The Green Web
By Damir Alispahic
A proposal to transform streets, to create a green connection in Oval / Camberwell, between Burgess Park and nearby local green areas.
London has had a long history of environmental initiatives and implementations. Since the reign of Elizabeth there have been numerous attempts to regulate the growth of the city, which have found their practical examples in The Metropolitan Green Belt (1938), an open green area preventing urban sprawl; South East London Green Chain (1977), a linked system of open spaces between the River Thames and Crystal Palace Park.
London National Park City is the latest initiative by the Mayor of London and several other organisations. It is set to deliver greener, healthier, and wilder cities. London was the first city in the world to sign the National Park City charter in 2019.
However, in a city with an ever growing population it is becoming increasingly difficult to create new green space to complement new buildings. There are good examples of cities cleverly reusing ex-industrial land or former transport infrastructure for greening, suitable because of their central location within city neighbourhoods. The most successful example of this is the High Line (2009) in Manhattan, a linear park created from a former elevated railroad.
There are several examples of similar linear parks created in recent years in London too: Parkland Walk, connecting Finsbury Park and Alexandra Palace; and Surrey Canal Path, connecting Burgess Park and Peckham.
If the trend for removing cars from city centres, and public transport and cycling become the dominant travel options, could a city in 2050 repurpose some of its roads for the creation of new linear parks, eventually creating an uninterrupted network of green, bike and pedestrian friendly spaces?
The Green Web could introduce much needed additional cycling, running and walking routes, and significantly increase the number of trees, reducing pollution and capturing carbon.