Blooming bridge set to transform Thames and bridge building across the world
Imagine crossing the River Thames atop a carpet of wildflowers, grass and trees…this elevated proposed plant-packed pedestrian crossing is growing closer to reality after the public consultation for the UK’s first ever ‘Garden Bridge’ was brought forward.
The living garden bridge, a shared vision of London 2012 designer Thomas Heatherwick and actress and campaigner Joanna Lumley in response to Transport for London’s tender to improve pedestrian links across the Thames, will be a connective crossing with a difference.
Thames green bridge plan blossoms as green crossing span the globe
Designed as a public parkway, it’ll be a flourishing footbridge where commuters and tourists can enjoy the scenic surroundings and riverside views as they make their way from South Bank to Temple. Evolving and changing with the natural cycle of the seasons, the Garden Bridge will be a unique addition to London’s and the UK’s horticultural heritage.
Early plans are now blooming into reality with the Garden Bridge Trust – formed to bring the project to fruition – holding a public consultation until 20 December, whilst digging deep to raise enough private funding to build and maintain its £150m, tranquil transportation vision.
Planning permission is set to be formally submitted next year but as the Thames Garden Bridge sails closer to reality, how have other green walkways fared across the globe?
Mile End Bridge, London
London actually already has a green bridge, but the bridge in Tower Hamlets is a mere seedling sibling to the proposed new Garden Bridge.
The vision of local resident and architect Piers Gough, it’s nicknamed the Banana Bridge due to its colourful underside and unites Mile End Park as one glorious, green whole, providing a wide and welcoming tranquil traverse for cyclists and pedestrians, across the major Mile End Road which separated the park’s areas until completion of the bridge in 1999.
Ecoducts, The Netherlands
Leading the list of green crossings, the Netherlands features over 600 ecoducts. But these planted pathways aren’t for people, but to protect wildlife.
Covering major roads and highways, the Netherlands boasts the world’s longest ecoduct wildlife overpass. Completed in 2006, it’s 50m wide and over 800m long, spanning a railway line, business park, river, roadway and sports complex.
The High Line, New York
A mile-long public park high above the streets of Manhattan, the High Line is a former freight railway line transformed into an extraordinary elevated green paradise.
Already drawing comparisons to the Green Bridge, architect Heatherwick says that like the High Line, London’s Garden Bridge will have “places to have trysts, plot, plan or propose.”
Perhaps it’s also hoped that the Garden Bridge will have the same community support as the High Line. Local residents formed the group, Friends of the High Line, when the track was faced with demolition, fighting to save and redevelop the historic line. The non-profit Group now works with New York’s Parks & Recreation to make sure the High Line is maintained, working to raise more than 90 per cent of the park annual operating budget.
Take a walk on the wildflower side: The new crossing set to transform the way we bridge the gap
So what do you think of London’s Garden Bridge? Is it a green cross code for future bridge building? Or is it truly a bridge too far? Have your say here