Urban Greening Factor

We work with public and private sector clients to identify issues and priorities in urban green infrastructure planning and design. We help to write green infrastructure strategies and briefs that guide the work of designers.

Issues like the conservation of biodiversity, building-integrated vegetation and climate change adaptation are still relatively new areas for many firms working in planning and design. Before appointing designers, clients must clearly clarify their green infrastructure aspirations in the brief. Focussed strategy and guidance documents may also be required to ensure that designers save time and money pursuing appropriate options or missing opportunities. It is often impossible to add features at a later stage in the design process, so green infrastructure must be considered early in any project.

Commissioned by the City of Westminster, we produced a Green Infrastructure Strategy for the regeneration area around Church Street. The intention was to put green roofs, living walls, rain gardens and street trees at the forefront of thinking in a densely developed inner-city area. This is the area where traditionally, there may have been a tendency to overlook greening or underestimate its importance.

Another example is our Biodiversity Strategy for the International Quarter, Stratford, East London. We produced an overall Biodiversity Strategy for this significant commercial development area and a suite of smaller documents for each development project. Putting urban greening on the project’s main agenda overall provided designers with guidance on how to integrate features into each scheme. This approach was more effective than the conventional approach, where the issue might be brought up later when it is often too late to integrate features. For example, the Biodiversity Strategy has led to the inclusion of several green roofs designed for biodiversity, as well as a large retaining wall, which ordinarily would have been stark and unvegetated. Now it will be textured, and vegetated including nest boxes for birds and insect hotels.