People, Place and Policy, 12 (3), 165-166
First published: 8 February 2019
Part 2 of this Special Issue builds on the themes that emerged from Part 1 around both the multi-faceted benefits generated by green spaces and the problems posed to their future sustainability, particularly in light of continued austerity in the UK (Dickinson et al, 2018). As green space provision continues to attract considerable public, media and government attention, most recently in the UK through the Save Our Parks petition (UK Government and Parliament, 2018), this selection of papers further develops our understanding of the manifold challenges confronting green space stakeholders. Reflecting the approach taken in Part 1, these papers collectively draw on a range of perspectives, including public safety and climate change and also further illustrate the variety of methodological approaches that are being used to investigate the quandaries facing green space stakeholders within different contexts.
Dickinson and Wyton explore whether boundary critique could be applied as a methodology for generating a more holistic understanding of the challenges facing green space. Adopting a participant-led approach, the case study focuses on an urban park in Yorkshire and illuminates the importance of inter-stakeholder group collaboration within the current austere climate confronting green spaces.
Rotherham and Flinders also reflect on the need for partnership working within the context of green spaces. Utilising the findings from a longitudinal case study based on a Sheffield street-trees initiative, they highlight the wide-ranging financial, social and environmental implications of budget-cuts within green space provision and identify the natural capital and financial benefits generated by such spaces.
Whitten builds on this economic theme by identifying the vulnerability of green spaces to fluctuating national policies and associated funding. Drawing on the findings from an inner-London study, Whitten considers the implications of the increasing reliance on community groups to bridge the gap in green space funding.
Bennett invites us to consider another important issue concerning green space by focusing on public accessibility. Exploring the perceptions of a commercial site owner in relation to a city-fringe green space, Bennett examines the site owner’s motives and meaning-making within the context of the law’s requirements on public safety, and explores the implications for perceived public accessibility of green space.
Clarke et al extend the geographical scope of the debate by providing us with a U.S. perspective. Recognising continuing international concerns about climate change, they draw on findings from a comparative documentary analysis across three cities to suggest how the concept of community gardens should form part of resilience planning for climate change.
Returning to the United Kingdom, this Special Issue concludes with a Practice Paper which provides a non-academic discussion of a programme of engagement and research surrounding the naming of a community green space within Merseyside. Within this piece, Smith illuminates how processes of community participation and collaboration culminated in important regeneration outcomes for the local community and its partnerships.
Taken together, these papers highlight the increasing complexity of issues inherent in greenspace provision and management and emphasise the importance of developing academic-practitioner partnerships in securing the future sustainability of access for all to quality green space.
Dickinson, J., Bennett, E. and Marson, J. (2018) Challenges facing green space: is statute the answer? Journal of Place Management and Development. DOI: 10.1108/JPMD-09-2017-0091.
UK Government and Parliament (2019) Petition: Save Our Parks. Available at: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/229894 [Accessed: 24/01.2019].