Parks inquiry MPs shown examples of best urban greening practice

MPs on the parks inquiry who challenged an expert to prove best practice on urban greening have been given a global overview of pioneering social projects and told to raise their "sights".

Town & Country Planning Association projects and operations director Julia Thrift and Landscape Institute president Denton-Thompson at the second public sitting of the parks inquiry in November - image: Parliamentlive.tv
Town & Country Planning Association projects and operations director Julia Thrift and Landscape Institute president Denton-Thompson at the second public sitting of the parks inquiry in November - image: Parliamentlive.tv

Town and Country Planning Association director of projects Julia Thrift highlighted award-wining landscape projects in Australia, Scandinavia and the USA.

Thrift was the latest big name to address the Communities & Local Government (CLG) committee, which is due to publish a final report in the new year.

"We hope the examples will inspire the committee to raise its sights in terms of what our country’s valuable networks of green spaces could do for us if only they were enhanced and managed deliberately to achieve specific benefits for society and the economy," she said in a letter.

Her written words to the inquiry followed up an evidence session last month where MPs challenged her to send them examples of good practice from abroad.

Thrift, a former head of landscape watchdog CABE Space, singled out Hammarby Sjostad in Stockholm for blending green infrastructure with new housing.

Minneapolis' park and recreation board successfully managed a network of parks for culture, local character, tourism, health and sustainability.

Meanwhile green infrastructure was used to reduce flash flooding in Copenhagen and Australia Parks Victoria anchored training, education and integration around green spaces.

In her letter she recapped her oral evidence session where she warned that the benefits of parks and green infrastructure were happening "almost by default, and that we are not planning, designing, managing and maintaining our green infrastructure to optimise its benefits in the way that other countries are doing".

Last week parks minister Andrew Percy pledged to set up a cross-Government group of policymakers and stakeholders to look at next year's recommendations of the parks inquiry.

In October the committee received around 400 written submissions before inviting experts to give oral evidence in front of the MPs, which Thrift did in November.


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