Foresterhill Health Campus

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Blog - Big can be beautiful - February 2019

Grantee: NHS Grampian

What are we going to do?

The Foresterhill campus is the site of Aberdeen’s main hospitals alongside the medical school and medical science departments of the University of Aberdeen. The Aberdeen Royal Infirmary was built in the early twentieth century on the edge of the urban area of Aberdeen. Through the course of the 20th century, the site has been developed incrementally in an uncoordinated manner, resulting in a campus that is illegible to pedestrians, dominated by vehicular circulation and infrastructure and lacking usable or accessible greenspace. The campus includes extensive areas of impermeable surfacing, with large scale parking areas that accelerate surface water runoff and contribute to significant downstream flooding in central Aberdeen. The Foresterhill project will transform the campus and demonstrate best practice in green infrastructure, delivering a range of outcomes through co-ordinated landscape interventions. The aims of the campus-wide green infrastructure strategy are:

  • to create a clear network of on-street and off-street public realm and green routes focused on pedestrian movement, which also connect into wider active travel routes.
  • to create a series of ‘destination’ greenspaces, which will act as a focus for outdoor activity for patients, staff, visitors and the surrounding communities. - to create a strong planted structure across the campus that defines routes, creates human scale outdoor spaces and integrates planned future development.
  • to create a water management system across the campus, integrated into the green routes and spaces to reduce current site runoff and to accommodate necessary attenuation associated with future planned development.
  • to create a connected green network across the campus that provides valuable habitat and increases the ecological value of the site.

The benefits of the campus-wide strategy and phase 1 works will be:

  • enabling and increasing the volume of pedestrian and cycle movement across the campus for all users of the site: patients, staff, visitors and the surrounding communities.
  • enabling and encouraging outdoor activity for all users of the site, encouraging healthy lifestyle choices and realising therapeutic and clinical benefits for patients through easy access to high quality greenspace.
  • improving the character, visual quality and perception of the campus, through the establishment of a strong landscape framework. - reducing pressure on existing drainage infrastructure and reducing downstream flooding in central Aberdeen.
  • significantly increasing the habitat and ecological value of the site.

The Phase 1 works, that are the focus of this application, include a significant proportion of the green infrastructure interventions in the western portion of the campus.

Where did the idea for the project come from?

The project originated in a review of the Foresterhill campus led by the Green Exercise Partnership and NHS Grampian. NHS Grampian subsequently commissioned the further development of a green infrastructure strategy for the campus.

How communities have helped us develop our ideas

The Foresterhill campus has a very wide reach and catchment area in terms of communities using the site. Early opinion surveys were undertaken on site and users of the site have been consulted on the developing proposals.

How our project fits into the bigger picture

A campus-wide green infra-structure strategy has been developed that seeks to transform the Foresterhill campus. The phase 1 works form a key first step in realising this ambitious project.

How our project will improve the local area

The Foresterhill campus is the largest hospital complex in Europe. The delivery of a comprehensive green infrastructure strategy on a hospital campus of this scale would have a significant impact on the urban environment in this part of Aberdeen.