Restoring Parkwood Springs – MA students visit site

MA Landscape Architecture students visiting Parkwood Springs

Second year students on the MA Landscape Architecture course, who are working on proposals for the redevelopment of Parkwood Springs, have visited the landfill site at its centre.

The trip was part of the Urban Landscape Planning module, in which students are tasked with designing a new type of urban park for the space.

Originally a deer park, the 144ha space north of the city centre, was later used for mineral extraction, power generation and waste disposal as well as housing the former ski village.

The area is slowly being transformed by Sheffield City Council, along with the Friends of Parkwood Springs and other organistaions.

The students’ project involves researching the site and its context and analysing relevant theory in order to produce a strategic plan and masterplan for their proposals.

Professor Eckart Lange, who leads the Urban Landscape Planning Module and accompanied the group on the trip said: “everyone looking out from the Arts Tower towards the Don Valley will have seen the Parkwood Springs site, some will have actually taken notice and highly likely no one will have visited the actual site.”

“It is a mindblowing experience being on-site. Not only because of the wind on the exposed slopes, but also because of the operations that are going on, visible and invisible.”

“Landscape architects are working together with engineers on the restoration planning. The process of restoration and capping of the site is already very advanced and parts of the site will be opened for access to the general public in the near future, thus turning it into a potentially valuable green space.”

Despite its mixed historic uses, Parkwood Springs retains the character of a natural, wild space.

The site is home to an abundance of species, including peregrine falcons, kestrels and sparrowhawks and comprises woodland, heath and open parkland, with a range of natural habitats, where wild lupins bloom.

Professor Lange added: “when looking from the site over Sheffield it is hard to imagine that one stands on a pile of rubbish that is 65m high - basically sitting in a big plastic bag. Because of its composition, over time it will consolidate and sink by approximately 25%. As part of this methane gas is produced, which is driving several generators feeding electricity into the grid. Methane gas is also a driver for climate change, cows are emitting it as well. An unused source of energy perhaps?”

“Similar to a compost bin that is left for a while the volume will settle, but also liquid accumulates at the bottom. This is what happens in a landfill site and as a result the leachate will be treated on the site as well.”

The MA students will present their final proposals to the Friends of Parkwood Springs.