Cities and municipalities are no strangers to the cutting edge of innovative environmental initiatives. A recent contest run by the Landscape Institute, in conjunction with the Mayor of London, produced some innovative and compelling results. Submissions were to propose new green spaces in London in a manner inspired by the New York City Highline, aiming to build new “green infrastructure” that both beautifies public spaces and helps protect the environment.
As reported on the Atlantic Cities blog, the winning entry proposes a subterranean park, transforming neglected tunnels under London into an urban mushroom farm. The submission from Fletcher Priest Architects, “Pop Down,” introduces natural light into the tunnel through fiberglass mushroom structures at the surface, which double as markers to observers at street level. And the produce will be available to local chefs.
One notable runner up takes the Highline concept to a less common means of urban travel. Y/N Studio proposes an overhaul of London’s “Regent’s Canal,” setting aside a clean lane, “The LidoLine,” for urban swimmers and commuters. In the winter, the canal could be converted to an ice skating park.
Submissions were reviewed by a panel that included the founders of NYC’s Highline, Joshua David and Robert Hammond. The winner was announced at the High Line Symposium at the Garden Museum by London Mayor Boris Johnson and received £2,500.
A recent post by Managing Editor Michael Denney noted the demand for cities to cope with environmental strains produced by increasing urbanization. Cities are not only seeking to minimize negative environmental impacts, but working to achieve biodiversity and environmental goals by harnessing the creative power of their populations and their productive potentials. Michael cited work on the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity, which can be read here.
This post is the first in a series on creative and innovative strategies for environmental urban planning at the city-level.