Sasha Birksted, director at Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands, wishes we could banish street waste and clutter to make space to grow food
As I walk around central London I’m struck by public spaces soiled by litter, unnecessary signs and clutter, all of which create virtual ‘noise’ that confuses our senses – something we realise when we go to places with an absence of junk, like my family’s hometown Oslo, where there is much more visual calm.
Wouldn’t it be great if we could eliminate our urban waste and street clutter and use our cities much more productively? We could retrain street cleaners as gardeners, to plant trees, tend new pocket landscapes on reclaimed parking spaces (as is beginning to happen in some London boroughs), and go beyond this and actually harvest food on our thoroughfares? In the coming age of clean electric vehicles why shouldn’t our streets produce more of our food? Let’s stop fouling our cities and make an urban ecology that soaks up carbon and gives us joy.
Sasha Birksted is a director and architect at Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands with a passion for place-making and strong experience in commercial development, on projects ranging in scale from small urban new-build offices to vast residential-led mixed-use masterplans in London. She currently leads a team on a scheme including 120,000 sq ft of office space and a significant new public realm in front of Winchester railway station.
Image credit: Litter Photo: Brian Anthony / Alamy Stock Photo