Birlingham wetland to double in size

Planners have agreed to a proposal to double the size of the Worcestershire Wildlife Trust wetland to 34 hectares. The wetland in Birlingham is set to increase biodiversity and increase water flora and fauna. The water will be supplied by a wind pump the river Avon into the wetland of four ponds. The land to be used for the wetland is currently a meadowland that was flooded regularly and attempted cultivation for farming has failed.

SOURCE: Eversham Journal

RIBA Future Trends Survey – outlook optimistic

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) announced its July 2009 results of its monthly Future Trends Survey, marking the start of the third quarter monitoring business and employment trends affecting the architecture profession.

The trends emanating from last month’s survey continue to highlight a steady return to some optimism; only 18 per cent of practices were expecting a decrease in workload, compared to 21 per cent in June. Practices predicting an increase in workload also rose from 31 per cent in June to 31 per cent in July, a further indication that practices continue to grow more confident about their work outlook. The number of staff that are currently underemployed also continued to decrease from 23 per cent in June to 22 per cent in July.

The most significant change in workload predictions has occurred within the public sector, which rose from just 16 per cent in June to 29 per cent in July. There was also an improvement in the commercial sectors, with expectations for growth steadily increasing from 13 per cent in June to 16 per cent in July. However, there was minimal change within the private housing sector, with workload predictions remaining constant at 24 per cent in June and July.

Changes in predictions for staff retention were positive overall, with 11 per cent of practices expecting staff levels to increase over the next three months, compared to 8 per cent in June. The number of practices expecting staff numbers to be cut decreased further from 16 per cent in June to 13 per cent in July; 76 per cent of all practices expected staff levels to remain constant over the next three months, which is a minimal increase from 75 per cent in June.

SOURCE: RIBA

High Speed Rail gathering speed – Op-ed

News in the USA and UK over the last few days has been humming about High Speed Rail initiatives in both countries.

In the USA news is reaching fever pitch over High Speed Rail as the details of submissions for the US Government’s $8 billion high speed rail initiative start to appear.

Routes currently being reported are the $830 million route between Chicago and Detroit a new 110 M.P.H. train that will cut the travel time from Detroit to Chicago from 6 hours to 4 hour.
California  applied for
$1.1 bullion for including San Jose to San Francisco line (Bizjournals),
New York State applied for $565 million of stimulus funds for 38 passenger rail projects (NYDOT),
Pennsylvania submitted applications to the federal government for $28.2 million(PR-USA)
NJ seeks $38.5M in high-speed rail funding (NJBiz)

Virginia wants $75M for high-speed rail (Washington Business Journal)
Maryland seeks $360 million for rail upgrades (The Baltimore Sun)
Texas Requests $1.8 Billion For High Speed Rail Project (KWTX)

Florida asks feds for $270 million for commuter rail (Orlando Sentinel)

These are just some of the submissions for the stimulus. I find it an amazing about of money to spend on commuters across such a vast country. One has to hope that this is not all just spent on high-speed trains between cities but also improving of city suburban rail systems. I look forward to the next round of submissions for more rail stimulus funds in October.

Today in the UK, a report was released by Network Rail for plans of a £34 billion, 200m.p.h. high speed rail line running along the west coast on the UK from London to Scotland. The interesting thing is that the train is not only being seen as a commuter train but also as the low carbon option to cutting emissions from domestic flights, cars, trucks. The train will run from central London to Manchester with a diverging line to Birmingham. The line will then continue to Preston with lines diverging to Warrington and Liverpool after which the main line will continue to Glasgow and Edinburgh.

The plans in the USA and the UK are very impressive, however I have wonder how much is achievable with so many projects being submitted at the same time with large monetary figures for high speed rail weighted against the demand over the next 5-10 years for expertise, skilled technicians and engineers. Will there be a shortage or will this put more people back to work?

I think these projects will take a long time to implement as there are a limited number of train companies Bombardier, Alstom, Siemens, etc who only have so much capacity within their factories. This factor is critical as currently there is a large demand from China, India, and Brazil for high speed trains and expertise.

I hope that governments will achieve these ambitions not just because it will stimulate the economy of the cities and companies building the networks, but will also have some impact on reducing emissions. Lets’ hope these projects are fulfilled and they don’t get lost inside the bureaucracy of governments.

SOURCES:
Freep.com, BizjournalsNYDOT,, PR-USA NJBiz, Washington Business Journal, The Baltimore Sun, KWTX , Orlando Sentinel, Network Rail (UK)

By Damian Holmes – 26 August 2009

Adriaan Geuze (West 8) interviewed by Wall Street Journal

J. S. MARCUS of Wall Street Journal recently interviewed Adriaan Geuze, founder of West 8.

Marcus asks Adriaan questions relating to the discipline of Landscape Architecture and the difference between landscape architecture, architecture, and planning. Also queries Geuze about why landscape architect stays regional in comparison to building styles which go global. The interview continues on chatting about a West 8 project and West 8’s home city of Rotterdam. An interesting interview with one of the world’s leading landscape architects.

Goto Redefining Urban Spaces – WSJ.com to read the full interview.

What is Crossrail?

You may have noticed coverage of Crossrail at World Landscape Architect and other sites. So I thought it best to summarise what Crossrail is and who is involved.

Crossrail is the new high frequency, convenient and accessible railway for London and the South East. From 2017 Crossrail will travel from Maidenhead and Heathrow in the west to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east via new twin tunnels under central London. It will link Heathrow Airport, the West End, the City of London and Canary Wharf.
Cross Rail Connections Thumbnail

Click Image for Enlargement – Image Credit – Crossrail

The full list of design Crossrail contractors and their appointed architects is:

Station

Design consultant

Architects

Paddington

Scott Wilson

WestonWilliamson

Bond Street

WSP

John McAslan & Partners

Tottenham Court Road

Arup/Atkins

Hawkins Brown

Farringdon

Scott Wilson

Aedas

Liverpool Street

Mott MacDonald

Wilkinson Eyre

Whitechapel

Hyder

BDP

Architectural Component
design

Atkins

Grimshaw & Partners

Additionally the stations at Canary Wharf and Woolwich are being delivered by Canary Wharf Group and Berkeley Homes Group respectively.

SOURCE: Crossrail

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