Resident participation leads to the creation of high quality green space by responding to the needs and wishes of the people who will actually use it.
Allow planting beds or trees to be “adopted” in parks or along streets. Residents can choose their own planting with a commitment to care for the plants themselves. An agreement can be signed between the city and the residents if either of the parties do not fulfill their agreed level of participation.
By allowing residents to take part in design, construction and maintenance they respect the green spaces and contribute to their care, instead of expecting the authorities to have sole responsibility. People are more likely to pick up litter on “their own street” than on a “public street”.
Bring residents together at key moments to create enthusiasm and involve them in the process of creating green spaces in the neighbourhood. Use publicity to spread the enthusiasm to other neighbourhoods. Organise activities such as tree planting events or community gardening workshops.
Provide people on the waiting lists for permanent community/allotment gardens access to temporarily vacant land in their own neighbourhoods. The neighbourhood becomes greener, the gardeners are happy and surrounding residents and passersby are inspired.
Include residents in the design and maintenance of green spaces in their direct living environment.
When residents participate in neighbourhood greening projects, criminal and anti-social behaviour decreases.
…As we navigate the multiple uncertainties of climate change and COVID-19, an emerging realisation is just how important the role of trees and seasonal, diverse vegetation play in urban lives. In particular, how the importance of well stocked and well connected green space is for exercise and general health and wellbeing, especially when our leisure choices are severely curtailed and our urban climate is changing. There will be many lessons learnt from our response to the coronavirus pandemic that can shape our future approach to the urban forest and green spaces, needed for outdoor exercise, healthy air, safer, cooler streets and gardens, more biodiversity and more attractive places to live and work. Trees present a tangible and long term solution to current and anticipated urban problems if we collaborate with science and the horticultural industry in meeting these challenges.
David Elliott, Chief Executive, Trees for Cities
In new development:
Invite residents to be a part of the planning and design process of public green spaces.
In existing development:
Allow residents to adopt nearby green spaces and participate in the construction and maintenance of these spaces.