Creating a town within a garden...
The 'Oasis Green Trail' project aims to kickstart the regeneration of a greener Ipswich and become a model of excellence across the UK. More trees and green spaces in the town centre, and along the waterfront will improve the environment for residents, staff, students and visitors, whilst encouraging people to engage in healthy, outdoor and communal activities. By helping to create a vibrant atmosphere and improving the footfall between the town centre and waterfront, the project will play a key role in regenerating Ipswich.
Example of a living wall in Covent Garden, London. Photo: Gambrick
One of the key elements is to have a 'green trail' starting from Christchurch park, running through the town centre and then along the waterfront. A range of methods will be used to create the trail:
Tree planting - trees will be planted appropriately to allow for future green growth whilst reducing CO2 levels and the impact of climate change.
Planters - where it is impossible to plant trees, high quality planters or containers will be considered to add further greening.
Green or ‘living’ walls - these can be on a small or large scale, with potential for these to become an attraction in their own right (example above).
Green roofs - small-scale planting of the roofs of structure such as bus stops, or large-scale "garden roofs" on buildings with roof space (view University of Suffolk Waterfront Building example).
Pocket gardens - transforming small spaces with planting, view the example below: the Physic Garden at The Hold in Ipswich.
Sunken ‘rain’ gardens - these may play a future role in reducing surface water as we become increasingly vulnerable to severe ‘flash floods’.
‘Mobile’ green sculptures - permanent or temporary sculptures made from reclaimed or recycled materials that may incorporate planting.
Hanging baskets or window boxes - mostly likely outside shops and businesses along the trail route; helping to create a more attractive atmosphere.
Nature-themed murals - street art murals inspired by Suffolk's nature and wildlife; with potential for these to attract visitors (view example of Banksy's work in Lowestoft).
Physic Garden at The Hold, Ipswich. Photo: Richard Bloomfield
Ipswich has had great success in the past with creating trails, such as Elmer’s Big Parade, and we would expect that many of the businesses along the route, who could benefit from the extra footfall, would support and help maintain planting elements.
People living in the town centre may have little or no nearby access to garden space, so we would want to encourage residents and local community groups to look after the trail and feel ‘ownership’ of it.
With a climate emergency upon us and the COVID crisis reminding us of the need for clean air and green space for human health, the benefits for everyone of this green trail are clear.
From a business perspective, Ipswich’s newly buzzing, eco-friendly, and attractive town centre will attract visitors, shoppers and even businesses looking to relocate.
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