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Parks of the Forgotten Land


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A conceptual approach to understanding the City of Cardiff through its parks, and using landfill sites as key parts of an expanded green grid.

Published in: Design, Spiritual, Business
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Parks of the Forgotten Land

  1. 1. Post Industrial LandscapesThe Parks of the Forgotten Land Marga Munar Bauzá
  2. 2. This research started with an interest in how obsolete landfills could beintegrated as part of the layer of the structure of city parks.
  3. 3. Landfills have a determined life span defined by their size and the rhythmwith which they are filled in.
  4. 4. Until recent times, city landfill sites have been a measure of the size ofthat city, the type of society and the amount of activities happening there.
  5. 5. Therefore landfills are elements capable of being used to measure and understand a city and its society. Most cities have an area identified as landfill and in most cases, these areas are substantialFreshkills Landfill site in New York when operational
  6. 6. I wanted to explore how the landfills in Cardiff could be integrated as part of the network of parks and how this could be a great opportunity to give a clear structure to the city of Cardiff.Freshkills Landfill site in New York – the transition to parkland
  7. 7. Freshkills Landfill site in New York – the landscape masterplan
  8. 8. Growth associated with the Industrial Revolution created a public health crisis in our cities. As a result, service infrastructures were introduced which in turn affected the structures of cities.Sewers Map of London in 1930 – an alternate map of the City
  9. 9. At the same time as hidden infrastructure projects were transformingpublic health, there started to be a recognition for the need for morevisible “lungs” in the city, as people such as Haussmann (Paris), Cerda(Barcelona), and Semper (Vienna) recognised.
  10. 10. Now we are facing the dual challenges of dwindling resources and climate change, whichwill impact on the design of buildings and city infrastructures.This paper tries to explore how one particular structure of the city can be set, and how inthis specific case study we can define the way we read and understand the city.
  11. 11. Cardiff is revising the 1996 Local Plan. The vision for the city has also beenrevised and already agreed. T he vision is:“To ensure Cardiff is a world class European capital city with anexceptional quality of life and at the heart of a competitive city region.”This is general and could fit many medium sized cities in Europe. A visioninspires to celebrate, encourage and reinforce the uniqueness, the essenceof a place - To make the city distinctive in relation to other competitorscities.Nowadays this is not easy as most cities are driven by commercial interestsand it is nearly impossible to avoid the globalised image.
  12. 12. If we ask citizens and visitors of Cardiff; what defines Cardiff? They will respond thatCardiff is defined by its centres. Each of them with its own role, scale, aesthetics andprinciples.
  13. 13. For others Cardiff may be defined as a city with small centres and big neighbourhoods.This will be the view of some academics and planners working in the local authority.
  14. 14. For others Cardiff may be defined as a city with small centres and bigneighbourhoods. This will be the view of some academics and plannersworking in the local authority.
  15. 15. Big neighbourhoods, small city centres
  16. 16. Though most people will agree that the best assets of the city in conjunction with itsarcades are its big, medium and small parks.
  17. 17. >10% of Cardiff is dedicated to parks or green spacesCurrently has more than 137 parks
  18. 18. The parks are relatively new phenomena in cities. In Britain parks wereencouraged with the 1848 Public Health Act. Cardiff has gone through along and onerous journey in order to acquire land for parks, create themand maintain them. The parks reflect the big effort of the citizens and somebenefactors of the Industrial times. The parks are a consequence of theIndustrial time and the crowded city where citizens had the need for spacethe breath and distress in clean environments.•Cathays Park, 2.5 hectares, 1928•Bute Park (different phases): 1873, 1901 as a private garden to the castle.•Cathays Cemetery; at least at 1925•Roath Park; 1887, marquis of Bute, opened in 1894, 130 acres (0.53 Km2)•Heath Park; 1960s, 37 hectares•Thompson Park•Wern Gorch Park•Victoria Park, 1897, 20 acres•Barrage; developed 1990s, opened in 2001•Cardiff Bay Wetlands Reserve, 8 hectares, 19.8 acres, 2002•Thompson’s Park, after 1970s•Howardian Local Nature Reserve, 32 acres (13 hectares), ~ 1989. It was a refuse tip in the 1970s, largeproportion of the site was a landfill site.
  19. 19. It is interesting to see the correlation of the introduction of parks in the city of Cardiffrelated to the growth of the population. Some councillors have expressed their concernsabout the provision of green open space in relation to expected growth of population. Thisneeds to be considered with the cost of maintenance of green areas. . Now the parks canoffer a healthy, comfortable and exacting life style to its citizens and help to reduce theCO2 emissions. 1848 Public Health Act 1891 First Parks Superintendant
  20. 20. The WAG “Strategy for Sport and physical activity - Climbing Higher” indicates a commitment that no one should live more than a six minute walk (approx 300m) from their nearest green space. This exceeds the standards established in the Urban Task Force. Cardiff is close to achieving this aspiration, which shows the big commitment to and recognition of green space in Cardiff.Footfall; catchment area. 10 to 15 minutes walkDemographicsFacilities, open space, retail,
  21. 21. It is not easy to move through the city just by using green spaces. The axial direction workswell, however the radial direction is often fragmented.
  22. 22. Therefore there is an opportunity of linking the big major structural parks of the city withthe smaller open spaces to create different degrees of green linkages.As part of the structure of green spaces, the current landfill of Cardiff should beincorporated. Part of it has already been identified as green space. Though it is not link orpart of a structure. To get the most a green area is that it is supported with otherstructures and preferably with residential. Environment Agency Mapping showing historic landfill sites
  23. 23. Cardiff has already transformed some of the historic landfills intoparks, such as part of Roath Park (Roath Rec) and more recentlyGrangemore, near Grangetown.
  24. 24. It is proposed that the parks are a fundamental element of the city andbecome the structural elements. The entire city could be understood inrelation to the parks. The new areas for development will take intoconsideration this parameter. Therefore we are after a layer of city capableto organise and structure the city. For this the parks need to work asindividual elements but also as part of a whole (all the parks together).During recessionary times the city cannot contemplate large interventionswhich imply great expenditure of money. It needs to be the “little by little”intervention that will make the big and strong structure. Other things toconsider:1. Make it work for the users: Pedestrians and cyclists;2. With adding little interventions making the whole;3. Keep down the management cost of open spaces and parks;4. Involve the citizens: Ask them to take responsibility and give them rights.
  25. 25. The green spaces at present are like fingers entering the city and reachingall its different parts. This is very similar to a well-known abstraction ofurban growth in Copenhagen, but inverted: The “Finger Plan” for Copenhagen was introduced in 1948, and it has since formed an important basis for all further development. Train and bus lines service the “fingers” both radial and concentrical, and the inhabitants are assured short distances to the green structures between the “fingers”
  26. 26. The fingers will culminate with anchors (parks) of certain importance and with a morepublic character. These parks also could be understood as the interfaces between morepublic and commercial areas and the intimate residential areas.
  27. 27. Other smaller parks should be identified that interact with the anchor parks. The lines willhelp to form a grid. This will be a distorted grid to adapt to existing situations as much aspossible.
  28. 28. Therefore the linkages have great importance and all should be designed in relation to thecontextual requirements. This means that the linkages should be studied in relation towhat they link; which degree of linkage.Linking units to a local park. These links should be suitable for pedestrian and cyclists.
  29. 29. Linking unit parks to an anchor park. Where possible the infrastructure for pedestrian andcyclist should be improved. If a dedicated lane cannot be provided the speed road shouldbe controlled to 30/20 m/h max.
  30. 30. Advantages of this proposal:• Create a clear structure for the city;• Embrace a clear vision defining a loose way of establishing a criterion to identify development sites;• Promote neighbourhood areas making them stronger;• Enhance the sense of community through a way of living;• Develop a sense of belonging at different scales and with this a sense of respect for the environment;• Integrate cycle routes as part of the urban fabric from residential areas to the city centre.
  31. 31. The above strategies will help to set up a series of guidance that can bepresented to the City Council.The strategies won’t be developed in detail as it can take a long time todevelop and should be done in a piece-meal fashion. The guidance should Views of Cardiffset up the principles and aims with a direction but be open to alterationand adaptation to social, economic and political changes and also toaccommodate any contextual singularities for any area. (contextual meansphysical, social, economic, historic and political).