A Business Improvement District (BID) is a not-for-profit collective of local businesses who have come together to help improve their immediate area. There are currently 47 BIDs in London, each of whom create, develop and fund projects that benefit local business and the community.
In 2008 ‘The London Plan’ the Mayor’s spatial development plan for London, introduced a new concept, ‘Green Infrastructure’ or GI including; green walls, living walls, roof gardens, rain gardens and ‘parklets’.
Increasing green infrastructure brings with it may benefits; Cooling the built environment and reducing energy consumption, improving air quality, improving health for residents, increasing wellbeing, enhancing biodiversity and creating attractive places where people want to be.
In 2015 Boris Johnson launched a new and more specific initiative called the “Wild West End” designed to link up Regent’s Park and St James’s Park with green ‘stepping stones’ to encourage more birds, bats and insects to the built-up busy streets. This initiative was handed over to the local BIDs. A variety of installations have since been put in place including green roofs, planters, beehives and bird and bat boxes to provide a permanent habitat for London’s wildlife. Adding wildflowers including oxeye daisy, birdsfoot trefoil, and field scabious attract butterflies and bees and create more natural habitats to provide foraging opportunities for robins, goldfinch and other species.
The London Wildlife Trust said it was a “fabulous step” towards attracting nature to the heart of the capital, and demonstrating “how wildlife can flourish amidst the hustle and bustle of the city centre”.
Boris Johnson said the initiative could transform the city for thousands of residents, workers and tourists. “London’s population is at an all-time high, so while we need to build new homes and improve transport infrastructure, we also need better quality green spaces,” he said in a statement. “There is absolutely no doubt that parks and green spaces in urban areas improve people’s wellbeing and quality of life.”
The widespread public benefits of the greening of public infrastructure mean that the delivery of GI has previously been seen as the role of the public sector and the challenge has been to make the case for businesses to invest.
Evaluation of Victoria BIDs Cleaning and Greening programme suggests that businesses increasingly recognise the value of Green Infrastructure in;
Attracting Customers – guiding customers to a retail space and making locations more inviting.
Maximising Spend – increasing the amount of time a customer spends browsing.
Motivating Staff – and retaining them.
Adding Value – working with suppliers and building relationships in the locality, giving back to the wider community.
Looking to the future, the ‘London Green Infrastructure Plan 2050’ projects ahead to our needs for the coming decades, it calculates that the capital will need the equivalent of 13,000 football pitches of new green cover by the middle of this century. These findings prove that green infrastructure projects are much more than nice-to-have and certainly not an afterthought. Green infrastructure is about conservation as much as it is about aesthetics. The future of land and property management will be more proactive and less reactive and better integrated with efforts to manage growth and development.
FM Manager or Eco Warrior? We can help you with a ‘GI’ project; Green roof, green / living wall, eco-friendly planting, roof gardens and more. Contact us today.