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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This may sound like a rather unusual (some may say slightly dull) thread. Apologies!

I find certain areas of Birmingham very attractive and it's usually to do with the level of greenery that that particular locality has - the greener the better by and large. The contrast with other areas within Birmingham that have little obvious greenery is stark.

My question is would you also like to see more green in Birmingham and if so what ideas do you have to make the city more green.

To start with: I think the city centre should have a small park and I would place it at Baskerville Wharf close to where students, office workers and leisure visitors gather.
 

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I don't think it needs more designated 'parks' I just think that more greenery should be integrated all over. There's always space if you try. I was driving somebody from out the area around Edgbaston (which they thought was representative of the whole city and I didn't correct them) and they said 'Birmingham is so nice because it's got so many trees and greenery'. This needs to be extended beyond 'Leafy Edgbaston'
 

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I’m always struck how green the city looks from the Library roof in the summer and more so from the top of say the Cube or Park Regis when you look over the south & west of the city. However I would like a few more green spaces within the ring road, as short of pigeon park there’s very few places to laze on the grass on our few sunny days without heading down to Eastside park. There’s a nice strip of trees & shady grass at the end of Holliday St but as that’s part of the Axis building area it’s likely to be swallowed up by construction over the next few years.

The perception is that our council is much keener on chopping down trees and paving over grass than the other way round, that’s probably not fair but it would be encouraging to have some pocket parks springing up around all the new buildings to off set the pollution and make that city even more liveable.
 

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There was a trial project along bristol st by university of Birmingham which basically monitored emissions along the road then planted ivy/climbing plants along the stretch on the fence/barrier running alongside the road to see its effects on reducing emissions

It’s still in place and I haven’t heard anything since of the project but even if the research came back as having little to no effect I think it’s a great idea and makes the area seem nicer without all the metal railings, perhaps this could be expanded across the city and even used at schools along their fencing for added privacy too?

I’d also like the council/Amey to start using car park grids which allow grass to grow but not be damaged when parked on, especially when they’re fitting raised double bank kerbs to stop parking on grassed areas aswel...


Generally the city is quite good in planting replacement trees

Anyway We have “more trees than paris” :lol:
 

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I don't think it needs more designated 'parks' I just think that more greenery should be integrated all over. There's always space if you try. I was driving somebody from out the area around Edgbaston (which they thought was representative of the whole city and I didn't correct them) and they said 'Birmingham is so nice because it's got so many trees and greenery'. This needs to be extended beyond 'Leafy Edgbaston'
^^
Agree totally with you daniboy, I would like to see trees lining every city street.
If planted correctly with slow growing or smaller slim trees, even our narrow streets could be planted up.
The whole perception of a street and area changes when you see more trees and greenery.
Imagine the difference trees could make to Constitution Hill and Great Hampton Street, Frederick St in the JQ, Warstones Lane and the Sandpits area.
Caroline Street in the JQ should look superb in a few years time when the trees there have matured more.
I do hope some serious consideration as gone into ensuring the same for the massive St Georges and Kettleworks, though visuals don't currently seem to be indicating this.
Welcome jd88 and good thread idea.
 

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I suppose this might be the right place to ask. But I was wondering whether anyone knew whether the nice trees that are outside 54 Hagley road are going to get the chop for the new tram station. Was thinking how nice they looked before remembering they sit quite close or on the proposed route.
 

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Restoring the grass at Centenary Square would be great.
But we know that's not going to happen, don't we?

Also the voids at Navigation Street should all be filled in and grassed over and become the permanent home if the German Markets.
Unhappily the voids at each end of New Street Station are here to stay as they are needed to ventilate it. Even more so now the transport secretary has decided that diesel trains are as good as, if not better than, electric trains.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thank you Ell, that was exactly the place for the location of the small park!

As you can see the City Centre Gardens site could easily be expanded out, possibly down to the canal area. I'm fairly sure that the council own the land surrounding the Gardens including the Towers and the car park; the Halls of Residence land I am not sure about but they do look like they need to be refurbished and given that they are affiliated with UCB (?) which is a public institution there should be room for negotiations.

There are two major problems however. Firstly how do you relocate the tenants from the towers? They are likely to be aggrieved as you can't get any more central than where they are and plus they have excellent on site public realm and car parking spaces. Tough decisions would have to be made but ultimately a great space such as this one should be shared by the many rather than the few. There shall surely be spaces along Digbeth High Street for people to move to which has the added benefit of the Metro.

The second problem lies with the Baskerville Wharf development - one which looks dull and unimaginative to say the least. I can only politely say that it would be regrettable if the proposal got the green light. I will let my thoughts known to the Council and question whether they could buy the land themselves.

The city will be changing a lot over the next 10 years and having had a look at sefton66's excellent directory thread it appears that over 13,000 households could be built within the ring road as well as all the student halls developments to accommodate the BCU move. Potentially then another 30,000 people will make the move to the city centre - a population the size of Wawrick. That doesn't include the office workers that move to the Great Charles Estate, nor Paradise, Arena Central or Brindleyplace who may use the park at lunchtimes. Nor does it include the young families who visit the park having been to the Sealife Centre or Legoland Discovery Centre.

All those people who move to or visit the city centre will factor in how liveable or attractive the place is. One well known way of achieving that is to have a fantastically located park in which to relax in.

If you agree with what I say can I ask that you provide me with a like as it helps to show that I have a decent idea here and it may mean that I will be taken more seriously by the Council. Alternatively if you disagree or think my position carries too many holes then let me know as I can refine it.
 

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Thanks JD88, great thread. As more people start to live in city centre apartments, it will be increasingly more important to have green spaces in the centre. The irony is that as long-standing undeveloped sites are become more attractive to developers (a good thing), the potential space to develop genuine public green spaces starts to diminish (er, not so good).

There is currently a campaign on change.org led by citypark4brum to ensure that a park is integrated into the Smithfield development. They are trying to attract 5,000 signatures, and have around 4,800 atm, so worth signing up if it's something you're interested in.

There is also the Skypark proposal to create a linear park on the disused Duddeston viaduct in Digbeth, that should hopefully come about on the back of HS2-led development in Digbeth. This is in the vein of New York's Highline, and (more appropriately imho) Paris's Viaduct Des Arts/Promenade Plantée/Coulée Verte.

Personally, I would like to see Highgate Park extended down to the River Rea whilst there is derelict land there. We've seen the housing application for Moseley Street this week, and with other housing developments in the area the population is set to rise around there. I love the idea of a canal-side park in central Brum too, must be loads of scope for that in the central area.

I agree with others that tree planting in the centre makes for a more civilised and healthy environment so planting more trees where appropriate always a good idea.
 

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There seems to be improved public realm considerations to the masterplans we've seen in the past few years through Arena Central, Axis, New Garden Square, Paradise (to a lesser extent).

But I do share your viewpoint JD, the central core does need a signature park - and as much as I like Pidgeon Park & St Paul's Square, the benefits to a larger park would be huge and I also agree that the City Centre Gardens site would be perfect.

Extending the size of the current park, and ideally as far as the canal, which is a section particularly in need of regeneration, would mean it's closely located to the core Leisure zone, historic centre, and a short walk for what will soon be the largest concentration of office employees in the centre.


Thank you Ell, that was exactly the place for the location of the small park!

As you can see the City Centre Gardens site could easily be expanded out, possibly down to the canal area. I'm fairly sure that the council own the land surrounding the Gardens including the Towers and the car park; the Halls of Residence land I am not sure about but they do look like they need to be refurbished and given that they are affiliated with UCB (?) which is a public institution there should be room for negotiations.

There are two major problems however. Firstly how do you relocate the tenants from the towers? They are likely to be aggrieved as you can't get any more central than where they are and plus they have excellent on site public realm and car parking spaces. Tough decisions would have to be made but ultimately a great space such as this one should be shared by the many rather than the few. There shall surely be spaces along Digbeth High Street for people to move to which has the added benefit of the Metro.

The second problem lies with the Baskerville Wharf development - one which looks dull and unimaginative to say the least. I can only politely say that it would be regrettable if the proposal got the green light. I will let my thoughts known to the Council and question whether they could buy the land themselves.

The city will be changing a lot over the next 10 years and having had a look at sefton66's excellent directory thread it appears that over 13,000 households could be built within the ring road as well as all the student halls developments to accommodate the BCU move. Potentially then another 30,000 people will make the move to the city centre - a population the size of Wawrick. That doesn't include the office workers that move to the Great Charles Estate, nor Paradise, Arena Central or Brindleyplace who may use the park at lunchtimes. Nor does it include the young families who visit the park having been to the Sealife Centre or Legoland Discovery Centre.

All those people who move to or visit the city centre will factor in how liveable or attractive the place is. One well known way of achieving that is to have a fantastically located park in which to relax in.

If you agree with what I say can I ask that you provide me with a like as it helps to show that I have a decent idea here and it may mean that I will be taken more seriously by the Council. Alternatively if you disagree or think my position carries too many holes then let me know as I can refine it.
 

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There's a big pool of research into public open spaces. It's strange that the larger they are, the less they tend to be used (there are obvious anomalies to this) and ultimately they are less successful. People tend to respond better to smaller, more intimate spaces that are well designed.

The mental and physical health benefits of greenery is well documented and it seems that the favoured approach is to integrate greenery into everyday public routes and spaces rather than creating zones of green within the city. Birmingham is really well-served by open spaces - they might not be particularly well-designed but there's no shortage. The connections between these spaces and other key areas of the city can be vastly improved with sensitive landscaping.

Ultimately I see Birmingham needing to retrofit its existing spaces rather than create new ones as doing this could just amplify the existing issues the city has.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Highgate Park is definately overlooked and has a lot of promise. The views that you get from it are some of the best throughout the city. As people have said once residents move along Moseley Street and Cheapside it may allow the opportunity to invest more in the park.

I'm not sure how the park would move all the way to Smithfield however unless the Council decide to buy a strip of land.

In regards the change.org petition for a park I'm glad that o'flaneurie informed us about this. With signatures moving towards the 5000 mark it clearly indicates that there is a strong demand for a central park. However, I can't see it happening at the heart of the Smithfield development unfortunately. Why would an international investor go to the trouble of spending money on demolition work to then construct a park in which it receives no rental income? Only some really savvy politics would allow it to happen I can imagine. Also it would be right next to the Bullring and the new markets and so I would have thought further leisure facilities would be favoured for development purposes.

I don't think you can get any better than City Centre Gardens for location: it's in between the Jewellery Quarter and the canal developments which are existing residential areas. The best thing about it though is that the basis for a park is already there; you could even argue, going by Ell's photo, that it looks odd that towers have been allowed to be built on this 'park' - that the buildings themselves are the anomaly rather than the green space. It has similarities with Chamberlain Gardens in this respect.

If you read other media outlets there is a fair amount of disappointment that the Paradise development has not provided any significant open space in a central location. City Centre Gardens are right next door and the detractors may quieten down somewhat if there is room to have a lazy afternoon or a late night open-air Steve Winwood concert (?).
 

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Highgate Park is definately overlooked and has a lot of promise. The views that you get from it are some of the best throughout the city. As people have said once residents move along Moseley Street and Cheapside it may allow the opportunity to invest more in the park.

I'm not sure how the park would move all the way to Smithfield however unless the Council decide to buy a strip of land.

In regards the change.org petition for a park I'm glad that o'flaneurie informed us about this. With signatures moving towards the 5000 mark it clearly indicates that there is a strong demand for a central park. However, I can't see it happening at the heart of the Smithfield development unfortunately. Why would an international investor go to the trouble of spending money on demolition work to then construct a park in which it receives no rental income? Only some really savvy politics would allow it to happen I can imagine. Also it would be right next to the Bullring and the new markets and so I would have thought further leisure facilities would be favoured for development purposes.
I think that's the problem JD88, green spaces aren't seen as "adding value" by some developers, yet we know people are drawn to green urban spaces, so you could argue that they increase footfall therefore benefiting nearby shops and restaurants. They have their own intrinsic value of course - well documented physical and psychological and environmental benefits. I'd add another benefit in Brum's case - that of reputation. Kill that concrete jungle tag once and for all by ensuring built development goes hand in hand with green development.

And yes, the views from Highgate Park towards central Birmingham are fantastic!
 
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