Synergy News & Blog: London Office

A measure of open space

A measure of open space

The lockdown has increased my yearning for open spaces. When we return to the office, in my case at Trafalgar Square, the joys will still be there for rediscovery!

Originally a mews, Trafalgar Square became a busy street junction named Charing Cross after the nearby Eleanor Cross. Opened up from 1812, the Square became a public cultural open space.

The upper level is the forecourt of the National Gallery, completed in 1838 by architect William Willkins, linked by a staircase to the lower level which includes Nelson’s Column and the fountain. The four bronze lions were placed there in 1867, designed by Edwin Landseer.

Sitting on the steps below the National Gallery to eat my sandwiches last time, I unknowingly rested my feet on the standard Imperial measures of length, nicely set into the granite paving in brass. Here’s where you can check the length of a perch, a pole, a chain or a yard.

Little did I know then to check the length of 2m separation which is sadly the measure of the day.

One of the principal aims of planning and design is to improve quality of life. Hard to measure, yet universally understood, it is about placing greater importance on improving the experience of living in our cities, towns and villages.

Our open spaces are key to this, meeting a range of social, environmental and health benefits as well as making areas more attractive. That is why creating, protecting and enhancing these spaces is such a vital part of making neighbourhoods more  attractive and healthy, and more joyful places in which to live and work.

Image 1 -Trafalgar Square: Photo by DAVID ILIFF. License: CC BY-SA 3.0

Image 2 – Bunker’s Park in Hemel Hempstead: Photo by Jenny Howard

Posted on 7/4/2020

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