A green space guide designed to help social housing managers make the case for investment in green space was launched this week by the national social housing partnership Neighbourhoods Green.
The Greener Neighbourhoods guide highlights the significance of green space managed by social housing landlords who in England run estates housing more than eight million people.
Green leaders spoke at the publication of the good-practice guide to managing green space. Around £42m is spent each year on improving shared spaces around social housing, which accommodates 8.2 million people in England.
Project co-ordinator Nicola Wheeler said: "In some areas the landscape managed by social landlords is estimated to be equal to or greater than that managed by the local authority parks services."
The report, written by the Neighbourhoods Green partnership, includes case studies and 10 key principles, such as the need to take a strategic approach to improvements, prioritise maintenance and get residents involved.
The Greener Neighbourhoods study found that nine-tenths of social landlords used external contractors, just under a half used direct labour and a fifth involved volunteers in the upkeep of their green spaces (see box).
Gordon Dickson, portfolio manager at housing association Places for People, included in one of the report's case studies, said: "We need bespoke management plans, not one-size-fits-all for contractors. We are looking at several models and also how to get budgets down to residents. Some residents are put off by the thought of having to manage budgets and be accountable."
8.2m - The number of people living in social housing in England, which equates to 17 per cent of the country's households
- 66 per cent of all green space visits are within 2m of home.
- 37 per cent of landlords have food-growing areas on their spaces.
- 33 per cent of landlords are responsible for nature and woodland areas.
- 84 per cent of landlords use external grounds' contractors.