The 2017 City in Bloom challenge asks residents, businesses and community groups to create street level planting to help raise awareness of air quality in the City and spread the word on how to mitigate exposure to pollution. Plants can improve local air quality by trapping particulates. New air quality planting is popping up in the Barbican Golden Lane and St Bart's Low Emission Neighbourhood and across the City.

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Moor Lane Pop up Garden Day One 8 June

Thursday morning 8 June outside the site in Moor Lane and volunteers were waiting for the galvanised steel pipes to be delivered. 

The design called for 57 pipes, individually cut to size to provide the planters for the new garden. 

Two lorries arrived, piled three pipes deep, but thanks to the wonderful team from MACE/Alandale from the 100 Moorfields construction site everything was safely unloaded and stacked on site. 

Volunteers included residents from the Barbican and Golden Lane estates and the Heron, Milton Court, together with graduates from the Architecture and Landscape Design MA, University of Greenwich.

Each pipe was anchored in place with a layer of aggregate, loaded bucket by bucket. It's amazing how heavy a 14 litre capacity bucket weighs filled with aggregate (about 25 kilos). And by the end of the day it felt far more! 

In total we shifted 10 jumbo bags of aggregate weighing about 17 tonnes and 13 bags of soil, all supplied by Bourne Amenity

For the largest pipes, plastic buckets were placed on top of the aggregate to reduce the the weight and save on materials. Ten redundant bomb-proof  street litter bins, together with 17 dustbins no longer required on Redrow's refurbished Blake Tower disappeared into the largest pipes.

The designers sorted out the placing of the pipes - in an amphitheatre along the back railings and curving round the edges of the site.

End of Day One, pipes in place and back row secured

Thursday, 1 June 2017

Air Quality Challenge clean and green for seventeen

In the City, like all densely urban areas with busy roads, Nitrogen dioxide and fine particle levels arising from diesel vehicles are often at or above EU Air Quality Standards. Research has shown that plants and trees can improve local air quality by trapping particulates - see 

In the City's first Low Emission Neighbourhood (LEN), funded in part from the Mayor's Air Quality Fund, the Barbican, Golden Lane and St Bart's area has been selected as a pilot for interventions designed to improve air quality. Creation of a new pop up garden in Moor Lane will encourage pedestrians to use low emission routes across the City. This and other street level planting across the City are not only helping to improve air quality but enhancing biodiversity and turning our grey streets green.

Moor Lane pop up garden

Artist's impression of Moor Lane pipe garden
Construction of this pop up garden from 57 galvanised steel pipes will start on 8 June. The design was created by three brilliant young landscape designers - Maddie Gunn, Ed Scobie and Mei-Ling Schmid, collectively Studio Xmpl. The installation will be entirely by Friends of City Gardens volunteers with the support of the City Gardens team. The garden will transform a dingy area of wood chip into a stunning green space filled with trees and plants that will help filter out fine dusty particles from surrounding construction sites and road traffic.

The garden is expected to remain in place during the three-year life of the LEN project and perhaps beyond.

Crossrail Farringdon pop up garden

Another Studio Xmpl design using repurposed ducting and pipes from Crossrail Farringdon. The Crossrail team are building the site over the weekend of 3/4th June and it will be planted by volunteers on 5 June.
Site under preparation