gill moore photography

Tag Archive for 'city'

Patrick Blanc to be featured on a Gardeners World Special this week ….

gardenersworld

from the BBC website:

Last year Joe Swift described how back gardens are being sold for development, reducing the amount of green space that oxygenates our cities and soothes our troubled souls. But instead of beating his chest and saying how terrible this is, he heads off to discover how to grow gardens where land is scare. In France, he visits the Parisian botanist Patrick Blanc’s famous hanging gardens, which use an ingenious irrigation system to grow plants on vertical walls. In the UK, he meets one man who has cultivated a jungle on his balcony, and another who has a garden of succulents growing on the dashboard of his van. He also meets Nigel Dunnett from Sheffield University, who is an expert on green roofs – a way of turning the humble house roof into a demi-paradise; an industry that is booming.

This Special Gardeners World show will be broadcast this coming Friday, March 20th 2009 on BBC Two @ 8pm, definitely one not to miss!

For more information on Patrick Blanc and his amazing work with Vertical Gardens read my post from last year here.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button


Who will be crowned England’s premier Cycle City? Cycling England Funding up for grabs …

 

 

 

 

 

 

Did anyone know that 19 towns and cities in England have reached the final shortlist in a competition to find the country’s first Cycling City and ten new Cycling Towns?  I certainly didn’t, but  I was delighted to see Manchester is in the pot for the Cycling City Award.  The winner is to be announced in early June 2008.  A list of all the shortlisted towns and cities can be found here.

There have been 6 pioneer Cycle Demonstration Towns operating a pro-cycling policy for the last 3 years.  These are Aylesbury, Brighton & Hove, Darlington, Derby, Exeter, Lancaster & Morecombe.

Some of the benefits a winning area will gain are extra funding (up to £500,000), advice on best practice, access to other Cycle England funded programmes and support with promotion and monitoring.

Is it all hot air?  I guess if it pushes cycling up the news headline barometer, no bad thing.  To take an example from one of the previously successful “Cycle Demonstration Towns” namely Brighton,  here it certainly seems to have kick-started the Council to become more cycle-friendly.  They match-funded the Cycle England’s contribution, which promises a £3 million investment in cycling over the next 3 years.  Brighton is a town which has seen cycling increase by 47% since 2000 and with 45% of city-workers travelling less than 3 miles, then this presents a fantastic opportunity to inform and tempt those workers to ditch the car and travel on two wheels.

UPDATE :  Today it is Wednesday 18th June and still NO announcement and NO explanation on the cycle demo towns decision.  I guess we’ll just have to keep watching on the Cycling England website.  Of course I will post the winners as soon as the “powers-that-be” make a decision.

UPDATE TWO : Yes the decision is out this morning (Thurs 19th June 2008), Bristol is the winner,  it will become the UK’s first “Cycling City”.  It is probably not a massive surprise as historically Bristol has always projected a very strong supportive relationship with local cyclists and aimed to encourage cycling in the area.  Sadly (for me anyway) Manchester doesn’t get a look in, it is not even on the demonstration town list of winners, those are: York, Stoke, Blackpool, Cambridge, Chester, Colchester, Leighton, Shrewsbury, Southend, Southport and Woking.  Read more on this story here.  Good luck to all the chosen towns and cities, hopefully this extra money will allow and encourage more people to cycle and using pedal-power becomes a more enjoyable, respected, desirable and safer experience in urban areas. There is further BBC piece here which looks at Bristol and attitudes to the city winning the award and the difference it could make.
AddThis Social Bookmark Button


Two cycle schemes trying to make a difference: “Ciclovia” in Bogota and the “Velib” in Paris.

Well, it seems cycling has been deemed newsworthy in the UK at last. Naughty David Cameron has been found running a red light and going the wrong way down a one-way street on his bike. Something I would never do of course.
In an effort to balance out this negative press I urge you to take a look at this link: www.streetfilms.org/archives/lessons-from-bogota/ or click on the youTube image below.
It features a short film made all about an amazing scheme called “ciclovia” in Bogota where the usually car-laden streets are given over to pedestrians and cyclists every Sunday. It has been a massive success and shows how an area can be transformed if designers put community needs at the heart of things.
The film was made by a non-profit group aiming to reclaim New York back for its people. They want to improve the quality of life and make the streets safer for all New Yorkers; pedestrians and bicycles, skaters, rollerbladers, in fact any non-vehicular modes of transport. Via their website they provide evidence to back their case and a platform for discussion and dialogue on the issue: www.streetfilms.org.
Most people do agree that we must find alternatives to the car. Ideally, we want easy, cheap, practical and acceptable modes of transport. The rise of cycling in London has been dramatic since 2000 with a reported 83% increase in journey’s by bike. It shows the desire is there to use pedal power but conditions need to be right to make it happen and attitudes need to change.
In August last year Paris introduced a scheme called “Velib”, 20,000 bikes were dotted around 750 sites within the city centre for anyone to hire. One must purchase either a subscription (£20 for unlimited use all year) or pay per trip when the first half hour is free and then the cost is roughly a euro an hour. The system operates with either a pre-validated swipe card or the users credit card which then allows quick release of any bike from the bike’s locked collection points. Bikes do not have to be returned to the same spot.
velib.jpg
Use of the “Velib” has been high, with 1.6 million trips in the first month each bike being used roughly 30 times each day and that is despite many technical glitches suffered at the scheme’s start. The bikes also carry advertising space to subside some of the scheme’s costs. Using the bike as a portable marketing tool has encouraged advertisers to introduce schemes to Seville, Cordoba, Brussels and Vienna and is probably the most likely way a large scale scheme similar to the Parisian one may be brought to the UK.
Suprisingly, many of the Velib users are switchers from public transport rather than car-ditchers, so not quite the anticipated effect the French mayor had hoped for. However, it is still early days and has possibly started a slow sea change in opinion; the acceptance of the bike as a popular, even trendy, method of getting from A to B in a cosmopolitan and busy city. Could the UK be next to follow?

Vertical Gardens

I am intrigued by the work created by Patrick Blanc a french botanist and artist. We know all too well the huge need for green spaces especially in urban environments, he has a fantastic solution – Vertical Gardens www.verticalgardenpatrickblanc.com
Patrick Blanc Garden, Paris, France

He is based in Paris, certainly a city with many beautiful squares and buildings, but it is a geographical area with little room for expansion. There is very little opportunity for the creation of new open spaces or parks when demand for housing is so huge. However, where there is a blank building wall he sees an opportunity. He fixes a solid frame onto the wall and, by allowing water to trickle down, it provides soil-free habitats for various plants which in turn can provide a home for all manner of lifeforms from birds to frogs. The Garden can be inside or out and plant species are chosen to suit the climatic conditions.

Mr Blanc began his botanical experiments in his own home and now he works on commissions all over the world with projects ongoing in China, Spain and his native France. His first UK commissions are Leamouth Peninsula a docklands regeneration scheme ongoing in 2008 and the Pacha Club, Kings Cross, London. Due to the density of the growth there is no need for weeding, so over time they develop from a two dimensional design to a 3D living work of art and each project is protected by copyright. He has a book “The Vertical Garden: In Nature and the City”
patrickblancbook.jpg
Postcript to this article.  Click here for latest news on the Pacha Club, London commission.
UPDATE.  In the UK there is a Gardeners World Special featuring an interview with Patrick Blanc and discussion of his work.  Date for broadcast is 8pm on Friday 20th March 2009.  I’ve done a quick update post here.
UPDATE.  Short feature and images @ Wired.com regarding PB’s recent vertical garden at the Athenaeum, London.  24 August 2009