ESG concerns have dominated rhetoric in real estate for the past few years, and the conversation continues to build momentum.
Grand, revolutionary ideas are being raised in all corners of the market – but bigger does not always equate to better when it comes to devising innovative, sustainable approaches to development. In fact, on sites spanning many acres, you can have an outsized environmental impact in the smaller, less-thought-of spaces.
At Mammoth 602 – GLP’s latest development in the north of England and the largest building currently under construction in the area, totalling 55,905 sq m (602,000 sq ft) – we have teamed up with the charity Earth Watch and Rame Consulting to introduce a sustainability initiative known as Tiny Forest.
In urban areas, environmental issues such as flooding, heat stress and loss of biodiversity are a concerning reality. Creating natural havens within our developments is an imperative for GLP, along with enhancing wellbeing and local communities.
The concept at Mammoth 602 is a small but densely planted collection of varied species of trees, which will encourage biodiversity and carbon sequestration. The forest will measure only 200 sq m – just the size of a tennis court – but will support more than 600 saplings.
Featuring natural pathways and informative signs, the forest will also have an educational focus, while benches provide an area for quiet reflection and time in nature. Employees at Mammoth 602 will be able to enjoy the environment, but the space will also be available for educational groups to learn about the concept and take pleasure in the surroundings.
Tiny but powerful, the forest will bring multiple benefits – reconnecting people with nature and raising awareness of environmental issues, helping to mitigate the impacts of climate change and providing a nature-rich habitat to support wildlife in the heart of an urban landscape. The development project includes an engagement programme to support the local community and provide social benefits, engaging volunteers to maintain and monitor their forest over time.
Through this collaboration, GLP is able to integrate the local community into the project and align the firm’s commercial values with sustainable practices. Mammoth 602 will also be one of the UK’s largest buildings for net zero carbon construction. Ultimately, what is special about the forest is not its size, but what it offers to the surrounding community and environment – proving that small things can still pack a punch.
Adrienne Howells is development director of GLP
Let the good times roll on a little longer
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Bigger isn’t always better