If lockdown has taught us anything, it’s that lots of us really value nature. Spending time walking in woods, strolling by streams or picnicking in parks can make us feel calm, more relaxed and it helped many of us get through the strange year of 2020 (and will be much needed in 2021!) 

With a new year comes new challenges and the chance to do things better. Our designers have been writing up a wish list of things they'd love to redesign in 2021 to help them connect more with nature. 


1) Bike storage in tiny flats

Last year I bought my first road bike and began cycling in the city for the first time. It would be great to have beautiful, safe, practical bike storage solutions installed in every city flat. It would save me constantly bumping into my bike and would hopefully encourage more people to take up cycling. More cyclists = fewer cars = less pollution and it's so much easier to get out into nature. - Michelle

2) The high-street

Over the last few years the high-street has been suffering. It needs a makeover. Why does a high street need to be targeted towards shopping? Imagine if empty shops became nature ‘spas’ filled with plants. Wouldn't it be great to support the economy AND the planet? - Michelle

3) Playgrounds

Why should playgrounds be just for children?! Even the ones that are for children don’t look that fun. More natural playgrounds please. Let’s bring back the original climbing frame with tree-mendous branches to climb. - Michelle

4) Kitchens

Cooking and baking more during the pandemic made me realise just how much waste happens in the kitchen due to poor planning. Let's re-think the whole thing starting with more intuitive and efficient water taps, to water recycling systems and even a full composter that fits under the sink! The cherry on top for me would be a wall in the kitchen that’s a vertical indoor garden. - Efi

5) Composting in flats

Seriously, how have we not cracked that one yet? If we have bins in every street corner for every other type of waste we surely can have a compost bin at every building that’s collected and taken care of safely.- Efi

6) The working day

This pandemic has shown that we don't all need to work a 9-5 day and commute in on train that packs us in like a sardine! Having the flexibility in working hours and where you work from will help improve our working life balance and fit more time in for our friends, family and nature. Especially during winter months if you're at work the whole 9-5, you don't get any time out in daylight! - Natalie

7) Cell phone towers

They are just so ugly! Designing them in a way that would either hide them or have them serve more than one function (could they be wind turbines too?) would make them much easier on the eye. - Natalie

8) Rooftops

Imagine if we could transform all those grey unused rooftops into places which grew plants and veg and housed solar panels to boost bio-diversity and create clean energy. More produce, more oxygen, more joy! - Rosie

9) Parks

They're usually designed for people with benches and paths, but what about the nature that was there before us? Bring in bug hotels, bird houses and bird feeders, mini picnic benches for squirrels, dense areas for larger creatures to live in, wilder areas for bees, and make the parks for everyone. - Susha

10) Small spaces

Balconies could be more nature and pet friendly in flats. Those random patches of grass you see in streets, especially near stations; they could be turned into gardens, making them a more active beautiful patch of nature, and helping support bee populations if the right plants are used. - Lottie

What would you redesign in 2021?

We'd love to hear you ideas. Let us know in the comments below. 


In other design news... 

Our initiative Design By Nature is back for a second year to give up-and-coming designers the opportunity to use their creativity to solve environmental issues and bring their ideas to life. 

This year Design By Nature is linking up with the creation of a new nature-led campaign in Manchester. All the briefs are inspired by the idea that ‘Good things happen when we connect people to nature’. Commended entries, as well as being celebrated far and wide, will be brought to life and trialled in the live Manchester campaign.

How can you get involved?

Design By Nature is open to university students and recent graduates (up to a year) across the UK. You can download our briefs and enter your idea by 31st May 2021.

explore design by nature briefs


Not a student? If you’re a fully-fledged designer looking to collaborate, a university looking to join forces or a business who wants to sponsor a future brief, drop us a line at [email protected].