Architecture / Cities / Events

Community gardens and green roofs

Image courtesy of Kay Davies, Oxford Green Roofs

Image courtesy of Kay Davies, Oxford Green Roofs

Going home last weekend made me think how much I have missed the sense of safety and network which can be easier to find in a smaller town or city than in London. Also I found how much I have simply missed having some green spaces to visit when the stress levels get too high. So I was delighted to research community gardens in London and the surrounding area for this week’s post.

It seems I am not the only one in London who longs to see a bit of green or to meet some of their neighbours as community projects and particularly those concerning the creation of some more attractive living spaces. This idea links closely with green roofs as the definition of a green roof is an intentionally vegetated space (basically a bit of moss growing on a rooftop don’t count) hence many roof and community garden projects overlap. There is a reason that London is one of the only two cities in England, along with Sheffield, which has a policy to encourage people to put green roofs on their homes.

Roots and Shoots is a garden site in Kennington Greater London which has an important educational function as it is a place where young people with learning disabilities, social or emotional problems can acquire vocational training. As well as this, it is an important site for urban biodiversity and provides a venue for charities and non profit organisations.

Image courtesy of Kay Davies, Oxford Green Roofs

Image courtesy of Kay Davies, Oxford Green Roofs

Roots and shoots also plays host to several activities for example an upcoming event, on the 17th of March, is Frog Day.  It is thanks to a pond that was put into the site a few years ago by the wildlife charity Froglife which is now well established and is home to plenty of animals. There will be storytellers and stalls with people selling plants a chance for families in the area to have a day out which is both centred on nature and might encourage people to get to know some of those who life in their area who share an interest in the environment.

Barracks Lane Community Garden in East Oxford is a centre for those in the area with either a specific interest in permaculture, particular plants, or those who simply want to spend time in relaxing and attractive surroundings.

The garden has had some work done to it by Oxford Green Roofs a family run company that installs green roofs and also help to maintain them. In the case of Barracks, the company also helped to organise activities such as the building of a “bug hotel” by some local children. This is an example of how the creation of a project related to the natural world can bring different groups of people together.

Interview with Kay Davies, one of the directors of Oxford Green Roofs:

Interview with Joe Hasell Gardener at Barracks Lane Community Garden:

Interview with Linda Phillips director of Roots and Shoots:


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