We have always known that green spaces are incredibly important to communities. At Preim we know that they are integral to successful placemaking and that communities will often go to fabulous efforts to make green spaces usable for all.
Yet, in 2020, the presence of green spaces that are accessible and close to home has become a priority for government bodies, developers, and communities. Shared, local, outdoor amenities have become more of a priority than ever.
In September 2020, the Green Infrastructure Standards Project, led by Natural England, published a review of research into the health and wellbeing benefits of ‘green infrastructure’. To anyone who treasures a local green space, the findings of the review will come as no surprise. In summary it stated:
“The effect of the pandemic this year has underlined the importance of local green space to people. Our People and Nature survey found that the vast majority of adults (89 per cent) agreed or strongly agreed that green and natural spaces should be good places for mental health and wellbeing, with 30 per cent reporting visiting local green and natural spaces more than usual (Natural England, 2020).” Source – Blog.gov.uk
At the same time, the Government has announced significant investment into green social prescribing to ‘prevent and tackle’ mental ill health. Green social prescribing is the prescribing of outdoor activities that immerse the participant in nature as an antidote to ill health – whether that is walking, farming or community gardening, as just a few examples.
Research by the University of Sheffield suggested that allotments could play a key role in that, and we couldn’t agree more after we’ve seen communities like Oakham Heights and Tadpole Garden Village benefit hugely from their allotments.
In 2020 it seems we have all come to recognise the value of green spaces, and access to those spaces, much more within our communities.
Many of the developments we work with have been well ahead of the curve – they have always had green spaces at their heart. 2020 might have highlighted the importance of local green spaces to some but, for the communities we work with, their green spaces have always been a part of the vision for the development with a focus on making them accessible to residents and neighbouring communities.
That is why, throughout the pandemic, we have done all we can to continue to make the green spaces safe and pleasant for all to enjoy.
It’s incredibly important that the maintenance of these green spaces is always taken into consideration – even from the very first stages of planning. As developers integrate more green spaces into urban areas it’s critical that there is a plan in place to keep them to a high standard. Keeping these spaces well-maintained also ensures they are usable by the communities – so all can benefit from the wellbeing boost green spaces offer.
We wrote more about the importance of green spaces within placemaking, and the subsequent importance of placekeeping to maintain those areas in our article: Placemaking and the Importance of Green Spaces
As we embark on 2021, we hope that there is opportunity for us to explore green spaces a little further afield than what is just on our doorsteps – but in the meantime we’re proud to be working with developments that have paved the way for making sure residents and their neighbours can reap the wellbeing benefits of the great outdoors in their community.
If you would like to learn more about the communities we work with, please visit our case studies.