We work with both public and private sector clients to identify issues and priorities in urban green infrastructure planning and design and help to write 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 and it is important that clients make their aspirations clear in the brief before appointing designers. Focussed strategy and guidance documents may also be required to ensure that designers do not waste time and money pursuing inappropriate options or missing opportunities. It is often impossible to add features at a later stage in the design process, so it is important that green infrastructure is considered at any early stage.
Green Infrastructure Strategy, Church Street
GIC has produced for the City of Westminster, a Green Infrastructure Strategy for the regeneration area around Church Street. The intention is to put green roofs, living walls, rain gardens and street trees in the forefront of thinking in a densely developed inner-city area where traditionally there may have been a tendency to overlook greening or underestimate its importance. The document looks at the potential for improving the network of green features and also encourages planners and designers to reduce the overall area of sealed surfaces. There is helpful guidance on planting palettes that will increase biodiversity.
Biodiversity Strategy, The International Quarter, Stratford
GIC has produced an overall Biodiversity Strategy for this major commercial development area, known as IQL, as well as a suite of smaller documents for each development project. This puts urban greening on the main agenda for the project overall and also provides designers with guidance on how to integrate features into each scheme. This approach is more effective than the conventional approach, where the issue might be brought up at a later stage, when it if often too late to integrate features. The Biodiversity Strategy has led to the inclusion of several living roofs designed for biodiversity, (see for example Building S9) as well as, a large retaining wall, which ordinarily would have been stark and unvegetated, but which will now be textured, vegetated and will include nest boxes and insect hotels.