Fleet Street, Boulevard of Broken Dreams?


From the Evening Standard, 13th October, 2017

One of central London’s most traffic-infested streets could be turned into a “green boulevard” as car use declines under visionary plans unveiled today.

London-based landscape experts have suggested Fleet Street could become the first major thoroughfare to be closed to traffic and used to improve air quality and enhance biodiversity.

A team at architecture firm WATG have teamed up with “guerrilla geographer” Daniel Raven-Ellison who is leading the campaign to have London declared the world’s first city national park. The proposals, which follow the collapse of the Garden Bridge project, would see new buildings in Fleet Street made out of a “modular, living building material” permeated with native wildflower seeds and containing its own irrigation reservoir.

Tarmac and space no longer needed for roads and car parks would be reclaimed, leaving only a narrow central cycle path where trucks laden with millions of copies of newly printed newspaper once thundered.

The so-called “green block” would also help connect parks and other open spaces to help the capital’s native wildlife move around. John Goldwyn, vice president of planning and landscape at WATG, added: “Our inspiration was to think about London in the future when there are fewer cars on the road and fewer car lanes. This idea claws back space from the roads and returns it to the people of London.”

Mr Raven-Ellison said: “To make a greener future a reality for all Londoners, we need to work together and leverage our collective creativity and resources.” The location of London’s first small-scale trial “green block” will be revealed early next year.

The London National Park idea has the backing of the Mayor.

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