The Canary Wharf Group is teaming up with Cornwall’s iconic biodiversity enterprise The Eden Project to give London’s (second) financial district an eco-friendly revamp.
The two have been in talks for more than a year, and they aim to make a planning application next month. Designs by architect Glenn Howells propose floating pontoons, ecological gardens and water sports (including paddleboarding, open-water swimming and kayaking), with new bridges for dockside walks.
This is part of the Canary Wharf Group’s mission to broaden the district’s appeal beyond office skyscrapers and bleak concrete spaces, and attract a new future for the area, with plans to open new schools, build more homes and make the area more comfortable for Londoners to live and work in.
But the project’s ultimate goal is to improve biodiversity in the area. By 2050, two-thirds of the world’s population is expected to live in cities. According to The Eden Project, wildlife populations have fallen by more than 68 percent in the last 50 years, and cities, therefore, need to be part of the solution if we are to tackle climate change from urban spaces.
Canary Wharf will be The Eden Project’s first London home, opening an office at 1 Canada Square as part of the deal. David Harland, chief executive at Eden Project International, said: ‘We’ve spent a long time getting to know Canary Wharf – this is the first project we’ve done in this type of location.
‘We all know there is a climate issue. We all know that biodiversity is under threat. Now there is a recognition that individuals, corporations and the public sector really have to come forward to drive those things together.’
Shobi Khan, the Canary Wharf group boss is keen to get rid of the concrete jungle image attached to the area. He wants workers to arrive and ‘see greenery, scenery and water, rather than just glass, steel and concrete’.
He added: ‘The pandemic has made people realise the importance of outside space. That environment exists already in pockets here, the Crossrail roof garden, Jubilee Park but we want to permeate that experience throughout the estate.’
So, in the name of biodiversity, you’ll be able to go for a quick paddleboarding session to cool off on your lunchbreak, or for a waterside picnic among the grassy scenery (hopefully) very soon.