A guide published this week aims to help communities and business partnerships improve green infrastructure in their local areas.
The Landscape Institute document Local Green Infrastructure: Helping communities make the most of their landscape highlights the social and economic benefits that can be created by integrating green infrastructure into the planning and design of an area.
Aimed at local decision-makers, it highlights carbon reduction, reduced flood risk, cleaner air and water, increased wildlife and biodiversity and more attractive surroundings as key reasons to increase green open space in villages, towns and cities.
The guide uses eight case studies around the UK to demonstrate successful green infrastructure strategies and lists 12 ways that communities can start to implement changes.
Landscape Institute chief executive Alistair McCapra said it was an important time for communities and businesses to be thinking about green infrastructure.
"In recent years there has been a lot of money available for big regeneration projects and that just isn't around any more, but that doesn't mean nothing can be done.
"Green infrastructure on a local scale is something that is relatively affordable, and it's important in a recession that everything doesn't just stop. It's quite do-able for most community groups or business partnerships," he added.
Local green infrastructure Suggestions for possible improvement
- Identify achievable benefits in the area and prioritise them to attract funding.
- Consider how local green space can be a community asset.
- Create green networks.
- Ensure that local plans promote adequate standards.
- Consider long-term management plans.
- Make use of local community knowledge.
- Consider uses for vacant land.
- Consider incorporating public art in local spaces.