Eastside City Park, Birmingham, Craig Holmes; Eastside City Park, Birmingham, Craig Holmes;

Eastside City Park, Birmingham, UK

Eastside City Park is Birmingham's first new park in 130 years

The project has transformed a brownfield site into a sustainable park area with a variety of habitats, formal and informal spaces. Stretching from the city centre out into Eastside, past Curzon Street Station and Millennium Point, the park provides 14,300 square metres of landscaped green space. Arup provided the engineering design for the project.

Arup worked in close collaboration with the client Birmingham City Council and architects Patel Taylor, alongside the contractor and specialist supply chain to deliver the £12m scheme from initial concept through to construction. The result is a superb public space with water features, trees and attractive green spaces, public conveniences, office and retail space.

A sustainable space for the city

Arup used its SPeAR system to assess the project’s sustainability – considering environmental, social, and economic factors, and the use of natural resources.

At 2.73 hectares, the park doubles the amount of open space in the city centre and creates an important new green lung for the city. Including 300 trees in a planting scheme designed to boost biodiversity, the park will have a positive carbon impact on the area.

In order to ensure a low maintenance scheme, high quality materials have been used for durability and longevity, for example by using a thin layer of granite for the pavement layer meant the long term maintenance of the surface would be reduced and require less cleaning.

The design also followed the site’s topography to minimise the quantity of material that had to be removed from the site to landfill, minimising utility moves.

Where possible, materials have been sourced locally, and a waste neutral policy was adopted by re-using materials on site and segregating construction waste into different waste streams, again to reduce the amount taken into landfill.

Further still, the design has been future proofed ensuring that future developments will not have a negative impact on the park. The proposed High Speed 2 Station and the park will sit harmoniously with one another.

Connected

With the scheme re-worked to accommodate High Speed 2 and its planned Curzon Street terminus when they were announced, the park is well served by public transport. It provides clear pedestrian links to the city centre, accommodates cycle routes and has plenty of cycle racks – reducing reliance on cars. CCTV and illumination ensure people can use the park safely at any time of the day or night.

Throughout the project, the design team worked with the contractor and park managers to find ways to reduce the cost whilst maintaining the quality and the guiding design principles. The strong partnership between the client and the project team enabled the park to be delivered on time and on budget.

Community

Local people were recruited and trained for the construction of the park, helping to improve employability and create a sense of local ownership. The park also gives local people easier access to city centre amenities and employment. Given the park’s proximity to some of the UK’s most deprived neighbourhoods, this was a particularly important aim of the project.

Eastside City Park is at the heart of Eastside‚Äôs regeneration, providing a world-class space for local people, workers and visitors, and is a continuing catalyst for the development of high quality buildings and spaces across the quarter. ” Sir Albert Bore Chair of Economic Development and Leader of Birmingham City Council

Innovation through design

In order to ensure a low maintenance scheme, high quality materials have been used for durability and longevity, for example by using a thin layer of granite for the pavement layer meant the long term maintenance of the surface would be reduced and require less cleaning.

The design also followed the site’s topography to minimise the quantity of material that had to be removed from the site to landfill, minimising utility moves.

Where possible, materials have been sourced locally, and a waste neutral policy was adopted by re-using materials on site and segregating construction waste into different waste streams, again to reduce the amount taken into landfill.

Further still, the design has been future proofed ensuring that future developments will not have a negative impact on the park. The proposed High Speed 2 Station and the park will sit harmoniously with one another.


Carbon positive

The park will have a positive carbon impact on Eastside and its surroundings, and also help mitigate further impacts of new built developments in Eastside.

The soil in the park will provide a carbon storage mechanism which has the capacity of holding three times as much carbon as the atmosphere and five times as much as forests.

Lighting and security

The lighting scheme is designed so the key routes and spaces are well lit 24/7, whilst secondary areas have low level feature lighting to minimise power use. CCTV cameras give improved security throughout the park, monitored 24/7, minimising the need for fencing.


Thermal cooling

The design uses grass, shrubs and water for the large proportion of its surfaces treatments, which will ensure a cooler, wildlife-friendly surface as Eastside develops.

Drainage

The design of the park has increased the area of permeable surfaces from 25% to 52%, the soft landscaped areas allow surface water to drain naturally via infiltration, thereby reducing both surface water and reliance on combined foul sewers. In addition, the park contains a large subterranean storm water attenuation tank that serves the whole district, and the water feature uses harvested rainwater to minimise the demand for mains water.

Sustainability

A holistic approach to sustainability was adopted at the early stages of design. Arup’s ‘SPeAR’ system assessed sustainability in terms of environmental, social, and economic factors, and the use of natural resources.

The transformation of a City Centre brownfield site, with previous light industrial and commercial uses to a public park in its self is inherently sustainable, making a green lung with over 300 new trees.

In its entirety, the park provides 3.4 hectares of public amenity space, where people can stop, relax and enjoy a colourful and aromatic landscape. It also forms a vital part of The Big City Plan. It is this space that will draw people into Eastside, enhancing the economic prosperity of the area and driving new development. The park’s incorporated and interactive science garden, linked to the neighbouring ThinkTank Science museum, will also encourage children to explore and learn about their green surroundings. 

Awards

  • British Construction Industry Award (BCIA) - Regeneration Award

  • Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) – National Award Winner and West Midlands Building of the Year

  • West Midlands Institution of Civil Engineers Awards (ICE) - Sustainability Award Winner and Chairman’s’ Award

  • Entente Florale Europe – Outstanding Public Green Space Winner