Landscape IS_Cities Alive_Summer Charette

Both urban sites – Limehouse Cut and Oxford Street – approximately 1.5 kms straight lines of London’s infrastructure – canal and road way.  One, a straight, broad strip of neglected industrial canal in the East End of London located in one of the most deprived areas of the UK, the other Europe’s busiest shopping street, with around half a million daily visitors and with heavy competition between foot and bus traffic it is the main east-west bus corridor through Central London.  

Previously Landscape Interface Studio carried out the research project “Limehouse Cut – linking place and creativity”. The initial premise of the project was to develop a methodology that supports local residents and creative organisations to collaborate, in order to revitalise local spaces whilst retaining community control. The project document contains the research material from the first phase of the Limehouse project and formed part of the material showcased at the recent AHRC Creative Economy event held in London.

limehouse cut

As part of the research,  post-graduate students on the Landscape and Urbanism MA and Landscape Architecture (LI accredited) PgDip collected data on the canal and its neighbouring environment looking at the potential of surrounding areas, existing green infrastructure and the potential for improvements in lighting and drainage (SUDS) and the possible knock on effects of the London Super Sewer which will run underneath and follow the route of the Limehouse Cut canal.


Landscape IS_Cities Alive_Summer Charette

Now we are exploring another iconic site in London – Oxford Street, situated in the heart of London’s West End.  The West End is a major national and international asset with economic activity that outpaces that of any other area of London. It generates 3% of the country’s economic output (£51.25 billion GVA in 2014), even greater than the City of London’s contribution.  Comprising just a few square miles, it sits at the heart of a global city projected to expand to 10 million people over the next 15 years.

The demands placed on London’s infrastructure, especially its transport system, as a result of this growth are well documented. Improvements have recently been delivered, and more are due shortly – for example with the opening of Crossrail. These will create greater demand for, and access to, the West End.  In a recent report, ‘The impact of Crossrail on visitor numbers in Central London’, Arup’s analysis indicates that Bond Street, Tottenham Court Road and Farringdon stations will deliver some 745,000 people to Central London per day in the year 2026.


Landscape IS_Cities Alive_Summer Charette is an innovative shared project proposal – to trial interdisciplinary graduate and practitioner outdoor learning in the context of ARUP Cities Alive[1] research report, undertaken by the ARUP Foresight Group.   Landscape IS_Cities Alive_Summer Charette will be collaborative across various areas of practice.  The Cities Alive initiative targets rethinking green infrastructure and addresses the role of green infrastructure – trees, water, public spaces – in delivering measurable benefits to the quality of life in cities.

Landscape Interface Studio has successfully bid for funding from Kingston University’s Centre for Higher Education Research and Practice (CHERP) to support the development of a project that demonstrates LandscapeIS’ pedagogical approach. Live projects promotes learning through direct action on the ground and encourage continuous consideration in response to findings and research.  Students actively engage in forming research questions, assume responsibility for investigation, experimentation, and developing projects and outcomes. They became intellectually, emotionally, and socially engaged thus enhancing their learning experience.

[1] Arup’s ‘Cities Alive’ report, March 2014,  envisages cities of the future as integrated networks of intelligent green spaces, designed to improve the health and wellbeing of citizens.  The report, undertaken by Arup’s Foresight + Research + Innovation and Landscape Architecture teams, addresses global issues such as climate change, urban population growth, resource scarcity and risk of urban flooding.


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