Barrow-in-Furness has a rich industrial heritage, but the decline in traditional industry has resulted in a degraded landscape around Maritime Streets, where 89 per cent of the flats had become unoccupied. The brief was clear: to improve the public realm, attracting people to live in the area once again, reinvigorating this declining neighbourhood and creating a landscape that would kick-start economic and social growth.

Farrer Huxley Associates acted as landscape architect, cost consultant and also – in collaboration with mental health charity Growing Well – as community engagement specialists. Social isolation has been tackled through design. An equitable public realm promotes good mental and physical health, allowing all residents to connect with their community and with nature.

The Maritime  Streets project is a landscape-led scheme that clearly demonstrates economic and social value. The commitment by the local authority to take action has resulted in the refurbishment of the residential blocks, raising overall occupancy from 11 per cent to 68 per cent. This has increased property values by 122 per cent and brought almost £1.7m of additional spending to the local economy. The project presents a strong case for landscape as a value-for-money investment and catalyst for economic and social change in areas of deprivation.

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