WIT Press

Learning From Experience: Creating Sustainable Urban Greenspaces From Brownfield Sites


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WIT Press


G. Sellers, T. R. Hutchings & A. J. Moffat


Russia Dock Woodland Park and Bow Creek Ecology Park (formerly Limmo Peninsular Ecology Park) were created by the London Docklands Development Corporation (LDDC) on brownfield sites in London. The original designs failed in part (Russia Dock) or in full (Bow Creek) to be sustainable. This paper reviews their history and development and highlights the lessons that could be learned. Bow Creek Ecology Park (Grid Reference: TQ391812) is a 2.5 ha greenspace in London Docklands. The design was ambitious consisting of six separate ecology zones from chalk grassland to fenland maintained by a complex sluice and wind powered water pumping system. Russia Dock Park (20 ha) is in Southwark (Grid Reference: TQ361798) where derelict wharf areas were utilised to create a wetland ecosystem surrounded by fast growing woodland. Water levels and flow were maintained by a sophisticated pumping system. The main failings at Bow Creek were that the wind pump system could not maintain the wetlands. Habitat areas were also small, so succession became difficult to prevent and the habitats began to merge. This was compounded by the lack of long-term funding available to maintain this restoration, or staff with the skills to run such a complex design. Similarly at Russia Dock, the pumping system, and thus the wetland ecosystem, failed and a general decline followed. In 2002, an improvement programme redeveloped the park on a more sustainable scale, improving the woodland planting scheme and simplifying the original water habitats. This study demonstrates that public consultation, the creation of low maintenance water pumping systems, and the provision of long-term aftercare programmes made during the planning stages of development can make a considerable difference to the sustainability of new greenspace containing wetland features. Keywords: sustainable, greenspace, brownfield, woodland, ecology, Bow Creek, Russia Dock, wetland, ecology park.


sustainable, greenspace, brownfield, woodland, ecology, Bow Creek,Russia Dock, wetland, ecology park.