4.9 SINGELPARK LEIDEN

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ontwerp: Lola Landscape Architects

Since 1659, the 6-kilometre Singelgracht (canal) surrounds the historic city centre of Leiden. Together with the ramparts and bastions, the canals form the largest still-existing city fortifications in Europe. Along the Singelgracht, there are numerous historical areas, such as the Hortus botanicus, historical cemeteries and the Observatory. The coming years, various places will be connected and supplemented with parks, bridges and gardens, thus forming the Singelpark. The idea for this park came from Jeroen Maters, a resident of Leiden who enthused many other residents with his proposal. Politicians embraced the plan and allocated financial resources. Designers LOLA Landscape Architects and Studio Karst won a competition organized by the municipality. The water of the canal plays a central role in the development that includes sixteen parks with a different character. By stringing together previously isolated habitats, a strong ecological structure is created that makes these habitats less vulnerable. The result is a ‘meta-park’ for sports, culture and recreation. The Hortus botanicus is the curator for the trees and plants from all over the world that are planted along the canal. Local parties develop small programmes for the park, and participate in the planting and maintenance of the green.

-LEIDEN (NL) 2012-2018

-STADSLAB, JEROEN MATERS, GEMEENTE (MUNICIPALITY OF) LEIDEN, LOLA LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTS, STUDIO KARS

more info: website vrienden van het Singelpark

4.9 GREEN LIVING SPACES PLAN, BIRMINGHAM

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A greener city is a healthier city. This was the motto for the Green Living Spaces Plan, which includes measures to enhance the city’s ecological structure and at the same time provide a healthier environment for its residents. A network of footpaths now connects the many rivers and streams in the city. Close to the central station, one of these footpaths is accompanied by a green wall. Despite its reputation as a drab industrial city, Birmingham turned out to have a surprisingly high biodiversity. This is partly due to the 1000-hectare Sutton Park, the only National Natural Reserve in an urban environment in the United Kingdom. Birmingham is working towards a healthier, green city through physical measures as well as research. An example of this research is the systematic monitoring of the city’s biodiversity.

-BIRMINGHAM (UK) 2013

-CITY COUNCIL

more info: website biophilic cities

4.9 THE CROWN ESTATE ECOLOGICAL MASTERPLAN

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A green corridor will connect Regent’s Park and St. James’s Park. This corridor consists of green and brown roofs, stamp gardens, green walls, trees, community gardens and planters. Beehives and boxes for birds and bats will be installed as well. The goal is to enhance biodiversity, improve air quality and create a more attractive living environment. The green corridor is part of The Crown Estate ecological master plan. The Crown Estate is an independent developer/real estate owner associated with the British royal family, whose land-ownership dates back to 1066. It is one of the major real estate owners in this area, and it wants to create a green infrastructure with habitats for urban nature, also to make this part of London more attractive to visitors and the people who live and work here. Together with other estate-owners, The Crown Estate is working on The Wild West End with consultants, such as Arup. The master plan for the connecting corridor is based on ecologically valuable habitats of 100 m2 or greater that are no more than 100 metres apart. To monitor the progress and performance of the process, a number of Key Performance Indicators was defined, including the total established green space, increase in species and improved air quality, but also commercial value and tenant satisfaction.

-LONDON (UK) FROM 2014

-THE CROWN ESTATE, ARUP

more info: Arup

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4.9 EMSCHER LANDSCHAFTSPARK

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When biologists visited the abandoned parts of the large, industrial Ruhr region in the 1980s, they found special biotopes in the heavily polluted parts. Despite the heavy metals and thick layers of coal, resilient habitats had evolved, sometimes with rare plants and animals. Because of the black surface, temperatures ran up to 60 degrees Celsius in some places. The area was closed to people and the water of the River Emscher was so heavily polluted that it was unfit for recreational activities. In 1990, the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia started the Emscher Park project. It covered a period of ten years, in which plans and ideas have been developed, and practical impetus was given to ecological, cultural, scientific and social developments in an area of 800 km2 along the Emscher River, downstream from Lippe to the River Ruhr. The catchment area of the Emscher has now been transformed from a heavily polluted open sewer into a large contiguous landscape park. Canals were removed, banks were restructured and new vegetation was planted, so that the Emscher and the plants can slowly clean the contaminated soil. The industrial heritage of the heavy industry that once characterized the Ruhr region has become part of the park with new functions for old buildings and ‘industrial nature’ overgrown by vegetation. New nature that might be less exotic, but that people can now at least visit safely.

-RUHR REGION (D) FROM 1990

-IBA, NORTH RHINE-WESTPHALIA

more info: metropoleruhr