Kingston University Landscape alumnus Dimitris Grozopoulos has received a ‘Highly commended’ award from judges of the Architects’ Journal’s international ‘Visions of London as a National Park City’ competition. The competition was organised by London National Park City Foundation and supported by Architects’ Journal and TimeOut magazine. Dimitris completed his MA Landscape + Urbanism at Kingston University in 2016 and this project formed his final Masters’ project. This academic year, Dimitris has also contributed to teaching across the post graduate Landscape programmes here at Kingston University.
The Architects’ Journal launched an international contest for ‘ambitious and creative’ ideas to transform London into a national park city earlier this year. The competition, open to student and professional architects, landscape architects and urban planners, attracted proposals to upgrade London’s natural infrastructure and integrate its gardens, streets, rivers, buildings and parks into a single landscape. The initiative, backed by Time Out London and The London National Park City Foundation, aimed to enhance the 1,572km2 city by adopting the principles of the UK’s existing rural national parks – better conservation, better enjoyment and better economy – for the benefit of its 8.6 million residents. Entries were reviewed for how well the vision embodies the spirit of the National Park City, how inspirational the vision is and how replicable or scalable it is. Competition judge Andrew Grant of Grant Associates said:
‘Here are ideas that would make us all think differently about London, about the quality of life we wish to lead and the importance of nature in cities. These are ideas that would translate to every town and city in the world and would make London a global leader in restoring the broken links between people and nature.’
London is England’s most populous city and the largest city within Europe. It features about 16,000ha of open green spaces – around 40 per cent of its total area. Key green assets include the eight former royal hunting grounds – Green Park, St James’s Park, Greenwich Park, Hyde Park, Kensington Gardens, Regent’s Park, Bushy Park, and Richmond Park (pictured) – which together represent nearly 2,000ha of greenery. The city also hosts hundreds of urban garden squares, council-run parks, commons, heaths, forests, river path walks and greenways.
The Blue Line
Developed by architect Dimitris Grozopoulos, the Blue Line is a strategic proposal for Nine Elms that could be scaled up to the wider city of London, using existing railway infrastructure. Through small and medium scale interventions and the concept of ‘urban acupuncture’ the proposal seeks to improve water management and enhance biodiversity. Taking into consideration the historical context, local heritage and environmental necessity, the ‘Blue Line’ invites the local community to engage with and celebrate water in the public realm through a series of pocket parks with water as a joining artery.
The project also includes a water management strategy incorporating a ‘water features toolkit’ that emphasis sustainable urban drainage systems (SUDS) and which allows proposals to be adaptable for those areas with different spatial and social characteristics. The toolkit includes elements such as water purification, social interaction with water including ‘play’ and irrigation.
Image Credit: Dimitris Grozopoulos