Make Neighbourhoods Green

Throughout Britain and beyond there are many examples of projects and initiatives that have made neighbourhoods better for walking.

The three case studies below briefly describe some of the improvements that have been achieved to ensure everyone has access to high quality green spaces, and how the work was done, in the hope that it will provide inspiration for others.

Importantly, "make neighbourhoods green" is the first of our five Charter for Walking Neighbourhood asks. We hope that the case studies below will show tangible examples of how local authorities and community groups can work together to implement our Charter asks - and create neighbourhoods that truly put people walking first.

Case study 1: Mab Lane Community Woodland, Liverpool

Make neighbourhoods green by bringing derelict land into use through innovative funding arrangements and community engagement.

Wildflower meadow with a signpost

The 25-hectare site that is now Mab Lane Community Woodland was previously derelict land and playing fields, plagued with problems of flooding, neglect and vandalism, and many local people avoided it. Now it is a much-loved and well-used green space that has become a popular route to local shops and facilities and a desirable destination in its own right. 

Previously the area was widely regarded as undesirable and housing associations struggled to let nearby homes, whereas now there are waiting lists.

The area used to be two large fields that were so derelict and unwelcoming that most people kept away from them. However, Liverpool City Council decided to offset the carbon footprint of the city’s 2008 Capital of Culture festival by planting trees, and as a result 20,000 trees were planted on the site to create Mab Lane Community Woodland. In addition to the tree planting, measures were taken to prevent flooding, improve drainage, and enhance the landscape.

The woodland, officially opened in June 2010, now has a network of native trees, wildflower meadows, a community orchard, seasonal wetland areas, and footpaths.

Find out more

TCPA research - Walking in urban parks and green spaces

Case study 2: Old Kent Road Development Area, London

Make neighbourhoods green by setting clear requirements for development and collaborate with neighbouring areas.

Credit: Southwark Council

The development of large sites in Old Kent Road area presented Southwark Council in London with an opportunity to think strategically how they would not only deliver new jobs, housing and schools to the area, but how they could better design the urban environment to link people with nature and encourage walking for everyday journeys.

Southwark’s ‘Old Kent Road Area Action Plan’, sets out how the London Borough will over time create a ‘Greener Belt’ to link up Southwark’s existing parks with those in neighbouring Boroughs and creating new green spaces and linear routes.

Pedestrians and cyclists will be prioritised, trees will be retained and planted, road crossings will be improved and some existing streets will be re-purposed as linear parks.

The Plan makes what is required of developers clear. All development must:

  • Provide the new parks and green links shown on the masterplan and the sub areas; and
  • Provide 5 square meters of public open space per dwelling. If it is not feasible to deliver the open space on site, a financial contribution will be required; and
  • Provide temporary routes through sites in phased developments.

Find out more

The vision for Old Kent Road 

Case study 3: Building With Nature, Cornwall

Make neighbourhoods green by setting high quality standards.

Cornwall Council and Cornwall Wildlife Trust have developed a pilot programme to introduce new green infrastructure quality standards for developments.The ‘Building with Nature’ quality standards being piloted have been developed by Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust (GWT) and the University of the West of England (UWE) to encourage a proactive approach to nature-friendly development, with accessible green areas as integral to development.

Run by the GWT, Building with Nature provides a framework of quality standards, an assessment and accreditation service, and national awards recognising the design and delivery of high-quality green infrastructure.

The standards are free to use and can assist with the planning and development of new places and communities.

Find out more 

Building with nature

What do you think?

Do you have any examples of best practice in making neighbourhoods green? If so, we'd love to hear from you: get in touch at campaign@ramblers.org.uk

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