Clever councillors will invest in great green space
22 March 2010
As elections loom, a new report on urban parks and green spaces reveals that if people are satisfied with their local park they tend to be satisfied with their council.
Urban green nation: building the evidence base looks at the state of England’s urban green space and its impact on people’s health and well-being. The report shows the strong link between satisfaction with local parks and open spaces and satisfaction with neighbourhood, which is key to perceptions of council performance.
The report assembles the national evidence about the quantity, quality and use of publicly owned urban green space in England. It also examines the significant impact of local green spaces on people’s health and well-being.
The research reveals that almost nine out of 10 people now use parks and green spaces, compared to three out of 10 people that visit concert halls and galleries. The historic decline in the quality of green spaces has been reversed. The data suggests residents are now using parks and green spaces more, and they value them more.
Not everyone has benefitted equally from the improvements. People from minority ethnic groups tend to have far less local green space (up to a staggering 11 times less than affluent areas) and what little they have is of a poor quality. Later in the year CABE will publish a follow-up report which examines the powerful effects parks green spaces have in tackling social disadvantage.
Richard Simmons, CABE chief executive, explains what he’d do if he were a councillor seeking votes from local residents: ’I’d commit to invest in what really makes local residents happy. Parks and green spaces have a big role to play in improving health and relieving stress. They also provide great places for anyone to spend light summer evenings at a pretty small cost to the public purse.’
The second part of this research, examining the impact of the quality of green spaces on the well-being of people living in six deprived urban areas, with a focus on ethnicity, will be published later this year.