We believe that everyone has the right to access quality green spaces. Parks and green spaces bring value in many ways:
- Improved physical and mental health for users
- Environmental benefits and contribution to sustainability
- Economic impact: through commercial activities, supporting tourism and property values
There are three key issues that concern The Parks Alliance:
- Funding and innovation
The members of the Parks Alliance have a justifiable reputation for innovation in the face of challenging conditions. However, recent years have seen dwindling resources for green spaces in the UK. The Fabian Society report Places to Be predicts spending on parks will be reduced by 60 per cent by 2020.
This makes little sense when parks and green spaces provide a cost effective leisure and healthy living option for the public – and one which is frequently cited as being key to happiness and wellbeing by the general public.
We are concerned, too, about the future. We want to ensure a workforce that is able to lead and innovate in the face of challenges from poor public health and climate change – as well as contributing to the UK’s wealth.
- Environment and Sustainability
We are committed to sustainable environmental management. The individuals and organisations that comprise our membership have a strong track record of ensuring environmental sustainability. We draw on this expertise and dedication to make sure that we enable our environments to prosper and sustain themselves, which in turn supports cost effectiveness.
As well as being concerned about the general impact of climate change and working to mitigate its effects, we are concerned to ensure that our green spaces are protected in very specific ways. This includes the protection of UK species, regimes to prevent diseases, and the use of environmental management techniques to mitigate the impact of flooding and to conserve water
- Parks for health
We support healthy lifestyles and well-being. Parks and open spaces are frequently cited by the public as being core to their wellbeing. The HLF report 20 Years in 12 Places shows parks have the greatest impact on residents’ quality of lives.
In addition to being places of leisure and relaxation, for many, parks act as free gyms. Parks are open to and well used by the whole community, increasingly with additional facilities to support physical fitness. Parks and open spaces are a cost effective means of maintaining physical and psychological wellbeing. They will play an increasing role in tackling problems of public health, including obesity, and the impact of social isolation.
A pilot study on a hot summer’s day in Manchester city centre found surface temperatures in a paved public open space reduced by 13°C under a mature canopy, compared to full sunlight