West Midlands National Park announces award winners and visiting professorships

UNIVERSITY NEWS LAST UPDATED : 16 NOVEMBER

West Midlands National Park (WMNP), the visionary long-term project to drive social, economic, and environmental transformation in the region, led by a Birmingham City University (BCU) academic, has announced twelve award winners and three new visiting professorships in a boost to its international profile.

West Midlands National Park

Birmingham City University

The National Trust, the Canal and River Trust, and a number of local authorities and councils including Birmingham and Solihull were among twelve winners recognised for producing outstanding examples of reimagining landscape, as part of the second annual WMNP International Lecture and Awards.

The 2022 winners represent a broad cross-section of projects, relating to the physical environment, well-being, culture, governance, finance and policy or research that align with the West Midlands National Park, the brainchild of Kathryn Moore, Professor of Landscape Architecture at BCU.

The awards event also saw world-renowned landscape architect, Professor Kongjian Yu, a founder of the Peking University College of Architecture and Landscape, give a keynote speech on protecting and restoring ecological infrastructure.

The West Midlands National Park Lab, the think-tank and research centre based at Birmingham City University, also announced visiting professorship status for three globally distinguished landscape architects: Professor Martha Schwartz of Harvard University, Professor Kristina Hill from the University of California, Berkeley and Michael Schwarze-Rodrian, former Director of the Department of European and Regional Networks Ruhr and the EU Representative of the Regional Association Ruhr (RVR) in Germany.

The WMNP Awards programme, launched in 2021, is designed to recognise, celebrate, and share best practice, policy and research and to guide and inspire work that deals with challenges faced by the region that includes the climate emergency, regeneration, environment, transport, identity, infrastructure, employment, skills well-being and understanding how to achieve a resilient green recovery.

Commenting on the awards, Professor Julian Beer, Deputy Vice Chancellor of Birmingham City University said: “As we applaud these outstanding projects from across the region it is important to remember that the ethos reflected in them is founded in a combination of internationally excellent research and fundamental impact in the world of landscape architecture and placemaking more generally.

West Midlands National Park 2022 award winners are: 

- City of Nature, Birmingham City Council – also receives the WMNP Judges’ Award  

- Gramer Haor, Bangladesh, Co.LAB, Birmingham City University and Shahjala University of Science and Technology, Bangladesh – also receives the WMNP International Award

  • - Naturally Connected Communities, RSPB 
  • - Planting Our Futures, Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council
  • - Black Country GeoPark, a joint partnership with Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton Councils
  • - Waterways for All, Canal & River Trust
  • - Cultural Infrastructure Map, West Midlands Combined Authority
  • - Making Space for Nature, Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council
  • Linear Park Coventry, Complex Development Projects Ltd
  • - Blossom Together in Birmingham, The National Trust
  • - Purple Horizons, Walsall Council, Lichfield District Council & Natural England
  • - Armed Forces Garden, Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council with The Royal British Legion

Announcing the winners, Dame Fiona Reynolds, Chair of the West Midlands National Park Foundation and former Director General of the National Trust said “I am hugely inspired by such a range and number of outstanding projects. These awards are both a testament to all the winners and mark the launch of the West Midlands National Park onto the world stage. Never has such an innovative and visionary approach been so sorely needed”. 

Further information on all of the winning projects, including video submissions, is available via the WMNP website: https://wmnplab.org  

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