In London, this is achieved by identifying existing patches of un – or under-developed land, of parks or playing fields and then planning and designing their inter-connection. Generally, roads provide the connecting element. Careful consideration of access requirements and circulation patterns usually indicates a number of roads that may be closed to through-traffic (see Plates 6, 7 and 8).
In London, for example, a cycle path running all along a particular CPUL would allow a person living in East Croydon (circa 20 km south of the city centre) to reach the city centre by bicycle in about an hour.
The fields proposed for the Manor Estate in Sheffield (see Figures 25.8, 25.9 and 25.10) provide a landscape resource for the city of Sheffield,
allowing people to wander through and between urban agriculture sites and activity fields. As houses are built, the productive urban landscape provides a context into which they are placed. Contrast this with much current development on the edges of cities or on brownfield sites, where new houses are built adjacent to derelict wasteland. In this proposal for Sheffield a two-way partnership is established. New residents are in close proximity to a living landscape, like a large garden, or an emerging fragment of countryside. The city gains an evolving landscape, a place of intrigue for the curious, a place, which because of its evolving character, can become a focus for discussions about future urban development. By being an active place, it will provide a catalyst for a communal debate about future development strategies.
Plate 7 shows the large number of existing parks and under-used patches of open space which, with a relatively modest number of road transformations, could allow one to move unimpeded across London within a landscape with rural characteristics, a landscape of urban nature.
As a network of productive urban landscapes develops, and grows, so accessibility is enhanced in two directions. Paths are developed which can extend from the city centre outwards, towards fields of urban agriculture and in the opposite direction, paths develop, leading from suburban fringes into the city centre. Figure 24.1 from the previous chapter shows an area of land adjacent to Victoria Park, which despite its proximity, was physically and visually isolated from access to landscape. In the proposal, we see how landscaped fingers can create a physical connection between different-sized fields of urban agriculture, a park and dwellings. Thus, boundaries become blurred and in this way positive qualities of one condition are introduced to the other condition. So the suburb gains access to the theatre, and the central business district gains access to the landscape. We can claim with some certainty that these benefits will arise, as the shortcomings of each are shortcomings of omission, rather than an inherent weakness in the qualities that already exist in a particular location. For example, suburbs offer generous open spaces, views to the horizon and access to sunlight, whereas city centres thrive due to a compact arrangement of cultural and social venues. A productive urban landscape set in a network of continuous landscape provides direct connections, supplemented by public transport, between these different areas and activities. Suburban dwellers gain a pleasant walk to work. City dwellers get a walk into the countryside, like a weekend escape.