Project: National HEDGE
Location: The national electric grid, United Kingdom
Size: 13,000 linear miles
We see RIBA’s desire to redesign the electricity pylon as an occasion to fundamentally re-conceive the broader urbanistic role of the electricity grid within the UK landscape, bundling ecological connectivity with the necessary control and management of an elemental urban infrastructure system.
Our proposal reimagines the iconic British hedgerow as a flexible, nationwide eco-infrastructure regime. Deployed as a continuous hedge complex in the right-of-ways and easements of the electricity grid corridors, National HEDGE represents an integrated, progressive reinterpretation of a culturally significant system of land management.
The intent of this approach is twofold. The first is to integrate the electricity grid into the varied landscapes of the UK through the compositing of seemingly oppositional systems to create new, hybrid forms of urbanization. The second is the establishment of a nationwide ecological regime that stitches together the fragmented habitats of the UK countryside.
The benefits of a hedgerow network at this scale are significant: cultural heritage; landscape character; control and maintenance; employment generation; continuous source of biomass; carbon and greenhouse gas sequestration; wildlife habitat; soil and water management; support of the UK Biodiversity Action Plan; and the creation of an iconic, integrated urban landscape system that can stand the test of time.