our green and open spaces: who owns, who manages, who cares?

 Arts tower, photo by Nicola Dempsey

Arts tower, photo by Nicola Dempsey

our green and open spaces: who owns, who manages, who cares?

On 17th and 18th of June we held a two-day conference in the iconic Arts Tower at the University of Sheffield. We invited a range of speakers and targeted the event at interested groups, practitioners and academics from across Sheffield and beyond.  Below is a much shortened summary of what went on. Having had so many varied and interesting talks we will present each session as a separate blog post. So watch out for these! For the full programme from the day please take a look here.

The conference opened with Graham Duxbury from Groundwork UK who provided a history of green and open spaces funding, and talked about how as a country having been through austerity measures before in the 1970s and 1980s we can use the knowledge of what went before to help us now. Nicola and Mel then outlined place-keeping and the research we have been doing in the North and South East of Sheffield before parallel sessions on funding and skills and knowledge began. Mark Walton from Shared Assets gave an overview of different ways communities could raise funding for green space management. Helen Batt from the River Stewardship Company then discussed the limitations of grant based funding. In the skills and knowledge session, Jenny Coleman of Incredible Edible Todmorden spoke about how they work with local schools, colleges and local businesses. Ted Talbot from the National Trust talked on the need for a new generation of jobs in the green sector.

The afternoon began with parallel sessions on partnership capacity and raising the profile of green and open spaces. Kate Stewart told us how the Friends of the Flyover, Liverpool used social media campaigns to bring in funding from a range of sources including crowd funding through Spacehive. Following this, Julian Dobson from Urban Pollinators talked about how “you have got to know to care”. Dave Morris from the National Federation of Parks and Green Spaces underlined the positive impact that Friends Groups can have on spaces. In the partnership capacity session, Darren Share from Birmingham City Council explained how Birmingham are embracing new ways of funding green and open places including private sponsorship, preceded by Farida Vis’s presentation on the history of allotments. The afternoon was rounded off by a talk from Deryck Irving from greenspace scotland who gave examples of how place-keeping happens in practice in Scotland. The afternoon was rounded off by a panel discussion opening with the key question and title of the conference; our green and open spaces: who owns, who manages and who cares?

Everyone was then invited to a drinks reception and book launch of Nicola, Mel and new book “Place-keeping: open space management in practice”, co-edited with Harry Smith. This was followed by an evening talk by Peter Neal, landscape architect consultant who presented a series of case studies highlighting different economic models for funding green and open places and recently wrote The State of UK Public Parks report for the HLF.

The topics we kept returning to included austerity and the cuts and the potential impact these are going to have on partnerships, skills and knowledge about our green and open spaces. Watch out for more blogs on this topic!

 

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AuthorRosie Duncan