LI-sponsored season takes on one of planning’s hottest topics

Exhibition and talks debate value of Green Belts

Is the green belt a girdle or a noose for UK cities? The Landscape Institute takes on this hyper-topical, and inescapably thorny, question via a new exhibition and public talks this month at London’s Building Centre.

‘Beyond the Green Belt’ looks at the past, present and hotly contested future of this sacred cow of planning, from its evolution as far back as the Old Testament, to current developmental pressures.

A series of debates accompanying the exhibition will pose provocative questions such as ‘How do we build on the green belt?’ (14 April) where James Lord, partner at HTA Design, Andy Meader, director of Pegasus Group, and Merrick Denton-Thompson, LI president elect, will look at what can currently be built and how policy might be adapted in the future.¬†On 19 April, the topic will be ‘Is the green belt a luxury we can’t afford?’, balancing green-belt protectionism against the housing crisis, with speakers yet to be announced.

LI President Noel Farrer said: ‘The green belt is often criticised for its poor environmental quality and for impeding house building, inflating land prices and frustrating transport infrastructure, but it is also a vital bulwark against unfettered urban sprawl. Many organisations and policy makers have proposed vastly opposing approaches, from tightening rules over development to scrapping the planning designation altogether. This exhibition can help us come to our own views on the best way forward.’

‘Beyond the Green Belt’ is curated by the LI with the Built Environment Trust and is at the Building Centre, London, until 27 April. Talks are free, but should be booked in advance.

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