Open House London 2012 organiser Open City says the newly introduced landscape programme is now ‘absolutely central’ to the overall project.

Crowds congregate in the newly refurbished Leicester Square. Photograph: Burns + Nice
Crowds congregate in the newly refurbished Leicester Square. Photograph: Burns + Nice

From the vast wild spaces of Walthamstow Wetlands and the transformed railway lands of King’s Cross, to organised walks in newly improved Lewisham parks and the bottom-up edible landscapes of Grenville Community Gardens in Islington, the events made a significant impact in revealing how good design can revitalise the capital, making it a more enjoyable place and delivering diversity and a sense of place.

According to Open City director Victoria Thornton, well-designed public spaces, as well as buildings, are vital in creating and sustaining vibrant and livable cities. And those projects with landscape at their heart – from large-scale public realm transformations to small-scale community-led landscapes – were successful in demonstrating ‘how investment in landscape is changing the face of London and delivering exciting social, environmental and economic benefits.’

Participating landscape architects also commented positively on the scheme. Burns + Nice, organised public realm events in Leicester Square, which it has recently re-designed for Westminster City Council. Marie Burns praised the project for giving her firm the opportunity to discuss not only the scheme, but also the role of public realm improvements within regeneration projects, and the significance of good design in creating new spaces and experiences. ‘We enjoyed the weekend and were lucky with the weather on both days,’ she added. ‘As a practice we support the inclusion of hard and soft urban landscape schemes within Open House as a means of broadening the understanding and contribution of such projects to London, and we would definitely do it again.’




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