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

In March, the Ebbsfleet Development Corporation and NHS England started an international design competition. It aimed to find the best creative and inspiring ideas to help shape the landscape of the first new Garden City of the 21st Century. The ideas will also incorporate into the 10 largest Healthy New Towns developed in the UK.
 
The winner of the Ebbsfleet Garden City: Landscape for Healthy Living Competition was announced on 6 September 2018. The ceremony took place at the annual Landscape Institute conference: Valuing Landscape 2018. This is an international event that aims to tackle big questions about valuing our landscape for future generations.
 

The Winner

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

The HALO concept, stands for Hives, Arcs, Links and Organics. The concept aims to deliver healthy infrastructure to residents’ doorsteps. By providing accessible and inspirational places, residents will find motivation to take up physical activity. The design has four key interventions in the landscape that will overlay Ebbsfleet like a web:
 
  • Connecting people to places and to each other through activity hubs that foster social and community engagement
  • Addressing the fragmentation of landscape and habitats. Done via a ‘people highway’ that provides uninterrupted access to nature
  • Exploring accessibility issues and the unique challenges the site presents. Making use of 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 thorough practicality. Going on to say 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, the second phase of the Ebbsfleet Design Challenge focused on the Blue Lake site within the Garden City. This is 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 standard of entries and the innovative thinking greatly impressed the judges. HALO’s winning design stood out for the clarity, and the collaboration of the multidisciplinary team. It manages to bring together the best aspects of living in London with those of living in Kent, the Garden of England.
 
“The landscape profession has risen to the occasion with some excellent entries. Entries sought to tackle many of the issues faced at complex site. The panel of judges were truly impressed with all of the finalists’ designs. They felt the designs showed inspirational leadership and an ability to think holistically with the site. They designs also show how it connects with the people who live to improve their lives.’
 
The Ebbsfleet Design Challenge had an expert panel of ten judges (http://healthygardencity.co.uk/#panel). Five outstanding practitioners made it to the final stage of this prestigious competition. Each of their proposals will be on display at the Valuing Landscape conference.
 

The other four shortlisted entries

 
Additive Urbanism – Chalk Walk:
Making optimum use of the existing chalk quarry faces and the brackish water of Blue Lake. 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. It aims to engage communities of all ages, backgrounds and abilities.
 
Huskisson Brown – Everyday Adventure:
An impressive multidisciplinary collaboration with a physiotherapist and Commonwork Trust. It envisages 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. It celebrates 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 great opportunity. It’s been a chance for Ebbsfleet Development Corporation and the Ebbsfleet Healthy New Town Partnership to work collaboratively with the LI. It has helped us 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 variety of approaches from the entrants. The proposed solutions have helped to reinforce the importance of landscape design and placemaking. This is through 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 the support from an enthusiastic and expert judging panel. Their combined knowledge and experience have helped drive the challenge and attract the high quality of entries. 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 is available at: www.healthygardencity.co.uk
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