Retrofitting green infrastructure into the existing fabric of the city, is all too often overlooked. It is also assumed to be impossible to achieve. The focus, by and large, is on new developments. Retrofitting, however, is possible and has the potential to deliver excellent results across the sustainability agenda.
Housing is a major part of the urban fabric. These estates surely offer opportunities to retrofit green infrastructure features within their surroundings? Such public spaces, though, tend to be relatively poor in character. The typical approach in the past has been to provide amenity grass and a few lollipop trees.
Not the most inspiring of landscapes.
Retrofitting Green infrastructure – the Climate Proofing Project
An EU Life funded project, Climate Proofing Housing social estates, has recently been complete. The project, as this video shows, has helped transform three estates using simple green infrastructure interventions.
The estates are in the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham. The installation of green roofs and rain gardens has provided a multi-functional landscape. Retrofitting these features provides a wide range of benefits for both residents, the wider urban realm and wildlife:
- helping to store rain water to alleviate flash floods
- cooling buildings and the wider urban realm
- making room for pollinators and nature
- providing play and rewarding environment for residents
GIC expertise and experience helping to lead the way
GIC provided the professional advice to the design team at Groundwork London. We used our expertise to identify where GI interventions could be applied.
GIC also don’t just design. It is also imperative to revisit what has been installed. In doing this we can refine and improve on what we can provide clients.
We have a track record of designing and delivering green infrastructure in London. Especially where it comes to retrofitting such features on and around buildings. From roofs to rain gardens, we have helped London realise a new vision of a city that turns concrete, asphalt and amenity grassland, into something far more beneficial to the capital.
Seeing is believing
As the estates are publicly accessible GIC has taken many clients to see the transformation. Seeing is believing, so visitors get to witness the benefits of retrofitting green infrastructure:
- Falling rain on roofs can be seen to be significantly reduced.
- Pitched roofs discharge the rain at full volume, where there are small green roofs it is a trickle.
- Where the water rushed from down pipes into drains, it now dispenses out across the landscape
- Features such as boulders and posts are now places where children play
- Pollinators, such as bumblebees, thriving in the new features
Landscape lead design, rather than a pure engineering approach can have a significant positive impact on our urban environments. Let’s make this approach the norm both on new, and when refurbish, existing developments.