Public spaces have a profound impact on the fabric of urban environments, shaping the character and functionality of their surroundings. While these spaces are often designed to be visually striking and innovative, they must also adhere to certain fundamental principles to be truly effective. Accessibility, comfort, and a sense of community are paramount, as is a commitment to sustainable design that sets a standard for both public and private structures alike.

One arena where these principles are celebrated is the Landscape & Urban category, a unique platform for landscape architects and urban designers to showcase their work. Here, the focus is on projects that not only serve the public but also embody and promote sustainability, renewability, and regenerative design.

Entries in this category must not only meet the practical needs of their users but also demonstrate a high level of research and originality. These projects are expected to push the boundaries of sustainable design, offering innovative solutions that pave the way for more environmentally conscious urban development.

The 2023 winner of the Landscape & Urban category, Bird Habitats' Thermal Haven Nest Boxes, exemplifies this commitment to sustainability and innovation. These nest boxes, born out of a concern for the housing crisis facing hollow-dwelling wildlife, are designed to be durable, repairable, and made from sustainable materials. Powered by solar energy, these boxes provide a thermal profile comparable to natural tree hollows, offering a safe haven for various species.

Despite facing challenges in sourcing sustainable materials and promoting renewable energy use, the project has achieved GreenTag Platinum certification and aims to be NaturePositive+ certified. The success of the first client trial with Friends of Drouin’s Trees, which showed a 100 percent habitat usage rate, underscores the impact of these innovative solutions in creating safe spaces for wildlife.

The winner of the Landscape & Urban category for 2024 will be announced at the Sustainability Awards Gala in November. This event offers a prestigious platform for designers to showcase their innovative and sustainable projects, contributing to a more environmentally conscious future for our cities.