Landscape and the city

Earlier this summer, Professor Nigel Dunnett made a short film with the University of Sheffield Alumni Office to profile the role of the Department of Landscape in partnering with Sheffield City Council, businesses, and community groups to apply the skills, knowledge and expertise of staff and students into real development and infrastructure projects in the city.

The film features three projects, all of which have involved student input (either through studio design projects, or through individual ‘commissions’ to advance and produce design work and visualisations), and all of which have been facilitated by Sheffield City Council:

  1. Park Square - a collaboration between the Department of Landscape, Sheffield City Council, and Pictorial Meadows/Green Estate to transform the main city gateway roundabout from mown grass and shrubs into a diverse meadow-like area, with annuals, perennials, bulbs and coppiced shrubs.
  2. Love Square - a collaboration between the Department of Landscape, Sheffield City Council, and the site developers, Urbo. A temporary, pop-up, urban eco-pocket park with seating, edible planting, perennial and meadow vegetation, and a soon to be installed cafe kiosk made from converted shipping containers, with green roof, vertical greening, and habitat panels. The design for Love Square arose from MA1 and Level 3 B.Sc studio design projects, and was further developed with individual student input, alongside Dept staff.
  3. Grey to Green - a collaboration between the Department of Landscape, Sheffield City Council, and Robert Bray Associates landscape architects (SuDS specialists). The Grey to Green scheme is the UK’s longest retrofit green street and inner city greenway, and is unique in the UK in terms of its content and character. The concept for the scheme arose through early discussions between the council and Department of Landscape, and the scheme design was informed through input from MA1 and level 3 B.Sc ecological design studio projects. The planting design for the scheme was a collaboration between the Department of Landscape, and City landscape architect Zac Tudor.

Nigel said: "all of these projects have applied the research experience and concepts of staff in the Dept of Landscape in relation to sustainable urban planting and ecological design, and have all involved an interaction of that research knowledge with live studio teaching projects, and individual student input to achieve results that would never have been possible if the city and developers had attempted these ambitious or innovative schemes on their own. They have now all become, or will become, important teaching and demonstration projects in their own right, and also are actively generating research, PhD and dissertation topics, and academic and popular publications. It’s an example of a distinctive potential future direction and role for a University landscape architecture school: one which is actively contributing to the making and shaping of the city in which it is based."