• Integrating Natural Greenspace into the Urban Environment

    Quite often you find opportunity to integrate natural greenspace into urban settings. This can provide an instant opportunity for local people to get close to nature. Increasingly these sites become more important as towns develop and expand. They can include habitats such as ancient woodlands, semi improved grassland, streams and ponds. Some guiding principles include.

    Site assessment

    What features does the site provide.

    Habitats

    Landscape

    Recreation

    Know your visitor.

    Be realistic! Who is likely to be using your site. If it is small it may only be immediate residents. So gear it to their needs. Don't forget to consider all your visitors. This includes local youths. Yep they have a right to be there as well!

    Sense of place

    Once you understand who is using your site you can then assess what infrastructure you may need. If this is potential route to school or used by local workers during lunch breaks then more surface paths may need to be built and perhaps benches for workers to have lunch.

    Link to other open spaces.

    Don't look at the site in isolation. Other open spaces can provide additional qualities and cater for different needs. For example more formal recreation parks and cemeteries. Consider how these can be linked into to your site. Natural greenspace can often be frontage to local residents, so consider how this can be an asset and not an eyesore.

    Safe by design.

    Urban fringe sites can bring additional issues such a feeling of personal security. These can be overcome by good design and management of sight lines.

    How is it going to be managed?

    This can often be forgotten. One of the most common problems I have encountered is no access for machinery has been provided to implement site management! If you are going develop a friends of group or provide other opportunities for community involvement. What are they going to do? What is their remit and what support do they need? Again be realistic.

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