The term 'forest' is an imaginative name for describing the project. Bankside has a rich network of streets and open spaces. The character of these small clearings of pocket parks, within Bankside's medieval street pattern, evokes the idea of a forest. The strategy is not literally to turn the area into a forest, although it does create opportunities for greening, using trees, planted walls, and other means.
Since its launch in 2007, Bankside Urban Forest has planted over 250 trees, increased green cover in the neighbourhood by more than 1000m2 and improved over 10,000m2 public space across the area.
Although the strategy introduces elements associated with green infrastructure and resilience of the city, there are also important social and economic imperatives in the project. By adopting an ecological approach to designing and investing in the public spaces and streets in the area, there are greater opportunities to support local economies and conserve historic street patterns and connectivities.
• Bankside Urban Forest encourages investment in streets and other public spaces by working in partnership with public and private sector partners.
• Bankside Urban Forest delivers imaginative and high-quality improvements through engaging with local residents, businesses, developers and landowners.
• Bankside Urban Forest promotes greater exploration, footfall and cycling across the area by implementing projects that green streets and help reduce traffic speeds.
• Bankside Urban Forest helps to improve the local connections between green spaces, amenities and where people live and work.
• Bankside Urban Forest provides a common vision for Bankside's public realm, so that investment joins up to connect new developments with established spaces.
Launched in 2007, Bankside Urban Forest is a long-term partnership project that works to improve the network of streets and public spaces between the riverside and Elephant and Castle, spreading the benefits of regeneration deeper into the Borough. Bankside Urban Forest is about making Bankside a better place to live, work and visit. It is a strategy for enhancing public spaces – including streets, pavements, squares and parks – in the Bankside area.
Bankside Urban Forest is co-ordinated by Better Bankside on behalf of the wider Partnership. Through the initiative large and small scale projects can be implemented. Large scale projects such as Flat Iron Square or Great Suffolk Street are then complemented by a range of smaller scale community focused projects, which aim to engage people in the the work of the Forest, and make connections between people and places in Bankside.
Bankside Urban Forest works closely with local community partners Bankside Open Spaces Trust, Blackfriars Settlement and Bankside Residents Forum.
Bankside Urban Forest is proud to be part of the Mayor of London's Great Outdoors programme.