Thursday, 7 November 2013

Planning, design and construction of sustainable footbridges

During Sep/Oct we submitted an abstract to Footbridge 2014, with the title "Genesis of footbridge design, from a community perspective".

Abstract Submission is now closed and results will be announced in early December 2013. Fingers crossed our paper will be considered and we will get the opportunity to attend and be able to present it at the Symposium. Watch this space for more news.

The main theme of the conference is Footbridges past, present & future. There were a number of topics we could have presented a paper on, but the one we chose was No.4 about "Planning, design and construction of sustainable footbridges". You can find out more about this conference, which is happening between 16-18 July 2014 at Imperial College London, here;

The following is a copy of our abstract.

Genesis of footbridge design, from a community perspective

The aim is to connect two areas within Richmond Borough separated by 100m of the River Thames, the reason for many unnecessary car journeys.

  • On the East side (south bank) is Ham Lands – inaccessible, with leisure walks, nature reserves, heritage sites, polo and sailing clubs, but poor access to transport links and a reputation for attracting anti-social activities.
  • On the West side (north bank) is Strawberry Hill – densely populated, served well by major transport systems, with busy roads and places for education and work but limited access to leisure grounds. 

Two members of the community from both sides of the river, Richard Woolf (an architect) and Mark Wing (a creative strategist) are working hard to convert the community’s ‘need’ for a footbridge into a ‘desire’ to see it installed.

Their plan leverages existing land topology in Ham Lands and Radnor Gardens, spanning an optimum point on the river (for natural ascent and descent). Radnor Bridge, as it is known, will connect both communities through a garden and so create a more open and inclusive neighborhood with improved access to places of national interest on both sides.

Radnor Bridge will pay homage to the landscaping strategy of the past, create an architectural landmark for the present and an invaluable legacy for the future. No other proposed bridge in this area is as strategically well located.

Radnor Bridge will be;

  1. Innovative – transforming local transportation options while improving the rights to access. The bridge will feature split-level cycle and pedestrian paths, allowing pedestrians to enjoy uninterrupted views up and down the river. 
  2. Elegant – using low key, naturally engineered materials to deliver a picturesque solution, which roles with the landscape and the tradition of Arcadian Thames.
  3. Economic – good for socio and economic development in the area while also being an exemplar of new community driven grass route funding.
  4. Sustainable – a permanent structure, using passive technology, to facilitate the reduction in local car journeys while blending in to the landscape


  1. I'm pleased to say we have just heard that we have been successful and have now been asked to prepare our paper for submission.

  2. The scientific committee of Footbridge 2014 has just announce the first keynote speakers for the conference in London next year. They will include; Jurg Conzett, Patrik Schuhmacher, Laurent Ney, Andreas Keil, Avery Bang, Mark Major and Edwin Kruger.

  3. We're pleased to let you know that our paper has just been accepted. This is great news as it gives us an opportunity to raise the profile for Radnor Bridge. One more step in the right direction... However it would seem Richard and Mark now need to dig deep to stump up a hefty fee for the privilege of attending the event...