West Midlands National Park

West Midlands National Park

West Midlands National Park

West Midlands National Park

The West Midlands National Park (WMNP) Lab is an international think-tank for integrated landscape-led visioning and development. Based at Birmingham City University, the Lab is the research and executive office for domestic and international projects and partnerships.

We offer bespoke advice and consultancy services including landscape visioning, masterplanning, research, policy creation, investigative mapping and landscape strategy development. Our ethos, endorsed by the UN in April 2022, was presented by the Habitat Professional Forum at the World Urban Forum in Poland in June 2022.

Our flagship project is a new kind of National Park that encompasses the UK’s entire West Midlands region and celebrates peoples’ relationships with their ‘everyday’ landscapes. It is a bold but realistic vision of what a region can become when the significance of its landscape is properly realised and celebrated.


This exposition sets out evidence of the research undertaken over the last decade to understand the implications beyond the academy of the new paradigm presented in ‘Overlooking The Visual: Demystifying the Art of Design’ (2010), leading to ‘Towards New Research Methodologies in Design: Shifting Inquiry Away from the Unequivocal Towards the Ambiguous’ (2018) and the development of the 'West Midlands National Park', a vision to lead the transformation of the region over a 30 year period. The exposition shows the process of developing ‘The Art of Design’ at a regional scale through a number of sequential case studies. Requiring investigative and analytical drawing from a position of knowledge and the reimagining and re-presenting of places in order to rekindle and reinvent the connection between communities and the space they inhabit, recognising the pride people take in that space, its cultural identity, be it urban, suburban or rural, is very much a modern, contemporary view of how our landscapes work.

The ideas expressed in the visual narratives have engaged a wide range of decision makers and are shifting perceptions, planning policy and practices at a local, national and international level.

The student work exhibited in 2019 (BCU) explores the spatial implications of the ethos of the West Midlands National Park focusing on specific locations and is vital in persuading key regional and national stakeholders of the significance of this new approach.

This predominantly visual exposition presents the transformative practice-based research process manifest as visual artefacts from philosophy to practice, interrogating the art of design.

Moore’s research also highlighted the international significance of the region’s unappreciated and forgotten industrial heritage and geology; BCC Chief Executive said that Moore’s work:
“helped us to envision the region’s topography in relation to its diverse ecosystems
(above), a network of local, regional and global vistas (beyond) and the underlying geology
(below). This new way of looking at our landscape emboldened Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall
and Wolverhampton Councils to apply for UNESCO Geopark status in recognition of the
region’s geological diversity and its role in the industrial revolution. In July 2020 UNESCO
confirmed the Black Country as a Global Geopark - a place with internationally important
geology and because of its cultural heritage” (S02).


52.4750743, -1.829833

Dr Robin Daniels
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West Midlands
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