Winner of world class landscape design competition announced for first Garden City of the 21st Century

In March, an international design competition was launched by the Ebbsfleet Development Corporation and NHS England to find the best creative and inspiring ideas to help shape the landscape of what will be the first new Garden City of the 21st Century, and the largest of 10 Healthy New Towns being developed in the UK.

The winner of the Ebbsfleet Garden City: Landscape for Healthy Living Competition was announced today (6th September 2018) at the annual Landscape Institute conference: Valuing Landscape 2018 – an international event organised to tackle big questions about valuing our landscape for future generations.

The winner of the competition was HALO – a model for growing a healthy infrastructure by Bradley Murphy Design, and the project was delivered in collaboration with John Thompson Partnership, Peter Brett Associates and Sebastien Boyesen.

The HALO concept, which stands for Hives, Arcs, Links and Organics, aims to deliver healthy infrastructure to residents’ doorsteps. By providing accessible, attractive and inspirational places, residents will be motivated to take up physical activity as a natural part of their daily lives. The design is made up of four key interventions to the landscape that will overlay Ebbsfleet like a web:

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  • Connecting people to places and to each other through activity hubs that foster social and community engagement
  • Addressing the fragmentation of landscape and habitats via a ‘people highway’ that provides uninterrupted access to nature
  • Exploring accessibility issues and the unique challenges the site presents using a green-grid network for community and wildlife movement
  • Solving the lack of sources of healthy food with focal points for food production and habitat creation

In the view of the judges, HALO demonstrated such thorough practicality of thinking that the concept fulfilled exactly what they had hoped for: a design that was radical, but realisable.  The panel was also excited by its possibilities, particularly because the design reflected the founder of the garden city movement, Ebenezer Howard’s concept of the best of town and country life.

Managed by The Landscape Institute, on behalf of the Ebbsfleet Development Corporation and NHS, the second phase of the Ebbsfleet Design Challenge focused on the Blue Lake site within the Garden City because of the opportunities it offers local communities to benefit from the landscape. It will also be at the heart of the Garden City and one of seven city parks across the site.

Dan Cook, CEO of the Landscape Institute, said “When you launch a competition of this kind you are never quite sure what response you are going to get. The judges were impressed by the standard of entries and the innovative thinking that has been shown. HALO’s winning design stood out for the clarity, and the collaboration of the multidisciplinary team bringing together the best aspects of living in London with those of living in Kent, the Garden of England.

“The landscape profession has really risen to the occasion with some excellent entries that sought to tackle many of the issues faced at complex site. The panel of judges were truly impressed with all of the finalists’ designs and felt they showed inspirational leadership, an ability to think holistically when faced with such a challenging site, and how it connects with the people who live to improve their lives.’

The Ebbsfleet Design Challenge was judged by an expert panel of ten judges (http://healthygardencity.co.uk/#panel) and five outstanding practitioners made it to the final stage of this prestigious competition and each of their proposals will be showcased at the Valuing Landscape conference.

The other four shortlisted entries were:

Additive Urbanism – Chalk Walk: making optimum use of the existing chalk quarry faces and the brackish water of Blue Lake to create a proposal with strong ecological thinking about habitat management and a nationally important wildlife attraction.

Chris Blandford – Blue Lake Gardens: combining the local history, geography and ecology, the proposal combined an interesting range of garden types with a particular angle on edible growing, to engage communities of all ages, backgrounds and abilities.

Huskisson Brown – Everyday Adventure: an impressive multidisciplinary collaboration with a physiotherapist and Commonwork Trust to envisage the site as a ‘green prescription’ for preventative healthcare and everyday healthy living.

LDA Design – Ebbsfleet Sublime: this concept uses productive land and spaces for play, work and leisure to celebrate and stimulates the sense of belonging that underpins the feeling of wellbeing.

A further project was highly commended by the Judges:

The New Landscape Guides to Ebbsfleet: inspired by 20th century guidebooks describing British counties, the concept promoted reconnecting people to place through the language of land and nature.

Kevin Mcgeough, Director of Ebbsfleet Garden City said “The Ebbsfleet Garden City: Landscape for Healthy Living Competition, has been a fantastic opportunity for Ebbsfleet Development Corporation and the Ebbsfleet Healthy New Town Partnership to work collaboratively with the Landscape Institute and its members, to envision the potential for a 21st Century Garden City in our local context.  The exciting and inspiring proposals have exceeded our expectations.  We have been encouraged by the innovations illustrated and the wide variety of approaches explored by the entrants.  The proposed solutions have helped to reinforce the importance of landscape design and place-making in achieving a successful and sustainable Garden City, and have set the benchmark for our delivery for the next 20 years.

“We have been fortunate to have been supported by an enthusiastic and expert judging panel, whose combined knowledge and experience have helped to drive the Challenge and attract the high quality of entries received.  We have been very impressed by the professionalism of the Landscape Institute in its management and promotion of the Challenge.”

Further information about the competition can be found at: www.healthygardencity.co.uk

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