At the summer Place-keeping conference, we were lucky enough to have Graham Duxbury, CEO Groundwork UK as a keynote speaker. Graham described Groundwork’s new initiative ‘X marks the spot’ that focuses on joint caring for everyday places, places that matter to people.
The key questions of our event were who should own, who should manage and who should care for our urban green and open spaces? We would welcome responses, reflections on this, examples of where there have been successful partnerships that have managed green and open spaces or where this model failed.
Place-making is often the focus for funders. Money is focused on creating places and less on the long term maintenance. We invited Mark Walton from Shared Assets and Helen Batt from River Stewardship Company Sheffield to speak at our June conference 2014 on the subject of funding place-keeping (the long term management of green and open spaces). Here's a summary
Who do you think should own, manage and care for our green and open spaces?
It’s Love Parks Week and we want to celebrate our Top Ten Place-keeping places where there is management of green and open spaces for the long term is happening. Too often the focus is on creating new places - funding is put into the design without thinking about how successful places need sustained attention, or place-keeping. Below is our very biased list of great UK examples of place-keeping in action. We would like to hear your suggestions of places that just keep on getting better.
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.
Our recent book, Place-keeping: open space management in practice, takes a look at open space management techniques by focusing on a number of interrelated dimensions. These dimensions can be turned into questions about our green and open spaces: Who owns? Who pays? Who cares? Who manages
In the UK, we are spoilt with the openness of our parks and gardens. Think of your local park...it probably isn’t fenced all the way round, isn’t closed during the day, and it’s likely you can simply drift off the roadside into it, or through an obvious and clear gateway.
Do we have to go back in time over one hundred years to remind ourselves of how to think long-term?
To those with control in our urban green spaces we say ‘Loosen up! Let the grass grow!’
I can pinpoint the day I started to realise that something was going
badly wrong. The community showed us their local green space and
said ‘What’s the point? You (the Council) came a few years ago and
together we improved our green space – now look at it’. The sad,
littered, uncared for ‘green-space’ was evidence enough.
Over the next three years, 300ha of the city’s existing open space will be converted into urban nature parks.
Think of a place that you love spending time to get away from the daily grind. It might be a park, a riverside walk, perhaps some urban woodland. Places like this are of real important in our cities for the health and wellbeing of all residents. But these places are under threat.