Our bursary awardees 2020

2020 has been a year to reassess priorities and imagine how things can - and should - be different. So that's what we asked students of landscape architecture and urban design in the UK to do. The responses tackled thoughtfully a range of issues, revealing the power of empathetic design. The future appears to be in imaginative hands.

Students from the University of Edinburgh, Manchester School of Architecture, Writtle University College and the University of Sheffield have been awarded LDA Design’s 2020 Bursary from a diverse field.

The bursary, worth £1,000 each, also includes the opportunity of a paid work placement with us.

We asked students to draw on their experience of this unexpected year to demonstrate how cities can better support people by reimagining an existing or new piece of city, ensuring it becomes more liveable and more responsive to climate breakdown.

The winning multi-media entries include a reimagining of Ravenscraig steelworks; a new inner-city station park in Edinburgh; a sustainable new landscape masterplan for within Chelmsford’s green belt, a lovely linear park for the elderly and a wild vision for London’s Grade II* listed Hammersmith Bridge.

Congratulations to Anjali Savansukha, Ben Adams, Beth Francis, Guang Yang and Yu Ou (joint entry), and Katherine Pears.

The LDA Design judging panel of Andrew Harland, David Wesselingh, John Simpson, Rihards Sobols and Marina Soldova remarked on the high standard of this year’s submissions, which were evenly divided between undergraduates and postgraduates.

Thriving on forbidden ground

Remote working in a restored post-industrial landscape drives Anjali Savansukha’s proposals for the wasteland left behind by the razing of Ravenscraig Steelworks in Motherwell. Anjali reimagines the site as a new type of business park, with the polluted grounds and water bodies remediated using plant-based technologies, which in turn could also make the site a learning centre. A network of boardwalks would connect biodiverse-roofed shipping containers serving as rentable studios for workshops and creatives, with visitors and residents using the boardwalks to run, walk, cycle and skateboard across the site. Renting a studio would also mean signing up to contributing to the communal gardens.

Meggetland Station Park 

When walking through Edinburgh’s Harrison Park during lockdown, Ben Adams was struck by the fact that there were so many people doing every day things that it didn’t feel like being in the middle of a pandemic at all. Lockdown highlighted the importance of parks for daily exercise, providing opportunity and stability. In a short video, Ben  imagines a new social linear park making use of dead-end spaces and a large inner-city train depot, currently a source of noise and air pollution. Reclaiming this land for local people could be part of a plan to improve cross-city connections, providing multiple socio-economic benefits.

Greening Chelmsford Post-Covid: Harnessing the River’s Energy

Beth Francis’s proposals in support of a green post-Covid recovery centre on a masterplan for Sandford Mill within the Chelmsford green belt. Her masterplan reconnects the people of Chelmsford to the river’s edge, through a system of broadwalk pathways, raised cycle paths and tramways. A hydromill will generate green energy from the river to power tramways. Restored wetland meadows and wet woodlands will be a lovely new asset, providing easy access to nature for new housing developments in the area.

Rethinking the linear park for all ages

During lockdown, Guang Yang and Yu Ou were struck by how badly the elderly, especially those shielding, have been affected. They believe that landscape architects and urban designers will need to better address our ageing population and the possible impacts of future pandemics. Their ideas for age-friendly public space rest on creating more accessible, age-specific and interactive environments. They propose a new type of linear park that is permeable, sustainable, with spaces for ecological restoration. It is also vertically varied to meet diverse needs and has user-specific spaces for the most vulnerable. A focus on inter-generational activities will help to counter loneliness.

The Hammersmith Wild Bridge

Katherine Pears argues for reclaiming space for people rather than cars. In 2019, Hammersmith Bridge was closed over safety concerns. It will cost £46million to stabilise it for people, and up to £141m for vehicles. With car ownership down significantly is it time to do something new? So, Katherine reimagines parts of the bridge as a wild bridge – a shared growing space for the community and a wildlife corridor, which also supports active travel, connecting the densely-populated Hammersmith with larger, open spaces in south London. Planting will follow pioneering green-roof approaches, eliminating extra load concerns – a carpet of sedum with patches of wildflowers will offer texture and seasonal colour.

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