Seek champions, be vocal and push early for management plans conference hears.
Landscape designers, property developers, architects and environmental services providers shared a raft of evidence, ideas and examples of how to drive a greater focus on green infrastructure in new developments at Horticulture Week’s Healthy Design Healthy Places conference before Christmas.
Alongside being presented with facts and figures which can be used to build the case with clients for investing in green infrastructure, landscape promoters attending Healthy Design, Healthy Places were strongly advised to identify a green infrastructure champion in any new development, be more assertive among construction colleagues — and push hard for post-installation management plans.
Chaired by the London Legacy Development Corporation’s executive director of park and venues, Mark Camley told the audience his criteria for success is to ensure life expectancy of residents in London’s Stratford, where the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park is located, is the same as the rest of the city.
The event which was run in association with HW sister titles World Architecture News and Planning heard from urban designer Noel Farrer, who described a Homes and Communities Agency funded-regeneration project in a deprived urban area in the North West where quality landscaping, commissioned specifically to improve health outcomes, also more than quadrupled the value of the previously defunct housing stock.
Once complete the Maritime Streets project in Barrow in Furness saw 250 flats quickly occupied at the once half-empty sink estate. Said Farrer: "The biggest challenge we’ve been able to achieve here is we’ve got over a real discrimination that if you’re poor you don’t deserve a good environment."
Senior project manager for Argent Ken Trew described how building the public realm first at the King’s Cross regeneration scheme was key to winning buy in from the public, helping to promote the scheme to future potential tenants. "We don’t wait until we finish projects to talk to estate management," said Trew who convinced the property company to appoint someone with the right experience to oversee the management of the landscape post installation: "It pays for itself because we have invested in the landscape. The tenants want to see the grass alive — they won’t pay the service charge otherwise."
In an upbeat address Trew identified competition between developers as a clear opportunity for landscape promoters: "We’re all trying to attract investors and so we are trying to outdo each other. It has lifted the quality of design and implementation of the landscape."