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Spaces that bring people and communities together

Creating public realm and green open spaces in towns and cities to help foster communities

Our towns and cities are evolving in a post-pandemic world, with outdoor spaces taking on a more important role than ever. The nature of hybrid working means people are spending their working time between home and the office, with towns and cities needing to offer that extra something to bring people together.

The creation of more public realm can transform brownfield and disused sites into outside spaces to bring communities together, enabling local businesses to also benefit from their thoroughfares. Greening urban environments with trees and bringing nature back can also help overcome some of the greatest challenges facing the world's growing populations, and give those living in town and city centres calming spaces that promote health and wellbeing.

Read some examples of how we're creating outside spaces that foster community and wellbeing:

Listen to our podcast episode: "How can green and blue spaces revitalise and ignite towns and cities?"

Revitalising Nottingham through Broad Marsh transformation

What was once a rundown and dilapidated shopping centre will soon be an open, vibrant and welcoming space for local people and visitors to enjoy.

With 20 acres of space ripe for regeneration, Broad Marsh is one of the largest development spaces of this nature in any core city in Europe. This has led to the regeneration scheme garnering a lot of attention, even across the pond, with the New York Times writing an article about the redevelopment.

We've already completed the demolition of the old shopping centre, and we're now on site delivering the public realm works. This will open up thoroughfares that have long been closed, and will provide a range of fantastic outdoor spaces for the public to enjoy. In fact, public opinion has very much been taken into account, with locals keen to see green spaces and heritage incorporated.

The public realm will connect up a range of buildings around the area, and will include outdoor seating, food and drink areas, and areas for children to play, with some visually impressive features being designed using large boulders. It will also see the 'marsh' being put back into Broad Marsh, with new urban wetlands being reintroduced on the site that used to house a marshland ecosystem, bringing with it biodiversity gains.

With Nottingham aiming to become a carbon-neutral city by 2028, this addition of an open, green space will not only help with biodiversity, but it could also help to reduce flood risks and even help to reduce the impact of the 'heat island effect' experienced in dense towns and cities.

Broadmarsh public realm Nottingham 2.jpg

Going green: creating The Green Heart in Birmingham

Measuring over 12-acres, the Green Heart project opened up the centre of University of Birmingham's campus for the community to enjoy, as well its students and staff. The space is used for performances and events, socialising, meeting and studying.

Creating a sustainable natural environment was key to this project. The site is entirely drained by rain gardens, with no conventional piped system and the planting uses species that attract pollinating insects. Numerous bird and bat boxes are in the grounds, as well as a bat/swift tower, which emits bat/swift sounds to attract potential occupants and includes video surveillance to monitor uptake. A stepped water rill uses natural filtration through planting and gravel beds, adding further enrichment of the biodiversity on campus.

While the site is well illuminated, all luminaires use LEDs so power input and maintenance demands are minimal.

Another sustainable and slightly unusual feature is the Pavegen walkway. It uses people's steps to generate data and off-grid electricity, which is then used to power the USB charging point benches dotted around the area.

Green Heart - Completion 4.jpg

Forging the future of Telford at Station Quarter

Station Quarter will be a new, vibrant neighbourhood at the heart of Telford town centre. It will include a mixed-use development, as well as providing an urban gateway from Telford Central Train Station into the heart of Telford Town Centre.

Alongside building a Digital Skills & Enterprise Hub, we're also on site creating the ‘Ironmasters Square’. It will provide outdoor spaces for people to relax, socialise and even play, with plans including a Neighbourhood Equipped Area for Play (NEAP).

Telford Station Quarter public realm.jpg

Mulberry Place - creating a new leisure and restaurant quarter

In line with Daventry District Council's vision to create a "first-class leisure destination" in Northamptonshire, we demolished an old library transforming it into a new development.

To help tie the cinema, café and restaurants together and ensure the town centre was cohesive, we also delivered public realm spaces. The new public square includes decorative fountains, greenery and spaces to sit, allowing local people to enjoy an outside space in the heart of Daventry town centre.

Mulberry Place Arc Cinema Public Realm.jpg

For more information, contact our local expert

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