Published by Landscape Architecture and Urbanism at University of Greenwich, London


I was thinking the other day how boring some parks are. Mostly in estates, you’ll find that you get a “square or rectangular” shaped green space and that’s it. And most of them are underused. I honestly don’t have anything against green squares but I do have an issue with those that are just there like a shop mannequin. You can look, admire but don’t touch. And have you noticed how similar they all look? Especially in the estates, they are of a particular length by particular width, with a little corner for 5-a-side football or basketball and that’s it. Oh and you’ll bound to find either a green or black painted cast iron seating, which get so cold in winter.

So with my thinking going, I thought why not introduce something that will help the environment whilst being fun at the same time? SUDS – how cool is that! In fact I remember doing something like this for one of the Theme project last year and it was highly praise…at the time. It seems so long ago now.

In my scheme, I took on Surrey Square Park, situated just behind the Aylesbury Estate and north of Burgess Park and introduce a Bioswale as a way of reducing flooding the area. I was particularly drawn to this area because it is a perfect example of how uninterested green spaces around the estates can be. And with high number of residential tower blocks, it means there was going to be a high volume of rainwater runoffs from roofs and hard surfaces. The current system of channeling dirty water somewhere else is proving to be costly. With our climate changing and more people moving to the city, our drains are becoming over-serviced. And over-serviced drains will soon stop working and new drainage infrastructure will need to be put into place. All this means more money spent, more disruption to our daily lives and over time, new drainage infrastructure will need to replace old ones to cope with an even greater pressure load. This vicious circle will end nowhere. Bioswale is a great way of eliminating high cost drainage system. It provide an opportunity to clean, control and store surface water runoffs from hard surface areas. This is proven to be cost effective and reduces the risk of flooding. And any stored water could be treated and re-used for irrigation or grey water for flushing toilets. Most of all, it means nature and wildlife will be integrated into a community. So in the end, the council will save money, the area will not flood and nature will thrive. A winner!

On this scheme I was inspire by the “Shobuj Pata” (Green Leaf) Eco Community Development in Bangladesh, where ecological sustainability was the main focus and the designer team (JET, JCI, and Terraplan), have carefully integrated nature into a community.


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