Broad Street Moveable Planters
Broad Street sits in the heart of Oxford, surrounded by historic buildings, cafes and bookshops, the street was pedestrianised in October 2022 to create an accessible and welcoming space to encourage local residents and visitors to the city to meet, relax and socialise.The temporary scheme, which includes 83 bespoke WoodBlocX moveable wooden planters, seating made locally by students as part of the charity RAW and seasonal and native plants and trees supplied by Oxford Direct Services, was designed to provide increased access to green space, promote wellbeing, and create a greener cityscape whilst encouraging the reduction in the use of cars visiting the city centre.The design for Broad Street was visualised by Atkins Global and Milestone Infrastructure and has been closely monitored by Oxfordshire County Council to see how people interact with the new street furniture, the time spent using the space and any changes in transport habits such as increases in walking and cycling and what impact this has on air quality. Users of the space have been actively encouraged to provide feedback by scanning a QR code. The feedback is posted live and available for anyone to read online.Since opening, the space has been popular with local tourist groups using it as a meeting and resting place, locals are using it as intended, and those working in the city regularly use it for lunch breaks. The council also uses the space for entertainment, including live music, dance and street fairs. Broad Street, over the spring and summer months, has been a bustling and vibrant space, the planting, added back in October, has bloomed and the scheme has received many positive comments about planters bringing much-needed greenery to the area. The scheme will remain in place until spring 2024, and depending on the successes and feedback, it may be repeated in the future. Cllr Andrew Gant, Cabinet Member for Highways Management, Oxfordshire County Council said: “The Broad Street project is a key part of the vision prioritised by the Oxfordshire Fair Deal Alliance to enable more access to green spaces and to nature in the city and county. It’s an absolute delight that so many people are using it – from tour groups incorporating it as an attractive meeting point and sightseeing stop and events benefitting from it to the many dropping in daily to meet friends, enjoy their lunch break, or just to take a few minutes of calm in our busy lives. “This has been a very special team project, with a real commitment to delivering not only a seating amenity, but a feel for the benefits more dedicated urban green space could offer, and to doing so with community and sustainability – two of the city’s most important values at the very heart of it.” Dan Mclearnon from WoodBlocX said: “This has been an exciting project to be involved in. From working with Atkins Global on the initial planter designs through to seeing the plants in situ in Broad Street, Oxford County Council has created an ambitious project and it will be interesting to see the results in full. Whether the temporary project will be repeated or not, the design of WoodBlocX moveable planters allows for them to be easily removed, stored and reused in other locations across the city.”To find out more about Broad Street’s moveable planters read the case study.