Developers share their vision for green infrastructure investment

Speakers at High Line Symposium discuss need to invest in more green spaces across London

Developers who have been won over to the need to spend heavily on green infrastructure shared their approaches last week at a major conference.

Speakers from Britain and the USA spoke at the High Line Symposium run by the Landscape Institute and Garden Museum, inspired by the mile-long park on a former elevated rail freight line in New York.

Grosvenor estate surveyor Nigel Hughes, said the property company reassessed the case for more landscape after reading landmark studies including CABE Space’s Paved with Gold, which helped inspire a 20-year strategy to improve visual identity by the firm.

"We also did a green-
infrastructure audit, the first of its kind, by LUC designers," he said. "This led us to use more street trees and grass, art by Antony Gormley — even bee hives. This is the backbone of what we want to achieve and such investment improves returns."

Helen Fisher, programme developer for the 200ha
Nine Elms project around Battersea Power Station and New Covent Garden Market, said the urban gridlock lacked "permeability and connectivity", and would be opened up by a linear park and other spaces.

She added: "We want to
create a new quarter with £1bn of infrastructure in an area that has a deficit of green space. We will create spaces and links to existing ones and make every one work really hard to free the current sense of isolation felt by locals."

Regeneration firm Ingham Pinnock worked on Camlin Lonsdale’s £40m motte-and-bailey in Towcester, with green infrastructure "at its heart", said director Ross Ingham. Green infrastructure went in first, leaving development "ticking away" in the background.

"This showed credibility to wider regeneration issues, improved public perception of regeneration and helped galvanise resolve through local authority changes such as elections," he added. "Dev-elopers were impressed that the public sector was doing rather than saying."

Mayor’s view

Boris Johnson, London mayor, via conference video link

"We have noticed the phenomenal success of the High Line project in New York and are looking at ways of emulating the achievement with projects that clean and green London."

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