Did you know that today is the first day of National Parks Week? This week raises awareness of the National Parks annual celebration of everything that is unique and wonderful about our 15 National Parks. The UK’s National Parks include the Broads, New Forest, Exmoor and Snowdonia, each boasting their own special habitat and exciting family adventures. Our Parks are a place of peace, Britain’s breathing spaces, in an increasingly hectic, urban landscape. Perhaps it’s time you and your family recuperated and got out in nature?
The Green Heart’s 12 acres certainly won’t be able to compete with the likes of the New Forest, at a staggering 140,000 acres but, its aim is the same. We want to bring you a calm, serene and relaxing natural environment right at the heart of our country’s second city’s urban environment. We want it to be your oasis of escape, on your doorstep. With increased shade, new water features, improved sitting and lush grass areas, you’ll be able to unwind with ease.
So start looking forward to bringing your picnic in 2019 now; it’ll fly by!
12 acres of parkland at the heart of campus
Our Edgbaston campus has been recognised by the Green Flag Award Scheme as one of the very best green spaces in the world!
The University is among a record-breaking 1,797 UK parks and green spaces that will today receive a prestigious Green Flag Award; the mark of a quality park or green space. This international award, now into its third decade, is a sign to the public that the space boasts the highest possible environmental standards, is beautifully maintained and has excellent visitor facilities.
Our stunning grounds are maintained by a 38 strong team of dedicated Grounds staff. They’re the first team on campus at 06:00am and are responsible for managing, beautifying and improving every inch of our 250 acre campus. One of their greatest achievements is developing a huge recycling and waste initiative.
Their next challenge will be helping to create the Green Heart, adding another 12 acres to our Green Flag campus. After a busy summer, the Grounds team will be planting over 100 new trees in the space including apple, cherry, beech, oak and maple.
Let’s be honest, before the recent hit show starring Peter Kay, had you ever thought about car sharing? Probably not, but our guest blog from the Universities Sustainable Travel Co-ordinator Peter Edwards is here to change that.
The University is growing fast, with new buildings and projects popping up all over the place to improve the learning, teaching and leisure experience on campus. With perhaps the most exciting, of course, being the Green Heart. With this growth comes disruption to car parking, such as the closure of North Car Park after 13 July. One potential solution to ease the pressure on car parking is to reduce the number of cars on campus.
Did you know our travel survey showed that there are loads of us living round the corner from each other driving on our own; maybe it’s time to get a travel buddy?
The University has a car sharing platform called Liftshare which acts as a car matching service for staff. Simply sign up, enter your location and working hours, and we will try to match you to other drivers in your area. Once you have a team, you’re eligible for a special permit which gives you access to 20 priority car parking spaces around campus.
Car sharing may not be suitable for everyone, and Liftshare may not be as sexy as Tinder but, we promise that you will probably have more success! It’ll save you money, time and stress, so why not sign up today? You never know, you might even make a friend!
High five friends for car sharing
The first steps towards creating the Green Heart that will transform the centre of campus pick up pace next month. You may have already noticed lots more activity around the former library, this is because we are now taking down two buildings that comprise the structure. Demolition work will be carried out between 08:00 and 17:00 on weekdays, however there is a chance that some work may take place on weekends. The entire building will be taken down and completed in October.
When it comes to making the space a green oasis, the first two phases of landscaping will take place from September 2017 – January 2018, and then February – June 2018, in University Square. The section of University Square closest to the Arts Building and the former library will be transformed from July, with the section closest to Staff House focused on from November. As a result, areas of University Square will be cordoned off at different times, and mesh hoardings will be erected in early August.
Accessibility around the landscaping site will be maintained throughout the works with the installation of temporary ramp systems and new pathways. This will ensure that everyone can navigate the new routes easily and safely.
To help you navigate the changes, look out for directional signage in University Square, Arts Building and Muirhead Tower. Make sure you follow us on Twitter for the latest updates and, check out our new landscaping webpage for weekly building reports.
This Wednesday (21 June), we are celebrating the Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year when the UK will get to bask in 16 hours and 38 minutes of daylight… and I mean bask! In March we published a blog post about the beginning of Spring, during which we were in the midst of what seemed to be a monsoon, but this week, we are experiencing a sizzling heatwave; far more apt to begin the start of summer.
As summer kicks-in, our natural environment begins to blossom and is transformed into a tapestry of colour and textures. At the University, it also marks the departure of our students and the end of the academic year. As agreed at the beginning of the Green Heart construction scheduling, all major demolition and construction work would take place outside of term time to limit disturbance to our students. Therefore, you may have noticed lots more activity around the former library? This is because we are now taking down two buildings that comprise the structure. From July, we will also be landscaping the first part of University Square. During this time, there will be noticeable noise on campus and temporary footpaths will be created. But, this will enable us to ensure that in summer 2019, the Green Heart can blossom with the rest of campus!
We will keep you up-to-date with all the works taking place this summer across our channels, and with information boards in University Square, so make sure you stay in touch:
Visit the Green Heart website.
Find detailed information about build developments, important milestones, FAQs and much more on the Intranet.
Follow us on Twitter.
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A new beginning
North Car Park Closure
Following degree congregations, North Car Park will permanently close after Thursday 13 July. This will enable us to progress plans to create 12 acres of stunning parkland at the centre of campus. The Green Heart will create a unique space for performances, socialising, meeting and studying for students, staff and the local community when completed in 2019.
Car parking spaces will return to pre-closure capacity over the next 6 months, with long-term plans to reinstate a new multi-storey car park. In the interim we advise parking in the North East multi-storey, Pritchatts Road car park and Pritchatts Park Village. For further information on alternative parking sites head to the car park website.
Need more Information?
Car park website
0121 414 2623
Don’t get caught out, find a new car park spot today
Last weekend the Green Heart team were out on the road at the Selly Oak Festival and the University of Birmingham Community Festival, spreading the word about the Green Heart transformation taking place on campus. We gave people the opportunity to be transported to 2019 with one of our VR headsets and explore the Green Heart from every angle. Among the ‘wows’ and gasps as the VR appeared before people’s eyes, we answered questions about the development and took more ideas on board.
Didn’t get the chance to see us? You can experience the Green Heart at home in 360 now! We’ve captured key areas of the Green Heart in 360 to allow you to explore your new space all the way from Old Joe, across to the Library and Arts Building, and up to the North Gate. Head to our website for the full experience. VR headsets are compatible with the images as well.
‘Can’t wait to bring a picnic’
‘Wow… What a great use of space’
‘It will be an oasis in the city’
Another week, and another awareness day. Today is International Museum Day and did you know that our University campus is teeming with some of Birmingham’s finest cultural attractions? All within a 15-minute walk from University Station, the campus is teeming with historical, scientific and cultural wonders; many of which are free to enter, every day of the week!
You won’t be disappointed at what you find:
- Lapworth Museum of Geology – Transporting visitors back 4.5 billion years, the museum houses everything from dinosaurs to diamonds. The museum is also an Art Fund Museum of the Year finalist 2017!
- The Barber Institute of Fine Arts – Your very own mini National Gallery, housing one of the finest small collections of European art in the UK
- Winterbourne House and Garden – 7 acres of tranquil botanic gardens nestled in the grounds of an Edwardian Art and Craft house
- The Bramall – Birmingham’s most exciting new entertainment venue for music, comedy, lectures and ‘Audience With’ evenings
- Cadbury Research Library – Feed your curiosity and come and consult 200,000 rare books and some 4 million manuscripts
- Research and Cultural Collections – Visit our exhibitions to see some of our most unusual, inspiring and significant pieces from our collections
We look forward to seeing you and your family on campus soon. You can discover more about all we have to offer here. Don’t forget, we will also have a striking 12 acre parkland, the Green Heart, for you to enjoy from 2019!
Roary our Allosaurus at the Lapworth
Family fun at Winterbourne
Stunning fine art at the Barber Institute
Did you know that May is National Walking Month? Steered by the Living Streets organisation, National Walking Month aims to get us all walking outdoors; whether that’s to work or school, on a city trail or in your local community. Since 1929, Living Streets have not only been encouraging us to walk, but also campaigning for safer roads and pavements, and tackling congestion and pollution.
The University of Birmingham campus stretches across 672 acres. That is a lot of walking space. You can walk and discover our campus on one of our blue plaque or sculpture trails, or explore 7 acres of tranquil botanical gardens at Winterbourne House and Garden. We are also home to some of Birmingham’s finest cultural assets including the Lapworth Museum of Geology and the Barber Institute of Fine Arts, and they are all within walking distance of one another on the Edgbaston campus.
When the Green Heart arrives in 2019, it will bring over 12 acres of new parkland to campus. There will be an increased number of new and improved walkways and cycle paths that will benefit from zoned lighting, to make walking safer, and new directional and information signage. The new walkways will even help the environment, as they will generate energy as people walk on them!
Improved signage, walkways, lighting and technology
This week we delivered the University’s community magazine to over 40,000 households in the local area. Did you get your copy of Community Buzz through the letterbox if you live nearby? If you didn’t, don’t worry, you can download your copy of the Community Buzz Spring 2017 now!
The magazine is teeming with the latest University news, events and research and education highlights. Make sure you save the date for our up-and-coming free family activities and workshops at the Community Festival on 11 June. Plus, why not visit a Monet masterpiece at the Barber Institute, see Allan Lamb at the Bramall or discover our work on cancer research; it’s all in the magazine and much more. Our very own Green Heart project also features, discussing the consultation results and all the exciting things to look forward to in 2019.
Download your free copy today!