The object of this dissertation is to discuss the role of Business Parks in changes in the landscape of cities, urban fringes and the wider countryside, taking two Scottish case studies as examples.
First there is a brief history which outlines the development of bussiness parks since their creation in the U.S. to the most recent changes in their layout in the United Kingdom.
Particular attention is paid to describe the way in which designers have interpreted the sites and fitted the business parks into the landscape in order to identify how they enhance or detract from the contexts in which they are placed.
The effects of the introduction of the Land use classification Class B1 in Britain are described and the different classifications of parks, according to the percentage of office and industry space, examined.
Edinburgh Park and Dundee Technology Park, which are new business parks in Scotland, are used as case studies. The surroundings of these two parks, their layouts and other chartacteristics are described in the third chapter in order to allow a comparison in the final chapter, where d the effects of these two developments on the existing landscape and the future changes they will bring to their sites are analysed.
The concept of Science parks, which later extended into Business Parks was developed at Stanford, California by Professor Terman in the late 1960´s. The site which became known throughout the world as Silicon Valley, grew into four towns: Santa Clara, Sunnyvale, San Jose and Palo Alto. It represented an American answer to the requirements of the industrial production, where constant intercomunication between research groups and the production line was needed. Eventually the logic af this combination was widened to include financial offices and sales departments in the same location.
Science Parks are generally those which have a link to a university or Research Institute, therefore design & development companies, as well as sales & distribution firms are those most commonly found in such parks. In the United Kingdom the idea was followed for the first time by Heriot Watt University in Edinburgh in 1971 and by Cambridge Science Park in 1972. In 1980 in Britain the first Business Park without a link to any university was developed at Aztec West in Bristol
Planning restrictions on mixed usage created difficulties for firms wishing to adapt their spaces or when they needed to make changes to include new equipment or new departments into their premises. In December 1988, perhaps due to increased demand and pressure from developers, Class B1 was introduced in the Town &Country Planning (Use classes) 1988 Lands use classification. This made it possible to change the proportions and use of the space, allowing mixed classification and a variety of functions, from pure office to high tech ( that is a mixture of offices/ware house/production).
Fig. 1 Source: Applied Property Research
Removal of these planning barriers made letting easier. Firms now have the optioon to lease properties on a 3-5 year basis, instead of the 25 years lease which was previously common in the U.K.
This allows firms to acquire more space as they grow and develope whitin an estate.
It also presents the opportunity of accomodating small firms attracted by the park image in centralised buildings, companies which require smaller investment than those large companies which seek independent sites within the park.
The location of business parks is determined by several factors, such as the necessity to provide: Transport network ( air, railway, motorway), pleasant landscape, expansion flexibility, reduced cost (centralising activities), corporate iomage, no traffic congestion and parking space.
Although some business parks are sited within cities, due to the high cost of the land most of the developers look for a countryside setting, using farm land, derelick river edges or pieces of land extracted from Green Belts after developments such as By-passes and Motor ways.
In the U.K. some may be quite isolated, but others such as those on the M4 near London form almost continuous corridors.
Science and Business parks tend to take a long time to be fully realised. It often takes 10 years or more to build parks of 20 or more hectares. These terms might increase even more because their size tends to increase in order to be able to support leisure, recreation and shopping facilities in addition to common services as Electronic Data Interchange (EDI Net).
As a measure to allow completion of the whole project without disturbing established firms during development, a phasing policy is usually adopted. Phasing gives the opportunity to present a good image during the process of development.
The use of Green space used in the parks is smaller In comparison to parks in the U.S. and France where they allocate from 20 to 30% of green space in their premises. Some others use even more thant that, such as HijiyamA Art Park in Japan, where they allocat up to 50% of green space.
Stocley Park in West London is an example of development to restore polluted and derelict land. The task was not simple, because polluted water was running into the nearby canal. To solve this problem required the removal of 4.6 million m3 of rubbish, which was the largest movement of soil in Europe at that time.
In the case od Stockley park a monthly newsletter has been stablished to inform local people of the development of the park in order to create a dialogue and minimise any inconvenience. It also gives a local people opportunity to participate in the development of the project.
EDINBURGH BUSINESS PARK
The Edinburgh Park project was originally proposed by New Edinburgh, (a joint venture between a development company and the Lothian& Edinburgh Enterprise). It was seen as a necesity in order to keep the financial institutions in the region before they were tempted to move to Fife ar West Lothian because of the lack of office space in Edinburgh.
Altogether with the Gyle, which is a new shopping centre and Housing facilities, Edinburgh Park Fits in with the New Town-concept, which has been conceived as a series of mixed use development.
As a means of encouraging high standarts of planning, architecture and landscape, the developers opted for the competition system. Since then they have managed to develop the master plan for the park as well for two of the intended buildings (1994)
The master plan has been developed by the American Firm Richard Mier&Partners, in collaboration with Campbell&Arnott (architectural firm) and Ian White Associates (landscape architects).
Although the masterplan does not impose severe restrictions on the nature of any proposed building, the refereed guide lines establish the materials to be used such as the grey stone, black and white trim in metal or wood as well as certain other specific features designed to keep the park to its original concept; that of creating some kind of new town.
The location ( four miles from city center, two miles from the airport and close to the major transportation routes of road and rail) makes the place accesible to both employees and visitors. The overall concept has been clear since the beginning: to transform a piece of greenbelt land ( which was once a marshland known as stank) between South Gyle Estate, the newly created by-pass, and the Gogar burn into an urban context.
Corporates headquarters or office facilities of up to 40,000 m2, as well as medium size office buildings of between 2,000 – 11,000 m2, will accommodate. This is to act as both business park and science park, with its links to regional universities.
Enclosed by these buildings there is the central area used as a core space where social events could take place within a series of gardens. This has replaced the marshland and transform the Gogar burn, which used to run freely through the field, into a series of three long lakes. A four –star hotel and leisure center with sporting facilities will be situated by the lakes, this is intended to act as yet another social attraction, and to further enhance the facilities and status of the business park.
Foothpaths and cycle paths have been considered in order to give the opportunity to employees and people from neighbouring areas to walk and cycle through the park and enjoy the landscape.
Ten thousand of vehicles are intented to arrive daily to work once completed the project.
IN 1986 the tehn Scottish Development agency started to develop an area of 24ha. of land a a technology park an the west outskirts of Dundee District of Tayside Region.
There was an agreement between the Tayside Regional Council, the City of Dundee District Council and the Scottish Development to secure the amenity of the land for the benefit of the neighbouring hospital, residential areas and users of the buildings in the park. Such agreement has been achieved successfully in the first phases.
The approved master plan set guide lines for the kind of industry and offices to be established within the boundaries of the park in order to control the future effects on the community.
Retaining the old farm and the small woodland has kept some of the original character of the place. The slope on which the park is placed has contributed greatly to the integration of the building and planting into the neighbourhood as it allows the buildings to be placed along the park at different levels, from where it is possible to capture views of the River Tay, hillsides and above the woodlands the spires of some other buildings.
The guide lines are not as strict as those in Edinburgh Park and the typology of the buildings does not necessarily follows traditional buildings in the area, some international styles are seen on the site.
Planting has taken one important aspect in the park. The use of different species gives interest all over the year and helps integrate different kinds of buildings, colours, materials and elements of the park.
The application of woodland planting has given the opportunity to enclose car-parks, marking foothpaths, give shelter and some other relevant uses. The clos canopy helps to safeguard wildlife.
As local people can identify themselves with the place, they feel free to walk around the park premises. This is obvious from the number of footpath seen on the gress and the amount of people of different ages walking or cycling in the park.
The series of footpaths along the park give easy access to the people from the residential areas next to the park, who can cross the witdth of the park without any difficulty.
Having given a description of booth parks, Edinburgh Park and Dundee Technoloogy Park, a comparison must be done to identify how each park has reach it goal.
Both parks have been located nearby an airport, with the main road next to them, but there are major differrences between them. Edinburgh Park has been added to a series of business and industrial parks which had already en extensive area for the amount of housing located in the surrounding,. It creates a business park corridor reducing the integration of the park with the community. Meanwhile Dundee Technology Park has been integrated to residential areas. The woodland planting around the perimeter and the distribution of the buildings along the park reflects the character of the neighbouring areas.
Firms established in Edinburgh Park will integrate better within themselves than those in Dundee due to its central core where people will have the opportunity to meet and exchange ideas.
Edinburgh Park altogether with the rest of the offices and factories will create serous traffict conflicts because they will concentrate the traffic in just a few roads, In Dundee that is not yet the problem to the reducen amount of vehicles at the moment.
The profile of the cities and the landscape in general has been changed by the development of business parks. There have been different results troughout the country according to the way in which they have been developed. The parks have created some effects on the physical appearance, and further more, they change in different degrees the identity of the place.
Cities have now adapted to these kind of developments, which generally represent important economical resources as they generate income to the places in which they are located.
The first places to be developed should be in inner cities, because developing them first will avoid destruction of the countryside. The parks should not simply repeat the existing styles or lines of their neighbours, but should identify the asocts which are relevant and of considerable value in their own particular situations.
Historical places, beautiful landscape, fragile habitats and natural reserves must, especially, be protected and respected by new developers.
As the parks move from the city center towards the countryside, they should adopt some of the more rural surrounding characteristics. The amount of open space and specially green space should be increased, while the number of cars per m2 should be reduced.
The problem of connecting two or more business parks together is that they do not allow walkable distances for people to commute between places without having to take either colective transportation or their own car.
Accordin to this criteria the size limit for a business park should allow people to commute from one residential area on one side to another on the other side without need to take any vehicular transportation.
The importance of being close to airports seems reasonable to give easy access to visitors, investors and directors, but equally important is easy acess for the thousands of employees commuting everyday to work. It is important to anticipate collective transport facilities and to be aware of the physical changes brought with them, otherwise the increment of car dependency will bring even more changes into the landscape due to all the roads and car-parks required, regardless of the noise, smog and visual contamination created by them.
The amount of busines and industrial parks developed recently in Europe has increased in the last few years. They put new presures upon hte landscape of European cities, which have always been more compact than their counterparts in the American continent. In the United States cities tentd to be dispersed and relatively distant from each other.
Since the distances between cities in the U.K. are not that big, the creation of Business Parks does not bring the same benefits or problems that they bring to American cities, where business parks originally started.
- Telecom World (POT) ISSN: 0963-0597 Date: Aug. 1992 p 27
- Buildin Design ISSN: 1055 Date 1991 Nov. 1 p 3:,18-19
- Economist (ECT) ISSN: 00130613 vol. 322 Iss: 7749 Date: Mar 7, 1992 p:71
- Phillip Allan-the Best in Science, office and Business Park Design- Diseño de Parques y negocios, de oficinas y centros de investigaciones, Editorial Gustavo Gilli, Barcelona, 1993
- Garten und Landschaft ISSN:Date:1989 jan. P:
- Allesch J. Regional Development in europe: Recent Initiatives and experiences. 1989. Walter de Gruyter&co. Berlin.
- Aydalot P & Keeble D. High technology industry and innovative environments: The european experience 1991 Antony Rowe Ltd. London.
- Monch C. Science parks- Their contribution to economic growth. 1985. UKSPA. Peat Marwick. London.
- Monch, C & Quintas P & Porter R. Science parks and the growth of high technology firms., 1988, Peat Marwick McLintock. Kent.