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Inspired by nature

Green spaces in cities has been a recurring theme and this month, the panel of witnesses helped us to think about how to design, engineer and create parks, gardens and other green spaces so that they benefit people's health, their wellbeing and the environment.

Our first witness was Andrew Grant, the Founding Director of Grant Associates. He is known for a creative approach to ecological / sustainable landscape design and recently, he led the design team on the £500 million Gardens by the Bay project at Bay South in Singapore. The 54 hectare park explores the technical boundaries of landscape and horticulture in an Asian city and won the Building Project of the Year Award at the 2012 World Architecture Festival.

He joined Dr Ross Cameron, from the Department of Landscape at the University of Sheffield. He is a landscape horticulturalist and his research centres around green infrastructure and climate change mitigation, with a strong emphasis on providing recommendations on choosing plant species to provide ecosystem services such as city cooling, thermal insulation, flood tolerance and biodiversity enhancement.

Our third witness was Professor Felicia Huppert, Emeritus Professor of Psychology and Director of the Well-being Institute at the University of Cambridge.  She is also part-time Professor at the Institute for Positive Psychology and Education at Australian Catholic University. Her principal research interest is well-being across the life course. Her work is unusual in that it brings together traditional approaches from cognitive psychology and neuropsychology with a population perspective derived from epidemiology. Working with outstanding colleagues in cognate disciplines (biomedical science, genetics, psychometrics, social science, economics and engineering) she has been able to integrate her work on both well-being and positive ageing with an understanding of underlying physiological mechanisms, gene-environment interactions, and the role of the social context.

For more information about these meetings, please follow the links on the right or e-mail Dr Rosamunde Almond ()

Located on reclaimed land in Singapore’s new downtown at Marina Bay, Gardens by the Bay is one of the largest garden projects of its kind in the world and the 'supertrees' designed by Grant Associates are iconic vertical gardens, displaying tropical flowering climbers, epiphytes and ferns.

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The changing climate will have a big impact on the way we garden and in a report published on 26th April 2017, the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) highlights the importance of the environmental services provided by gardens and presents recommendations on how gardeners can adapt to climate change through plant choice and garden design.

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