Medium_uel_portrait_sq West London gets a green makeover

03 Dec 13:11

Stuart Connop

TURAS brings its #turasGI green infrastructure monitoring expertise to support the @GroundworkLON housing estate retrofit in @LBHF

Green roof urban cooling. Thermal image of pram shed roofs and a flat roof at Richard Knight House, London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, demonstrating the cooling benefits of retrofitted small-scale green roofs compared to traditional flat roofs. ©Stuart Connop (SRI).

Groundwork London are working in partnership with Hammersmith & Fulham Council and local residents to design and implement climate change adaptation measures on three housing estates, adapting them to be more resilient for the future. The LIFE+ project is aiming to demonstrate that urban housing estates can play an important part in adapting our cities to cope better with climate change, primarily by implementing water sensitive urban design measures on the estates (

The collaboration is delivering this adaptation through three different mechanisms. Firstly, through the retrofitting of affordable green infrastructure solutions to manage stormwater, support biodiversity and create urban comfort zones. Secondly, by creating social economic development opportunities through training and employment for housing and grounds maintenance contractors for these housing estates and others as the ideas from this project are up-scaled more widely. Thirdly, by providing opportunities for residents to get involved in the co-design and co-creation of their open space, and promoting awareness about climate change and climate change adaptation.

Small-scale green roofs. Pram shed roofs retrofitted with small-scale biodiverse green roofs using ecomimicry of local brownfield habitat at Queen Caroline Estate, London Borough of Hammersmith and Fullam. ©Stuart Connop (SRI)

Now that the majority of green infrastructure interventions are in place, Groundwork are developing a monitoring programme to better understand the benefits of the interventions. Ultimately this will lead to greater understanding of the cost/benefits of retrofitting green infrastructure to housing estates and will unlock the up-scaling of such initiatives across London and beyond. In order to support these ambitions, TURAS researchers from the University of East London’s Sustainability Research Institute (SRI) are bringing their expertise in urban green infrastructure monitoring to the project. The SRI are working towards quantifying the biodiversity, stormwater attenuation and urban cooling benefits of the new green spaces.
SUDS in action. Retrofitted swale at Queen Caroline Estate, London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, in action during a 6 mm rain event, November 2015. ©Stuart Connop (SRI).

The monitoring programme has involved carrying out floral surveys on green roofs to investigate the effect of roof design in relation to vegetation performance and recording other species observed utilising the roofs. Researchers are also visiting the site on the warmest and coldest days of the year to take thermal images of green spaces and surrounding hard space to look at the cooling and insulating benefits of the green infrastructure interventions. Lastly, they are investigating the stormwater retention and attenuation benefits of various interventions by taking photos of the Sustainable Urban Drainage System (SUDS) interventions during heavy rain events and installing monitoring equipment, in partnership with RS Hydro Ltd, to capture real-time data on stormwater management performance. All images and data analyses will be made available to residents to ensure that they can see some of the benefits of the newly installed systems. When on site, SRI researchers have received positive feedback from residents who are very happy about the improvements already made to the estates.

If you are interested in the latest research from UEL SRI check out their twitter account @

Biodiversity retrofit. Common carder bee (Bombus pascuorum) foraging on clover in a retrofitted swale at Queen Caroline Estate, London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham. ©Stuart Connop (SRI).

Keywords: Groundwork London, urban green, SUDs make sense,