Twelve projects receive the prestigious West Midlands National Park Award in 2022
These projects have been chosen as winners of the 2022 West Midlands National Park Awards, as outstanding examples of reimagining landscapes. Eleven winners based in the West Midlands are joined by the first International WMNP Award winner from Bangladesh.
The 2022 winners represent a wide cross-section of projects, relating to the physical environment, wellbeing, culture, governance and policy or research that brings to life the ethos of the WMNP. The diversity of the projects reflects the growing reputation of its groundbreaking approach – the winners are WMNP pioneers and champions, working in new ways to deal with the many challenges faced by the West Midlands and beyond, including the climate emergency, regeneration, environment, transport, identity, infrastructure, employment, skills, well-being and achieving a resilient green recovery.
Judged by an international jury, the winners demonstrate excellence in the way their submissions align with the WMNP ethos to create integrated approaches to the development, transformation and management of our physical and cultural resources. This is not about rewarding business as usual, but proposals with flair, potential, and the ability to make a difference.
2022 Judge’s Special Awards
Birmingham, City of Nature: Birmingham City Council.
Our international judging panel selected one project from the 12 winners that demonstrated ‘unusually comprehensive ambition’ which ‘has the potential to be an internationally significant approach’.
International Project Award
Gramer Haor, Bangladesh: Co.Lab project with Birmingham City University and Shahjala University of Science and Technology.
We are pleased to announce our first International project for their outstanding project focused on grass-roots community engagement. At the request of our overseas partners, the 2023 awards will include a specific category for international projects
Additional 2022 Award Winners
– Naturally Connected Communities: RSPB.
– Planting Our Futures: Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council.
– Black Country UNESCO Urban Geopark: Joint partnership with Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall & Wolverhampton Councils.
– Waterways For All: Canal & River Trust.
– Purple Horizons: Natural England with Walsall & Lichfield Councils.
– Armed Forces Community Garden: Solihull Borough Council with the Royal British Legion.
– Cultural Infrastructure Map: West Midlands Combined Authority, Coventry City of Culture Trust, Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, Birmingham City Council, West Midlands Growth Company, Greater Birmingham & Solihull Enterprise Partnership, Culture Central, Arts Council England, Dept for Culture, Media & Sport.
– Linear Park, Coventry: Complex Development Projects Ltd.
– Making Space for Nature: Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council.
– Blossom Together in Birmingham: National Trust.
Congratulations to all 12 WMNP Award winners for 2022
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 of 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”.
Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands said “here in the West Midlands we pride ourselves in leading the national debate on how the regions can drive sustainable economic growth while addressing environmental, social and climatic challenges with vigour. The West Midlands National Park, and these awards, demonstrate to the UK and the world that we have moved beyond debate, to action. My heartfelt congratulations to all of the award winners and to the West Midlands National Park team.”
Commenting on the Awards, the judging panel said “the range of projects, from community public health initiatives, through city-wide biodiversity programs to pan-regional strategic platforms, shows us how the West Midlands National Park ethos is really getting embedded into the psyche of the region. More than that, its’ approach of reimagining landscape for a better future is finding its way into visions, policies, built projects and community movements and is helping to trigger region-wide initiatives. When internationally renowned research begins to have an impact in the daily lives of citizens and stakeholders, then you know that you have something significant. As a panel we were incredibly impressed by the creativity, imagination, and ambition of all the winning projects. We are delighted to award a special WMNP International Judges Award to the interdisciplinary project, City of Nature, developed by Birmingham City Council, in recognition of its scope and impact across policy, finance and governance. We hope that the City of Nature approach will become a model for cities in other countries. We are also pleased to announce a special WMNP International Project Award, for the Gramer Haor project in Bangladesh, led by Co.LAB at Birmingham City University, for their outstanding project focused on grass-roots community engagement and impact in developing economies.”
After the announcement of 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. We are delighted to welcome three world-renowned academics and practitioners as visiting professors to the West Midlands National Park Lab and to Birmingham City University. Their engagement, coupled with the momentum that the West Midlands National Park and these awards now clearly have is a source of great pride for the University and the region.”
Professor Kathryn Moore, Director of the WMNP Lab and Professor of Landscape Architecture said “this second year of the WMNP Awards marks an important milestone in the delivery of the West Midlands National Park. We were impressed by the volume and quality of projects applying for an award and the list of finalists tells a story of creativity and innovation from across the region and beyond. We were delighted that the judges chose the City of Nature for their special award as this project in particular exemplifies many of the core tenets that are embedded in our approach, and we would like to congratulate the project leads and the whole team at Birmingham City Council for delivering such an impressive and far reaching project. Our first international project award winner, Gramer Haor, Bangladesh, marks an expansion of the WMNP Awards programme. At the request of a number of international universities and professional organisations the 2023 WMNP awards will include a specific category for projects demonstrating global best practice.”
Strategic Spatial Policy and Long Term Impact Award
Black Country Core Strategy – The Black Country Consortium
The Black Country Core Strategy is a planning and regeneration plan for the whole of the Black Country, signed up to by the four Black Country Councils (Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton).
The Black Country Core Strategy (BCCS) sets out the vision, objectives and strategy for future development in the Black Country up to 2026 and beyond.
WMNP Future Vision Award
Our Future City Plan – Birmingham City Council
Our Future City Plan outlines a template for major change in Birmingham. Using the climate emergency as impetus, the Plan is setting a new direction, aiming for a zero-carbon approach to development. It will also build inclusive growth principles into the very foundation of all plans to ensure that every citizen in Birmingham benefits from development.
WMNP Community Impact Award
George’s Park, Lozells – Friends of George’s Park
The Friends of Georges Park was formed in January 2021 to promote, protect and preserve Georges Park and enhance local community engagement into green spaces. It is located in the heart of the Lozells area of Birmingham and is part of an environmentally charged super diverse community.
The group lobbies for investment to improve the park’s safety, cleanliness, access and also ensure its continued protection, heritage and biodiversity