Landscaping the Park

We set out to transform one of the most under-developed areas of London into a benchmark 21st century sustainable, urban district. 

Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park is the largest new urban park in the UK for over a century, and represents a relatively new movement in landscape design: "green infrastructure".  This means a landscape that not only acts as a park in the sense we normally understand it, but which works hard as an integrated part of its environment.  

For example, it will have a role in enabling new transport routes, community activity and sustainability strategies, encouraging biodiversity and managing the effects of climate change such as  tackling the urban heat island effect and providing sustainable urban drainage systems that can effectively manage changing rainfall patterns. 

To do this, we have developed a new kind of park, breaking the mould of traditional park design. Built around and between the existing infrastructure and developments within the valley, it is part of the surrounding city, rather than being set aside and protected from surrounding urban fabric and activities. 

The Park is designed to be clean, green, safe, inclusive, multi-functional and beautiful, so that it rapidly becomes loved by its surrounding communities and will provide a rich diversity of experiences for all ages, giving opportunities for celebration, commemoration and enjoyment.

Design expertise

The design of the Park was led by world-class landscape architects, working for the London Legacy Development Corporation itself as well as the partners chosen to develop each area.  The coordinating 'clients' behind the design and transformation phases of the Park were John Hopkins and Dr Phil Askew, both building on a lifetime of work in developing new approaches to urban parkland to develop the strategies behind the Park.   

This fits within the wider context of the approach taken by the LLDC in designing the venues, infrastructure and new neighbourhoods around the Park.  You can read more about that here.

Biodiversity and sustainability

As a piece of 'green infrastructure', the Park is designed to have a positive effect on the sustainability of the surrounding developments, minimise any negative effects of its construction, and increase biodiversity with the creation of hundreds of new habitats.  You can read more about our approach to biodiversity and sustainability here.

Design priorities

Within this context, we prioritised a number of considerations in the design of the Park's landscapes:

  • Great amenity, play and recreation
  • Health and wellbeing
  • Psychological benefits, Education, Connectivity
  • The drama of the site and its topography
  • Culture, arts, skills and training
  • Improved micro-climate
  • Biodiversity
  • Integrated water management
  • Energy generation
  • Resource management
  • Waste management and minimization
  • Local food production
  • Regeneration
  • Community cohesion
  • An inclusive place
  • Public benefit