The government has set out its ambition for every household in England to live within a 15-minute walk of green space or water.

During the pandemic green spaces demonstrated a remarkable resilience and they are essential to the transformation of our cities into more desirable and sustainable places. This is a challenge, but urban density and green spaces are not inherently in conflict. They can complement each other to create vibrant and healthy cities. PLP’s mixed-use Bankside Yards masterplan in London for Native Land transforms a previously inaccessible site into a walkable biodiverse environment, reconnected to the riverfront.

The provision of green belts around towns is not a reason to leave the inner city without nature. The equitable distribution of quality green spaces is just as important as the benefits derived from them. In Milan, our collaborative proposal for Parco Romana places a large woodland and wetland at the heart of a new mixed-use neighbourhood.

Ease of access to green spaces creates truly liveable conditions and promotes a symbiotic relationship between urban and natural environments. We need to transform streets into urban ecological bio-corridors linking parks and gardens into an accessible multi-nodal network.

We also need to literally elevate green spaces into three dimensions to creatively use available sites in denser urban environments. In Tokyo, we are extending the Hibiya park into a high-rise development where it will cascade up over several elevated public gardens.

The resilience of green networks is a meaningful investment, public as well as private, for the future of our cities in which humans and the planet continue to thrive together.

Bernard Storch, partner, PLP Architecture