The LI has announced the winning entries to its latest international design competition, Transforming the urban landscape, showcasing a vision for post-COVID-19 streets and spaces

COVID-19 has had a devastating effect on people’s lives and lifestyles and the places where they live. The entries into the LI’s latest international ideas competition, Transforming the urban landscape, offer a wealth of new thinking about how we design and manage our public realm.

The competition, supported by GreenBlue Urban, Ground Control, Hardscape, Selux, and Vestre, attracted 160 entries from professionals and students in China, Thailand, Israel, Turkey, Denmark, Spain, the UK, and more.

‘The competition offered entrants a platform to engage with the debate about the future of our public spaces,’ said Jane Findlay, President of the Landscape Institute. ‘I was delighted to see such imaginative and hopeful thinking.

‘If we give our designers the opportunity to truly exercise their skills, our urban spaces are in safe hands.’

‘The quality of the submissions was incredible – not only in the standard of presentation, but also the quality of thought and creativity. There is a great deal of talent out there. It’s exciting to see that that the quality of our urban spaces is in safe hands if we give our designers the opportunity to truly exercise their skills.’

Jane announced the winning projects today at the Landscape Institute’s end-of-year webinar. Joining her were competition partners Romy Rawlings from Vestre; Norman Emery from Selux Lighting; Warren Heaton from Ground Control; Mathew Haslam from Hardscape; Howard Gray from GreenBlue Urban; and competition judges Dr Nelson Ogunshakin and Dr Krystallia Kamvasinou.

Andrew Cottage, who managed the competition for the LI, said, ‘People are clearly passionate about the quality of the places where they live and want to have more control over those places. The message to developers and decision makers is clear: allow people to have a say, and we can create places that will both address the climate emergency and be suitable for communities in post-COVID times.’

‘The notion of remembering and transforming adversity into a positive future is encouraging… a good reminder that we can unlock the potential of our urban historic landscape in building post-pandemic sustainability.’

Judge Dr Ally Lu, from the University of Sheffield’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning, was interested in the wide range of international entries – in particular, student submissions that reflected on the entrants’ own cultural context and heritage landscape. ‘The project the Narration of the Crack adds a layer of collective memory arising from the pandemic and an earthquake into the design,’ Dr Lu said. ‘The notion of remembering and transforming adversity into a positive future is encouraging. This was also present in entries which addressed the public space of Hutong in China, Yards in Greece, and Ipoh Old Town in Malaysia. This is a good reminder that we can learn from the past and unlock the potential of our urban historic landscape in building post-pandemic sustainability.’

The LI will promote the entries to civic leaders around the world as we move toward a greener recovery from the Coronavirus pandemic. This approach includes our work in England as part of the UK Government High Streets Task Force.

View all the entries at competitions.landscapeinstitute.org.

Winner: Professional category

Back Down To Earth

Back Down to Earth is a joint collaboration between landscape architect, graphic designer and artist Hilary Barber and Adam Greatrix, the associate partner from the Gillespies Leeds studio. The proposal focuses on South Parade in Leeds.

This is the street where we work – an unremarkable street, full of tarmac and cars. It is exactly this type of street where an environmental revolution could take root – responding to post COVID-19 opportunities and the climate emergency, to radically rethink our urban streets, for the sake of humanity.’

Winner: Student category

Link Area – Flowing Connection After the Pandemic

Zhouhui Lu, a student at the University of Sheffield, chose an abandoned space in the centre of his hometown in Beijing. It was designed as an open urban green space that could gradually transition from an artificial to a natural environment by creating new habitats.

Runners up: Professional category

Canal Park Erewash – A Park for Vitality

Joe Bossley, Senior Landscape Architect at FIRA, submitted this proposal. ‘Since the start of the pandemic, the canal corridor has become a vital escape for people needing to mentally and physically recharge. This increase in pressure on already constrained sites has exposed the challenges for visitors who wish to enjoy the canal while staying safe. The proposal is to transform the Erewash Canal into a parkland destination that works for all.’

My Third Place

By Simon Hall, Director and Landscape Architect at PWP Design Limited, in collaboration with R Vint Engineering. My Third Place is somewhere to connect with the local community, engage in cultural events and socialise with people outside of home and the workplace. Using Hyde Park, Leeds as an example, shows how there are opportunities within every community to bring underused spaces back to life.

Runners up: Student category

Nature Works – Redefining Urban Workspaces as a Framework for Well-Being in Everyday Life

Shahaf Zakay, a student at the Israel Institute of Technology, describes a project for industrial sites along river banks in Tel Aviv, aspiring to create balance and harmony between nature and man, enabling normal life patterns to exist. It aims to provide enhanced biophilic surroundings as an inherent part of everyday routines.

Warm Youth

This entry came from the student team at Beijing Forestry University: Binming Huang, Sida Zhang, Lian Liu, Zitong Feng, and Yuan Ma. It highlights the situation faced by a high-density community (the Huitian District, Beijing) which has brought huge challenges to epidemic prevention. It proposes to use intelligent and spaces to make closer connections for different groups and improve people’s mental health.

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