Peter Heath, Atkins Public Realm Design Director, although an architect and town planner, not a transport planner, has identified the importance of transforming public highways throughout a 25 year career. At the start of the pandemic, he was invited to join a team contributing design guidance and ideas to aid social distancing and related means of optimising a better balance of space allocation between vehicles and walking in urban areas, parks and gardens. His past experience on delivered landmark London projects, such as in Covent Garden and Seven Dials, the World Squares For All Masterplan and its 3 phases of implementation from Trafalgar Square southwards and the need to integrate crowded place security measures, with public realm improvements, has helped and expanded the design scope of future London initiatives. The challenges post pandemic remain across the route networks and the fabric of much of historic urban London. Raised priority has been recognised for more increases in quality open space, for safe use, health and well-being, better air quality, sustainable drainage and solutions to flood risks. Trials of E-Scooters and Bikes, together with cycling are also in a race for limited space which has seen the growth of on-street equipment and hubs, for electric vehicle, residential, commercial and ever more rapid charging needs. Home to office travel and working, balance has changed, but now highlights the limitations of the growth of reliable digital infrastructure, again a competitor in the allocation of public highways spaces as places, at ground level, below and above.
Design Director, Atkins