Trees in Hard Landscapes seminars – Reimagining streets for greater sustainability: the role of trees

by | May 5, 2016 | Featured Slider, Latest, News

In June the Landscape Institute will be running a two-part cross-disciplinary exploration of the latest research, technical solutions and project examples for the contemporary use of trees in streets and the wider public realm.

The fundamental principles of Manual for Streets and Manual for Streets 2 in England and Designing Streets in Scotland are:

  1. the creation of better places; and
  2. encouraging and providing for people to walk, cycle and use public transport.

Performance specifications for the public realm are also increasingly shaped by the need to adapt to on-going climate changes, particularly in respect to surface water management. How can landscape elements, and especially trees, contribute to these objectives? Where are some good examples? What are the key success factors and technical solutions design professionals should be aware of?

Two half-day seminars combining presentations and debates will explore these questions, drawing from the content of the Trees and Design Action Group latest publication: Trees in Hard Landscapes: A Guide for Delivery (2014, 164pp). The guide is available as a free download at

The first seminar on Wednesday 15 June is entitled ‘From roads to safer, better streets – using trees to empower sustainable transport solutions’. Landscape elements, especially trees, have a critical role to play in contemporary approaches to street design where reduced separation, contextual (rather than standardized) solutions and a more human scale responding to desire lines provide a basis to achieve lower vehicular speeds and increased user awareness as well as a more attractive environment where people want to spend their time.

Rich with insights from civil and highways engineers as well as a tree specialist with a strong track record in working creatively with street trees, this seminar will explore the evidence base demonstrating the relevance of such approaches, the ways-of-working it requires, as well as the above and below ground solutions available to make it a lasting success. It will be relevant to designers working on contemporary streetscape projects and transport professionals involved in sustainable transport plans delivery. The event will be chaired by Robert Huxford, director, Urban Design Group.

Speakers include Rupert Bentley-Walls, director, EcoArb; Anne Jaluzot, Green infrastructure planning consultant; Paul Morris, Senior Associate, Civic Engineers; and Professor Alan Simson (tbc) of Leeds Metropolitan University

The second seminar on Wednesday 22 June is on ‘SuDS in the public realm – making the most of trees’. Performance specifications for the public realm are increasingly shaped by the need to adapt to on-going climate changes, particularly in respect to water management. With often over 100 hectares of surfaces available for water interception, absorption or evapotranspiration, a well-integrated street tree has a lot to offer to water sensitive urban design. In the UK, the latest edition of the SuDS Manual by CIRIA now includes a chapter exclusively dedicated to trees, and an increasing number of local authorities and infrastructure managers – including water companies – are trialling designs that use trees and their rooting environment to create attractive, safe and water resilient streetscapes.

At a time when Transport for London has commissioned a SuDS Guidance for the capital’s red routes, this seminar will explore some of the key principles, available technical solution and inspiring examples of collaboration between green and grey professions around streets, SuDS and trees. It will be particularly relevant to designers working on contemporary streetscape projects as well as sustainability and drainage specialists involved in flood risks prevention and sustainable water management.

Speakers include Owen Davies, flood risk manager, Royal Borough of Greenwich; Martin Gammie, director, Consulting with Trees; Anne Jaluzot, Green infrastructure planning consultant; and Stephen O’Malley, director, civic engineers.

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Image credit: Leonard’s Circus: London Borough of Hackney

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