Places for People signs up Farrer Huxley founder to design social housing garden

Designer highlights value and benefits of gardens in social housing areas in run-up to 2012's RHS Chelsea Flower Show.

A garden that could stop riots is being designed by Farrer Huxley founding director Noel Farrer for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2012.

Property management, development and regeneration company Places for People, which manages 62,000 homes and whose landscape manager is Noel Murphy, is the client.

Riverside, Peabody and Places for People are delivering the £15m Big Lottery-funded Green Spaces for People project to transform 80 neighbourhoods across the country by enhancing residents' quality of life.

Farrer said: "In urban housing areas people don't get a chance to garden. It's becoming a lost part of their lives. This is about promoting those areas and raising awareness of the values of these gardens, which can change the quality of people's lives.

"They have huge benefits right up the system. Who knows, we may not have riots next time."

Farrer said social housing gardens should be made of the best-quality materials and not be about vandal-resistant benches and anti-graffiti paint.

"They are not caged animals - these are real people. Why not make a £150,000 garden so people can say: 'I want that.' If the Government spent £150,000 into 25 flats it would be a very good investment in terms of output.

"Many social housing estates in the UK have public spaces starved of investment with little or no care. These environments trigger communities driven by fear. As the recent riots showed, this communicates a damaging message that these communities do not deserve better.

"Our garden is a public place in a housing area - a public garden for social cohesion, which is important because it links to societal needs gardens more than private realm."

Farrer, Landscape Institute policy chair, said he hoped to get the institute involved in supporting the Fresh category garden.

Chelsea 2012 Sponsors and designers

- Arthritis Research, Tom Hoblyn
- Brewin Dolphin, Cleve West
- British Land, Laurie Chetwood and Patrick Collins
- Caravan Club, Jo Thompson
- Daily Telegraph, Sarah Price
- Fleming's Nurseries/Trailfinders, Jason Hodges
- Homebase, Joe Swift
- Lands End, Adam Frost
- Laurent-Perrier, Arne Maynard
- L'Occitane, Peter Dowle
- M&G Investments, Andy Sturgeon
- Royal Bank Canada, Nigel Dunnett
- RNIB, Paul Hervey-Brookes
- Walworth Garden Farm, Patricia Fox
- World Vision UK, Flemons Warland Design
- Muum, Jihae Hwang

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