Blog Archives

Little Free Libraries for urban landscapes

Little Free Libraries are a great idea.  Landscape architects should include them in designs for public open spaces including parks, squares, piazzas etc. Universities should have several on every campus for textbooks as well as leisure reading. In 2010 I

Posted in landscape architecture, public parks, school grounds, urban design

Michael Brown and the landscape architecture of housing

Many thanks to Colin Moore for remembering Michael Brown’s work in a Merl blog post. Michael Brown’s office (in which Colin worked) produced the best UK housing landscape designs of the 1960s and 70s.  The outdoor space was very well

Posted in bad architecture & planning, landscape architecture, urban design, urban squares

The Yorkshire trod is a great way to make a footpath

The OED defines a trod as ‘A trodden way; a footpath, path, way. (dialect)’.   Phillips New World of Words (1678) explained Trode as ‘an old word signifying a path’. It slipped out of general use but survives in some parts

Posted in greenways, landscape architecture, urban design

Parliament Square in Westminster should be re-designed

The public open space outside the Mother of Parliaments should be re-designed as a place for MPs to talk to constituents and demonstrators. It was filled with protesters on 15th January 2019. This was the day on which the first

Posted in landscape architecture, urban design

Four truths about London cycling

 1. Cycling in London is unsafe. Everybody knows this. London has 3.6 times as many accidents/1000 cyclist commuters as Copenhagen. 2. The  London Cycle Network did almost nothing for the safety of London cyclists. I therefore look forward to its

Posted in cycleways, landscape architecture, London cycle network, London Cycleway Plan Tagged with:

Save Dolphin Square and its wonderful roof garden

Sadly, a US property company Westbrook wants to spoil one of the most significant housing projects in London. Its central importance in the history of residential site planning comes from: Dolphin Square’s use of high residential terraced blocks to create

Posted in community gardens, green roofs, landscape architecture

The London Cycle Network is a fraud

The London Cycle Network was planned by the London Cycling Campaign shortly after it was formed, in 1979, and approved by Ken Livingstone when he became leader of the Greater London Council in 1981. This led to some minor improvements

Posted in cycleways, landscape architecture, London cycle network, London Cycleway Plan

The Royal Docks Development is a good example of bad architecture and helpless planning

The file-name of this depressing image is Riverside-day-overall-view-23032017-Final.jpg. The word ‘Final’ is ominous and, as anyone can see, the blocks are beside a disused dock and a busy runway: it is not a ‘riverside’ development. Suing the development team for

Posted in bad architecture & planning, green roofs, landscape architecture, landscape urbanism

Barbican housing landscape architecture review

 ‘The landscape architecture of the Barbican housing development in London is very good and very bad‘ conclude Robert Holden and Tom Turner.

Posted in housing, landscape architecture

Convoys Wharf planning application for Plot 08

In 2011,  I reviewed the Hutchison Whampoa Master Plan for Convoys wharf. A modified version of the plan, scarcely improved, received planning permission in 2014 and an application for the first phase has now been submitted. My reasons for urging Lewisham

Posted in housing, landscape architecture, urban design