Natural England commissioned this research in January 2008 to explore peoples engagement with green spaces and how to most effectively encourage connection with nature in Urban greenspace. This piece of research links into natural England’s Outcome 2; People are inspired to value and conserve the Natural environment. More people are inspired to enjoy, understand and act for the natural environment. Recent work has highlighted the public health importance of local and neighbourhood (or doorstep) green space in deprived urban areas; those areas in which health and social need are often greatest, but where green space tends to be of poor quality and under-used.
This 18 month project used local partnership working to promote and improve neighbourhood green space in a deprived urban community in Stoke-on-Trent. An effective collaboration between Staffordshire University, Groundwork and other local agencies enabled levering in further investment thereby increasing the original budget.
A four part pre-post evaluation involved collection of qualitative and quantitative data: postal surveys, focus group interviews, a green space audit, observed levels of green space use and the testing of interventions.
Natural England will use this evidence and the experience from this initiative to inform our advice to others and shape delivery through Civil Society and local community partnerships wishing to improve the opportunities to engage with the natural environment.