I was brought up on a fam in Yorkshire at a time when farming transitioned from traditional, often ancient, practices to something more industrial. I was about 17 when I saw the consequences. Medieval fields and hedgerows flattened, trees isolated and left to die, diversity replaced with monoculture.
I went to Herriot Watt University and Edinburgh College of Art to study Landscape Architecture. A small profession but one with potential. We are about creative solutions to ecological problems.
I moved to Bath over 30 years ago and this has been my base for exploring how we can contribute to a better world.
One thing I learned early on is that you can only do so much on your own. You need friends and collaborators. I struck lucky in Bath as there are so many real thought leaders and practitioners all seeking ways to fight for solutions to the climate and biodiversity emergencies.
This gets to my point in that Bath is really pioneering and influential in the world of development planning and design to fight the climate and ecological emergencies. Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, Buro Happold and my company Grant Associates have been instrumental in establishing a new manifesto for design that seeks to reconcile our approach development with the need for a carbon neutral world full of life. Check out UK Construction Declares for more details.
I have always tried to make sure Grant Associates explores innovative ways to project the idea of people and nature and their connections. Through our work we have set new benchmarks for the way we plan and design our cities. We designed the iconic Gardens by the Bay in Singapore and multiple smaller local projects. To be featured by David Attenborough’s films is probably the highlight so far.
Meanwhile the authorities of Bath are also engaged in this key issue. The Council has declared a Climate and Ecological Emergency. I can also confirm many other partnerships and initiatives looking for practical ways to respond to the challenge.
I just really wanted to say this is not just about individuals being activists. Bath has a big belly full of people and organisations who want to fight climate heating and ecological destruction. We are not alone and we have a brilliant collective of energy, experience and commitment right here in the city. We can make a huge difference.