as a dull term, instead preferring the more poetic description of ‘Rain gardens’) and it was this that he was pushing for. Gardens and green schemes need to be pushed to become more than cosmetic beautification to something that is functional and can help mitigate the problems of climate change, and improve biodiversity in the city.

It was a great talk, and those of you who haven’t heard of him, it’s well worth checking out his website (http://www.nigeldunnett.com) and his twitter account (https://twitter.com/NigelDunnett).