This is Westminster City Council’s first holistic area-wide scheme to retro-fit a climate-adapted public realm.

The area has acute problems: poor air quality, over-capacity drainage and flooding, summer heat and drought, deficient open space for play and lack of contact with nature, high instances of poor physical and mental health as well as the lowest average life expectancy for men and women in the borough. There is also low land values, a poor evening economy and insufficient and poorly managed infrastructure.

The area is unusual in that Westminster owns many of the streets, buildings and associated garden spaces. This helps being able to redefine the public realm in order to increase activities with improved market spaces, informal play, gardens, spaces for wildlife, and car-free routes. Existing green spaces and gardens will connect through green streets and public spaces.

A 500 per cent increase in trees is proposed across the Church Street ward public realm alone. Rain garden attenuation greater than the volume of an Olympic-sized swimming pool will be managed. All this is achievable with no loss of overall parking.

District-wide heating for new homes, and where possible existing homes, is proposed for greater sustainability and efficiency. Improvements to waste collection infrastructure will make it easier to recycle and keep streets clean.

Credits as supplied:

Client: Westminster City Council

Masterplanners: Grant Associates, Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios  

Landscape Architects: Grant Associates

Architects: Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios 

Engineers: Buro Happold

Ecologist: Biodiversity by Design

Artist: Ackroyd and Harvey

Quantity Surveyors: Davis Langdon

Financial Modelling: Thomas Lister