Although you may not have heard of them, you’ll certainly be familiar with the fruits of their labour. Land Use Consultants, or LUC, was the UK’s first multidisciplinary environmental consultancy when it began life, back in 1966. Nice. But what exactly do all those impressive syllables mean to the average joe?
“We provide planning, urban design, landscape architecture, heritage, ecology, mapping and visualisation services,” says their Director of Planning, Philip Smith, without drawing breath.
Essentially that means offering invaluable expertise in these areas to central government, local authorities, land owners and developers, to help ensure today’s public spaces and attractions have as much of a wow factor as they do impeccable environmental credentials.
In a nutshell, “we think about the future,” says Philip. “That means the challenges of accommodating a growing population; meeting the need for housing; and decarbonising the economy whilst improving quality of life, and responding to a changing climate.”Since the mid-80s LUC’s London base has been in a heritage industrial building in the heart of Euston and they certainly practice what they preach on the eco front. “As a company we do not operate any cars and all our staff use public transport, walk or cycle,” says Philip, of their policy.
So what about some examples of their work? How about The Eden Project, which turned a disused Cornish quarry into one of the nation’s top tourist attractions, for which LUC contributed landscape architecture and master planning work. Or perhaps Newcastle Science Central, the bold transformation of the city centre, aided by LUC’s public realm planning.
Closer to home, they’ve been involved with the recent Somers Town Greening Strategy, which will make this part of our neighbourhood more lush, while using clever sustainable drainage principles to make better use of rainwater.
LUC are also behind the exciting development of new visitor facilities at Camley Street Natural Park. In fact, if there’s a park or square nearby, there’s a good chance their talented team have helped make it look lovely.
From the award-winning restoration of Bloomsbury’s four main squares (Russell, Gordon, Woburn and Brunswick) to the landscape design and management of The Royal Parks for more than four decades, their touch can be felt in green and pleasant spaces everywhere.