Greenwich Peninsula’s redevelopment was planned to be a showcase of sustainability and environmentally friendly development. In the original management plan there were many individual projects that set out to make the peninsula more ‘green’. Please note that changes in circumstances have made some of these planned projects different or even redundant.
Greenwich Peninsula Management Plan 2001
The 2001 Management plan created by English Partnerships is the source of much of the original sustainable development carried out at the Peninsula. While the Plan has been superseded much like English Partnerships itself it is still an important document and the ideal it set out is still relevant. You can find a copy of the full plan here.
Millennium Village was designed to be a cutting edge combination of environmentally friendly houses and modern design. The famous architect Ralph Erskine was behind the award winning design. The area was built to to have energy saving qualities, be highly sustainable and have a local community orientated ethos. The project is still ongoing with more building under construction and others still in planning stage. You can find a copy of the GMV master plan here.
Inter Tidal Terraces
The Inter tidal terraces were introduced as a part of the original management plan for the Peninsula. They were built as a showcase of environmentally beneficial alternatives to a standard river wall. Along the river many different types of terrace can be seen, with variation of gradient, plant life and accessibility.
The terraces were very successful in increasing biodiversity to this section of the Thames, it provided breeding grounds, and ideal habitats for many types of fish and bird species. Unfortunately, as time has passed many parts of the river terraces have become degraded or even lost. The Environmental Agency released Riverbank design guidance for Tidal Thames that documents how it was designed.
There are several parks in place across the Peninsula and all were designed to give the area excellent green spaces for recreational and environmental purposes, to benefit both wildlife and local people. Two of the parks on the Peninsula, Southern Park and Central Park, were designed with the idea of combining open green spaces with forested areas. The last park on the Peninsula is the Meridian gardens, these gardens border The O2 on the end of the peninsula. It was designed to emulate the former wetland habitat of the area, to still be affected by the tidal Thames, and to be home to temporary exhibits. Unfortunately, the gardens are currently cut off from the public, due to security reasons regarding The O2, and have been neglected in recent years.
One unseen element of the Peninsula are its roof gardens. Many of the apartment complexes contain private roof gardens for the benefit of their residents. They were built to provide accessible green spaces for the residents and to act as an alternative to a garden, as the housing built on the Peninsula consists mainly of apartments.
The use of water recycling and grey water recycling was supposed to be a part of the Peninsula’s sustainability. The Dome (now The O2) was built to recycle the rainwater from its roof for use in its toilet facilities and to provide water for the wetlands in the Meridian gardens. Unfortunately, these particular elements no longer function after the Dome ceased to be a host to the third millennium celebrations. Another planned element was for the buildings in the Millennium Village to reuse greywater (water from basins and baths etc.) for flushing toilets, watering plants and supplying the Ecology park with rainwater. As of this time however these features have not been implemented.
One unique feature on the Peninsula is the Sainsburys supermarket. It was built to be a cutting edge example of combining modern architecture and green building techniques. The site was opened by Jamie Oliver in 1999, and was even nominated for the prestigious Stirling prize in 2000 (one of the great European architecture awards). The building was often dubbed the “supermarket of the future” for its use of green spaces and excellent use of natural light and ventilation. Unfortunately, as of 2015 the Sainsburys has now moved to a larger building elsewhere, and is to be replaced with an IKEA furniture store.