Marshalls has today launched its national ‘Campaign for Better Landscapes’ which calls for both public and private bodies, as well as individuals, to seriously consider the societal and individual benefits of creating ‘better landscapes’ in our towns, cities, public spaces and our private gardens. The campaign urges us all to take positive action by engaging with the social, economic and environmental benefits and to make the purchasing decisions which deliver these benefits.
Research from the UK and the USA continues to show that communities with higher quality built environments lead a better quality of life, regardless of affluence or whether they are urban or suburban neighbourhoods.1 Chris Harrop who leads on Sustainability at Marshalls says that Marshalls is committed to campaigning for better landscapes and the positive impact that this can make: “The benefits are absolutely clear in social, environmental and economic terms. Better landscapes improve happiness and wellbeing, promote community values and have been proven to reduce crime and the associated cost to society at large.”
Harrop acknowledges that the social, economic and environmental benefits to be realised from creating better landscapes are complex and all inextricably linked, and believes that many of the problems now facing the globe can be attributed to the breakdown between people and their environment. He says: “It has been identified that human beings are naturally inclined to seek habitats that care for the environment. This is essentially the basis for the drive towards sustainable development and highlights the need for 21st century built landscapes to work with natural surroundings and influence our management of the landscapes that we create.”
The ‘Real Value of Good Street Design’ research project undertaken by Colin Buchanan for CABE, the government’s advisor on architecture, urban design and public space, supports what Marshalls is seeking and states that ‘Well-designed buildings, spaces and places contribute to a wide diversity of values and benefits. These range from direct, tangible, financial benefits to indirect intangible, long-term values such as improved public health or reduced levels of crime.’
Harrop continues: “The cost to society of dealing with the fall-out of poorly designed, executed and maintained landscapes extends to a plethora of issues including for example; anti-social behaviour which can result in vandalism and crime; difficulty for some members of society in using a poorly constructed environments or where inappropriate products have been specified; environmental issues such as the levels of water accumulating; the environmental cost regarding products with high CO2 emissions from production to disposal; health related issues of a poor built environment resulting in illness and societal breakdown. All of which can be translated into financial costs which is ultimately picked up mainly by individuals through taxation. The CABE report demonstrates how benefits can be realised and calculated from investing in better quality street design and how public and private values can be incorporated and realised.”
So, as the UK embraces the ‘good life’, Marshalls is calling loud and clear for everyone to join its Campaign for Better Landscapes and to make educated decisions when deciding to make changes to the landscape for which they are responsible.