Whilst working for Grit and Pearl LLP, a multi-disciplinary public art consultancy in the UK, I was asked to respond the City of Sunderland’s request for proposals for a series of ‘City Gateways’. Wishing to avoid a ‘sculpture on the roundabout’ approach, I chose to build on Sunderland’s reputation as a place rich in Sites of Special Scientific Interest and abundant green spaces and parklands, with an ambitious strategy for long term plan for interventions that would make the city more green, more liveable and more sustainable.
I proposed developing the city’s green infrastructure by re-imagining the main routes into the city as a series of linear parks, with new or extended cycleways, transport interchanges, community gardens, median and verge habitats, artworks and walking paths. The idea was to generate a whole of Council approach to the care and presentation of the city, and to challenge the city to develop its capacity for joined up thinking as a crucial step in moving towards sustainability.
The study consisted of mapping the city’s existing green infrastructure, a series of precedent studies in ecological art works, mapping stakeholder interest, from community groups, scientific groups, council departments.