A public sector-social enterprise partnership using multi-functional green infrastructure to tackle multiple deprivation at the neighbourhood scale.
In 1996 The Guardian newspaper reported that the Manor estate in Sheffield, home to some 20,000 people, was the 'worst estate in Britain'. Among its many problems the estate contained large areas of connected green space, seen as ‘bandit lands’ – the final resting place for a legion of burnt-out cars.
Turning the estate around is a long-term exercise. Hope first came in the form of the Manor and Castle Development Trust, strongly rooted in the local community. Initiatives followed such as the Green Estate programme, a partnership project with the Sheffield Wildlife Trust. This offered a more strategic use of regeneration funding taking forward community priorities for green infrastructure improvements.
The green infrastructure across the estate has been progressively reclaimed for community and uses in a more ecological way. Much of the improved parks are now managed by a social enterprise, Green Estate Ltd. Steering towards increasing multi-functionality and connectivity, this ‘green estate’ is evidence of the redemptive potential of a strategic green infrastructure approach.
Green infrastructure does not receive anything like the investment or management that goes into grey infrastructure. Grey to Green will fuel a debate about whether this is smart, given the dangers of climate change and the opportunities to improve public health.
Green infrastructure is the network of green (and blue) elements in and around urban areas. This includes public and private spaces, such as parks, gardens, allotments, cemeteries, trees, green roofs and natural landscape features such as woodland, grassland, moors and wetlands.