In May 2022, Barnet Council declared a climate and biodiversity emergency. Therefore as designers, we need to take urgent action toward greener and more climate-resilient high streets and public spaces. The introduction of SuDs, rainwater gardens, and permeable surfacing materials is the long-term goal towards mitigating surface flooding and poor air quality - but these also need local stewardship from businesses and residents to be successful in terms of ongoing maintenance. Food poverty is also at an all-time high, with children turning up to school hungry and the use of food banks in the UK at record levels. Supporting local food growing initiatives can work towards reducing food poverty locally and build towards local food resilience.
Our proposal is a testing and prototyping of these long-term goals by delivering a multi-stranded ‘planters with purpose’ project that includes a series of movable timber ‘barrow’ structures on the high street that will facilitate growing and greening workshops and an accompanying schools co-design programme.
Project by Mark & Cristina for London Festival of Architecture, with GROW.
The timber ‘barrow’ structures can work and interact together as an installation in a number of flexible configurations - or separately apart - and can be moved to various locations along the high street. Using these structures, GROW will run a series of educational workshops using the planters and street furniture that will seek to up-skill local businesses, residents, and school children about greening and growing uses; including growing healthy food, circular economy, and fighting the climate crisis.
We will also run a number of co-design sessions with local school children to design and develop a graphic identity in collaboration with Maddison Graphic which will be used to create signage, a community noticeboard, and wayfinding for the structures - and also be ‘breadcrumbed’ across the high street.
During this process a bespoke ceramic green tile will also be designed and produced to clad the ‘barrow’ structures, taking influence from Green Shield Trading Stamp Company which was based in Premier House on Station Road.