Urban greening for better health
After decades of deliberation the area around Oxford Circus in London is finally to be transformed into pedestrianised piazzas this year, with significant improvements to the public spaces promised, as well as additional planting and seating.
The detrimental effects of poor air quality from congestion and busy traffic have been known for many years so why has the decision been made now?
Obviously, there are economic benefits to local businesses and the wider tourist industry by turning a congested, noisy road into a safe, pedestrian-friendly space that invites people to dwell.
But there is no doubt the pandemic played a huge part in prioritising the transformation to a greener, cleaner and more sustainable urban environment, as expressed in the government’s drive for a Green Recovery.
A green infrastructure approach is now fully recognised for the many health benefits it brings to residents and visitors alike, from reduction in respiratory conditions to improved mental health and reduced anxiety.
Interestingly, even small and readily accessible green spaces created with attractive planter and seating arrangements contribute to a measurable reduction in stress and are important assets for supporting health and wellbeing.
Increasing the amount of greenery in towns and cities, no matter how small, adds up to make a significant difference.
A design competition run by the Royal Institute of British Architects starting this summer will help to deliver the final scheme, and we can’t wait to see the winning design.
Does your next project need to be greener?