Study of 16,000 urban green spaces finds affluent wards more likely to have parks than poor areas

A far-reaching report that analysed more than 16,000 urban green spaces is set to fill the gaps in information on the quantity, quality and use of England's parks.

Northala Fields Image: Form Associates
Northala Fields Image: Form Associates

Urban Green Nation: Building the Evidence Base, published by CABE Space this week, looked at the state of England's urban green space and its impact on people's health and well-being.

The research also revealed that 87% of people have used parks and green spaces in the past year, compared to 29% who have visited a gallery.

However, the provision of parks in deprived areas is worse than in affluent areas, according to the research, which was carried out by Heriot-Watt University.

The most affluent 20% of local authority wards have five times the level of parks or general green space, excluding gardens, per person than the most deprived 10% of wards.

In addition, the report linked locals' satisfaction with green spaces with how satisfied they are with their council as a whole.

CABE chief executive Richard Simmons explained: "If I were a councillor fighting for votes, I'd commit to invest in what really makes local residents happy. Parks and green spaces have a big role to play in improving health and relieving stress. They provide great places to spend summer evenings at a pretty small cost to the public purse."

Researchers examined 70 data sources to come up with the evidence and links. A second part of the review is expected to be published in the autumn.This will examine the impact of the quality of green spaces on the well-being of people living in six deprived urban areas.

Parks consultant Sid Sullivan told HW he thought the research provided a "fabulously rich data set". He added it was critical for evidence to correspond with national and local government policies for it to have political leverage. "Politicians want to know how their policy is being turned into outcomes," he explained.

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