The Landscape Guide

Central London Thames Landscape Strategy: Chelsea to Tower Bridge

The Thames Landscape Strategy is co-ordinated by the TLS Partnership and is being developed in four sections. The key section, in Central London from Chelsea to Tower Bridge, is the least developed. The London Landscape Architecture Group (LLAG) will use an approach that is rooted in history and theory (Prime Landscape Theory). The aim is to envision a Thames Public Realm that is rich in aesthetic, ecological and social public goods.

Thames landscape compositional elements


Thames beaches, green riverbanks and walls, public stairs and slipways, islands, campsheds, hills and valleys, wharfs and moorings,


Thames river use, SUDS and the Thames Tideway Tunnel, rain gardens and rain parks,

Fauna and flora

Tidal Thames Habitat Action Plan, Thames swans, tree-planting, birds, fish 

Buildings and other vertical structures

Thames skyline and high buildingsgreen living roofs and gardens, green living walls on buildings, context-sensitive design, London's Garden Bridge,

Paving, routes and other horizontal structures

Thames greenways, footpaths, cyclepaths,

Thames landscape: composition

  • Colours and lines are composed to make paintings.
  • Walls, floors, doors, windows and steps are composed to make buildings.
  • Landform, water, vegetation, buildings and paving are composed to make outdoor space in cities.

Landscape-townscape composition is a great challenge, conceptually and administratively. Urban design is an art which requires practice and skill. Urban designers have often learned their skills in gardens. Copying styles is rarely successful but responding to the artistic and cultural trends of an era tends to produce styles which, in retrospect, can be identified and diagrammed. As a compositional art, urban design is subject to trends and styles.