Sustainable London Projects

2 Innovative and Sustainable London Projects

London isn’t only the main financial European hub – it’s also one of the most innovative and sustainability-oriented cities of the “Old Continent.” Indeed, many at PowerHouse Growers have been following how London’s “green” start ups, like Solarbox, have managed to find support from local authorities and appreciation among Londoners.

Moreover, this positive context is attracting more skilled people and funding opportunities, which act as a boost for the development of sustainable businesses and projects.

Evidence of sustainability in London can be found in the following two projects, recently supported by London’s authorities, which plan to build an underground cycle path and a garden bridge.

The Garden Bridge

The Garden Bridge, approved last December by London Mayor Boris Johnson, is a planned pedestrian bridge designed by the English Architect Thomas Heatherwick and inspired by actor Joanna Lumley’s dream of “a place with no noise or traffic where the only sounds are birdsong and bees buzzing and the wind in the trees, and below the steady rush of water.”

The bridge is expected to open to the public in 2018, to span 367 metres in length and 30 metres in height at its widest point, and to connect Temple station with Southbank.

It will be populated by trees, shrubs, and wildflowers, and it promise to provide to Londoners and tourists an unique walking experience across nature over the Thames.

According to the project’s website, the Garden Bridge has been designed to be “somewhere to meet and spend time, with education and volunteering opportunities so people can get their hands dirty, helping with the upkeep of this new community garden’. ‘It will also provide a new link between cultural centres and tourist attractions on the north and south banks.”


Garden Bridge, source: the Guardian.

The project will cost £175 million, £110 million of which has been funded by private donors and £60 million by Transport for London and the Treasury.

High public expenses and sentiments of the project being unnecessary have generated some criticism around the project. However, it’s been estimated that as much as seven million trips will be made across the bridge every year.

Mayor Johnson supported it, stating:

“The garden bridge will provide a fantastic new landmark for sustainable London whilst supporting regeneration and economic growth on both sides of the Thames. It will create a stunning oasis of tranquillity in the heart of our city and boost our plans to encourage walking in the city.”

London Underline

The London Underline is a project, proposed by the San Francisco based architecture firm Gensler, that won the “best conceptual project” at the 2015 London Planning Awards.

The project proposes the creation of a network of subterranean walkways and cycleways readapting the abandoned Tube tunnels and other London’s subterranean structures. It also aims to provide underground retail and entertainment spaces, creating new opportunities for business and reducing pedestrians’ pressure on “traditional above-ground” roads, as well as providing a funding opportunity for the project itself.

In order to cover part of its running costs, the project designers plan to implement a kinetic flooring technology to generate electricity.

The areas identified for the project will include the disused Piccadilly Line branch from Holborn to the abandoned Aldwych station, and a path from Green Park to Charing Cross. This network will be accessible and linked with the existing London Tube system.

London Underline Project, source: Gensler (Youtube)

This proposal had a great success, being praised by London’s Mayor, as it addresses many of the city’s needs. Indeed, the streets of central London suffer high congestion levels, and according to Gensler’s estimations, the city will need to increase its overall energy supply by 20% and its transport capacity by 50% in the next ten years.

Still at it’s early stages, this Sustainable London project could be supported if the feasibility studies will be supportive, it could become reality in the coming years.

About The Author

Adriano Pilloni
Adriano, 25 years old, is a Master Graduate in Environmental Economics and Development from Rome Three University (Italy). During his education he developed a deep knowledge on Economics and a keen interest on Economic Theory with particular regard to energy markets, sustainability, environmental and agricultural issues. He has been proactive during his university time doing many projects and being elected by the students as Advisor of the Economics Dept. of his University. With two other students he developed a project on Food Sustainability which has been selected in the top 30 of the international Barilla contest "BCFN YES! 2013". He did the 2014 European edition of Extreme Blue, IBM's premier internship program for both graduate and undergraduate students. Now he is working as Junior Power and Gas Analyst at GDF SUEZ Italy.