Turning London’s traffic clogged streets into ‘green boulevards’


Animation: WATG http://www.watg.com/london-national-park-city-green-block/

Could Fleet Street in central London be turned into ‘green boulevard’? The architecture practice WATG have teamed up with “guerrilla geographer” Daniel Raven-Ellison (who is leading the campaign to have London declared the world’s first city national park) to explore the idea of greening the city using green building blocks .

“The mission of this campaign is to create a city where people and nature are more connected. A city that is rich with wildlife and every child benefits from exploring, playing and learning outdoors. A city where we all enjoy high-quality green spaces, the air is clean to breathe, it’s a pleasure to swim in its rivers and green homes are affordable.”

Following a meeting withDaniel Raven-Ellison the WATG Landscape Architecture team were inspired to contribute to this socially important initiative in the Capital. Led by Demet Karaoglu, Senior Project Landscape Architect, the team challenged themselves to an internal innovation competition and the ‘Green Block’ was born.

It’s safe to say that we can all now envision a future with driverless, electric cars and that translates to fewer cars on the road and fewer car parks and car lanes,” said John Goldwyn, Vice President, WATG. “The Green Block claws back space from the roads and returns it to the people of London.

Source: http://www.watg.com/london-national-park-city-green-block/

The team at WATG have developed the ‘Green Block’ – a maintenance-free modular, living building material permeated with native wildflower seeds and containing its own irrigation reservoir. The website explains that Green Blocks can be used in creative ways to enhance the natural biodiversity of London by:

  • Reclaiming expanses of tarmac and space made available by redundant roads and car parks, following the rise of autonomous and shared vehicle and bicycle schemes in the Capital;
  • Adding greenery to existing cafes and shopfronts whilst cleaning and filtering the city air and creating a more aesthetically-desirable city-scape;
  • Cladding buildings and hoarding construction sites;
  • Delineating and augmenting cycling routes;
  • Connecting the city’s existing parks;
  • Allowing residents and property owners in the Capital to create their own urban allotments, replacing concrete front gardens and providing ecological corridors for the city’s native wildlife such as invertebrates, small mammals and raptors.

For further information on greening the city read Arup: Cities Alive – Rethinking green infrastructure and Cities Alive Workshop video launch.

Note: The animation of Fleet Street was designed by WATG for visualisation and conceptual purposes only; to show how the prototype ‘Green Block’ could be used within an urban environment.  The ‘Green Block’ is a landscape architecture concept that was developed purely to explore how design can innovate and contribute to a greener future.


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