On Feb. 11, Victoria Business Improvement District (BID) in central London released the Victoria Vibrancy Report 2014. The report reveals a landmark 4-billion-pound (US$6.7 billion) investment in making the district a better place to live, work and visit. Part of this investment will go toward improving the district’s sustainability with a 10-year strategy to create more than 25 hectares (62 ac) of green roofs — the size of 30 U.K. soccer fields. The initiative also seeks to establish an additional 1 hectare of green space and enhance more than 1.5 hectares of existing green space.
The initiative is based on an effort undertaken in 2010, in which the Victoria BID mapped the district’s green and gray spaces to identify new opportunities and ways to enhance existing areas. The effort was the first of its kind undertaken by a BID, and the organization created the Green Infrastructure Audit Best Practice Guide with support from Natural England to provide guidance to others.
The audit includes recommendations on how green features can reduce flood risks and make the area more attractive to visitors and businesses. Victoria BID already has started working with local businesses. For instance, Red Carnation Hotels is moving forward with one of the audit ideas in constructing a 21 m (68 ft) living wall at its The Rubens at the Palace Hotel property. The green wall will be one of London’s largest with a diverse mix of plants from buttercups to strawberries, which will be irrigated via rainwater harvesting tanks. The project is supported by London Mayor Boris Johnson through the Greening the BIDs Program.