On 26 November 2020, people from around the world tuned in to the Landscape Institute’s first ever online Annual Awards ceremony. No stranger to the small screen, presenter Julia Bradbury welcomed attendees: setting the scene for a unique virtual afternoon by discussing the delicate balance between people, place and nature and the crucial need to create habitats in which all flourish.
‘It’s been another record year for Awards entries, all of such an exceptional standard – especially in our new categories,’ said LI President Jane Findlay, broadcasting from the National Memorial Arboretum near Lichfield. ‘The pandemic has really highlighted the vital role that public space, greenery and nature play in our lives. The judges and I saw projects that retrofit our public green space, reimagine our public realm, transform our high streets, and make our cities more resilient to climate change with proper, in-practice sustainability – all such important tasks.’
Broadcasting from Brockwell Park in London, Past LI Chief Executive Dan Cook reflected on the important role our parks and green spaces have played this year.
‘Before the lockdown, too many saw these spaces as a luxury. As something nice to have, but not essential. But now more than ever, we all realise their importance – for health, nature, and wellbeing.
‘I continue to be impressed by the range of finalists and winners coming from all over the world. It’s great to see green and blue infrastructure combined to find creative and impactful nature-based solutions to the major challenges of our time. Whether it be climate, biodiversity, health or other social issues, we all need to work to accelerate this movement in the years ahead.’
LI President Jane Findlay went on to announce her choice for the 2020 LI President’s Award; a green space in the heart of a city that offers an inspiring example of new, nature-inclusive approaches to public realm design.
HTA’s redesign of Cator Park in Kidbrooke Village, London opened to the public last year. The design has returned nature to the city and challenged the perception that urban brownfield development can’t provide both social and ecological benefits.
‘Cator Park stands out for me as an inspiring example of bringing nature to the heart of a city for people to enjoy,’ Jane continued.
‘The park was originally a traditional green space in a residential development, all mown grass and shrub beds. But what impressed me was the foresight of the client, Berkeley Homes, to return to the project and retrofit it in line with their “Nine Concepts” for biodiversity.