Productive Urban Landscapes

Research and practice around the CPUL design concept

The map of Land Use of the Down. (source: Brighton and Hove City Council 2020)

City Downland Estate Plan, UK

As rural estate covers much of the urban fringe of the city Brighton and Hove, the City Council has developed a green infrastructure project for it – the City Downland Estate Plan. The communally-owned farmland to the North consists of approximately 12,800 acres within the South Downs National Park. Acquired by the Council in the late 19th and early 20th century for the protection of water supply and control of development, the estate gains more attention since it contributes to the downs landscape. It is now seen as “The Space to Be” with great importance for the city. According to the Council’s website, ‘the policy has increased the amount of the estate available for access by the public. It’s now time to refresh our policy to ensure it delivers on our vision for the Downland Estate’.

Aerial image of the South Downs National Park. (source: Brighton and Hove City Council 2021)

The down lands are situated North of Brighton and Hove City. (source: Brighton and Hove City Council 2021)

One key theme of the plan will be land use and management. It says the peri-urban space should be used for local food production and natural farming, containing cattle, sheep or arable farming. The vision-shaping has been accompanied by a public consultation process. The outcomes and recommendations of the public engagement (Planning for Real) are now being processed in the development of the draft City Downland Estate Plan by the project team.

Bohn & Viljoen are connected to the Downs through work via the University of Brighton on projects exploring the uniqueness of Brighton & Hove’s location between the sea and council-owned rural land. Most notably as part of Harvest Brighton & Hove, a National-Lottery funded design research on linkages between food, communities and urban space. They were also asked to collaborate with the city’s Circular Economy Programme in 2021. Circular Brighton and Hove, the local chapter of the Circular Economy Club, hosts several events that include food issues, f.e. a panel discussion on food waste and a tour on an organic dairy farm. They are also connected to the Brighton and Hove Food Partnership.

Panorama image of The South Downs. (source: Climate Conversation Brighton 2022)

The Down lands with its fields and hills. (source: Climate Conversation Brighton 2022)


+++ researched and written by our colleague Antonia Humboldt +++


For (further) information see the website of Brighton and Hove’s City Downland Estate Plan.

For further information on the development process see here.

For exploring the Downland on the City Downland Estate Plan map see here.


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* food policy* landscapeBrighton

Jasmine Cook • 2nd November 2017

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