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Demand for COVID-19 compliant public space bolsters Midlands landscape architect

Midlands-based landscape architect Influence has experienced business growth during the COVID-19 pandemic, as demand for compliant outdoor space within commercial developments increases. 

The chartered landscape architect and environmental planner has seen a 20% increase in live projects compared with the same period last year, following a surge in commercial enquiries throughout the pandemic. 

Founded in 2008 and with offices in Nottinghamshire and London, Influence offers specialist landscape architecture, urban design, environment planning and expert witness. 

Due to the introduction of social distancing measures, the requirement for the development of public outdoor spaces has increased, with public realms now requiring specific measures to ensure the safety of its users. 

The practice has found that development projects, especially within commercial environments, are beginning to integrate safety measures into designs based upon government guidelines. Examples of the design changes Influence are now working on include wider walkways, more spaced seating and more of a focus on place-marking of areas. 

Sara Boland, owner and managing director of Influence, said:

“During what has been an incredibly challenging period globally, Influence has put a positive foot forward as our workload has increased. 

“The COVID-19 pandemic has led to significant changes in the way we move around public outdoor spaces forever and this has resulted in an increased demand for designs to incorporate safety measures. 

“We have always been a busy practice, but as we offer both planning and design services, we’re getting more enquiries on new schemes as well as our existing projects that need to be adjusted. The changes will be subtle, non-abrasive but clear and will be the norm for generations to come. 

“I’m grateful for the increased demand in our services and incredibly proud of our team who have worked particularly hard during this period while managing the usual pressures of home working. While there will be some bumps in the road ahead, as a business, we are performing very well.” 

Influence’s current projects include multiple SEND (Special Education Needs and Disability) schools in Lincolnshire, public realm upgrades in Northamptonshire and tall building assessments in London. 

If the upward trajectory continues Influence hope to expand its team over the next 12 months.