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GreenSpace Research

An opportunity for change: Exploring the Trust option for parks and green space services

Having engaged with a range of organisations that are directly delivering high quality green spaces management as a Trust, this guide by GreenSpace provides a practical guide to the feasibility stage of establishing a Trust.

Abridged version
Full version

Community Networking Project Reports (2003/2011)

Two reports from GreenSpace which form part of an on-going project providing an analysis of the extent of community group involvement in parks and green spaces.

Impact of the Comprehensive Spending Review (2011)

This study, targeted at local authority green space teams, on the brink of agreeing their annual budget for 2011/2012, seeks to examine the following:
  • In terms of budgets and service commitment, are green space services being treated equitably?
  • Are cuts to green space services likely to inhibit their ability to positively contribute to wider agendas such as health and wellbeing, social cohesion and climate change?
  • Is the sector's capacity to remain a vanguard of Big Society being eroded?

Blue Sky Green Space (2010)

The Blue Sky Green Space report outlines the many benefits that a diverse range of quality green spaces bring, covering health; communities; economic and environmental value. It is backed up by firm facts and figures and will prove an excellent resource.

The Executive Summary which was sent to ministers in October 2010 is also available to download alongside the Climate Change Summary which was released in support of Climate Week 2011.

Park Life Report (2007)

The Park Life report is the first ever national satisfaction survey of Britain’s parks and green spaces. Almost 20,000 people have contributed their opinions on parks and green spaces which represents the biggest ever survey into what people think of Britain’s parks and green spaces and the essential role that they play within the community.

Green Future - A Study of the Management of Multifunctional Urban Green Spaces in England (2005)

Green Future is a challenge to current thinking about how the parks and squares of our towns and cities are managed. Charting the late twentieth century decline, Alan Barber argues that current efforts to repair the neglect of our green spaces need more radical solutions to overcome the many institutional forces ranged against them. He advocates a new form of partnership between the local authorities and the communities they serve locally accountable, dedicated and sustainable.

Public Parks Assessment (2001)

PPA was the first nationwide audit and review of the condition and trends of park services and historic parks, and the circumstances under which services are delivered. The survey supported the view that urban parks in the United Kingdom, in general, are in serious decline. This publication is a report based on the results of a survey undertaken with 405 authorities.

Towards a Renaissance of Country Parks (2003)

A comprehensive piece of research that did for country parks what PPA did for all other parks. Some of the major recommendations contained within the final report are currently being implemented by the Country Park Network officer. Funded by the CA, and with the involvement of many different organisations forming the project steering group, the research was undertaken and completed in partnership with the Garden History Society.
Beacon Council Skills and Career Mapping
Undertaken in conjunction with the Parks Agency, this study examined the work of the local authorities that received Beacon Council status for their open spaces, considering the organisational structures, skills, qualifications and career paths of the work force with a view to identifying any transferable good practice approaches. The work was commissioned by LANTRA, in partnership with many other organisations including English Heritage, Countryside Agency, Sport England, CABE Space and English Nature.

Management Planning

A review of current good practice in the development of site-based management plans, commissioned by CABE Space in partnership with HLF and the Civic Trust. The study also reviewed existing guidance on the subject. An integral part of the study was to produce an approach and guidance that would be of benefit to all of the partner organisations. A good practice guide based on this research has been published by CABE Space.
HLF Public Parks Initiative: Setting Standards for Evaluation
This research was commissioned by the Heritage Lottery Fund. The research examined methods of assessing quality within a green space environment, and developed objective quality indicators that are useable in a self-assessment manner.

Decent Parks, Decent Behaviour

Our inspiring report on the link between the quality of green space services and the behaviour of visitors, produced for CABE Space, has provided the case study material highlighted in the CABE Space publication Decent Parks? Decent Behaviour? This influential publication is helping to reshape approaches to tackling vandalism and anti-social behaviour.

Assessing the Links Between Local Authority Expenditure and Urban Green Space Quality

Working in partnership with Sheffield University, GreenSpace helped to try and unravel the mysteries surrounding local authority expenditure on green space services and how the amount spent influences the quality delivered. Examining issues such as the financial decision making framework, the influence of politicians, and how quality is measured locally, the final report drew some potentially far reaching conclusions. This research contributed to the CABE Space publication, Urban parks: Do you know what you're getting for your money? You can download this report here .
GreenSpace, together with The Parks Agency and Andrew Parsons Associates, have played a major role in the development of this exciting new CABE Space consultation tool. The tool provides a structured dialogue approach that helps the various different stakeholders involved in any green space to reach consensus about its development and to better understand each others perspectives. The tool has great potential for aiding the redesign of green space that fail to meet visitor needs and as a fundamental starting point in the design of new spaces. The development and refinement of the PCT continues, and will soon be widely available for use.
Green Flag Assessment Guide
Initially on behalf of HLF, GreenSpace has undertaken a review of the Green Flag Award assessment criteria in terms of its potential as a quality assessment tool that can be applied directly by practitioners. Discussions with CABE Space and the Civic Trust eventually resulted in them funding the work and they are now considering the potential of this tool as an additional judging aid.

Generic Visitor Survey Questionnaire and Visitor Counting Guidance

This involves the development of a generic visitor survey questionnaire (VSQ) that HLF can ask applicants to their Public Parks Initiative to undertake as part of their pre and post application preparation.