In 2017, London Mayor Sadiq Khan declared a bold challenge for the people of London: transform the capital into the world’s first National Park City, by designating 50% of its footprint to green spaces. Inspired by the idea, this global architecture and design firm issued an internal challenge of its own: how can landscape architects claw back space from the roads and reclaim them for the people?
Green Block was the result: a maintenance-free, recyclable modular building material permeated with native species, and containing its own water reservoir and root barriers to ensure it can be easily applied anywhere – on bollards and bus stops, vertically or horizontally, on buildings or entire roads, and beyond.
The idea that you can transform anything into a beautiful green space, presents exciting opportunities for our urban spaces. Everyone and everything benefits from greener cities: increased biodiversity and oxygen, natural air filtration, reduced risk in flood-prone areas, new habitats for pollinators, happier people, and extra street appeal for cafes and restaurants – all of which, importantly, have a knock-on effect for livability, tourism, revenue generation and more.
Green Block lends itself particularly well to an urban transformation as it is removable, recyclable and does not damage existing infrastructure. Best of all, it requires no hardscape infrastructural modifications. The London concept alone generated so much interest – over 1.4m views on Twitter – that it inspired additional thinking to roll out in New York City (2020) and Honolulu (2021).