i10: Reclaim Abandoned Spaces for more Green Spaces
Like every city, Hull has some abandoned spaces that could be reclaimed for public green spaces. Ian Shaw has recently turned an abandoned area in Harehills, Leeds into an urban farm growing vegetables for the local community. Ian has worked with a group of volunteers (9-17 years old) to build this urban farm from scratch (see here: https://www.leeds.ac.uk/main-index/news/article/4909/harvest-festival-at-inner-city-youth-farm). There are many such abandoned spaces across our city, which could be cleaned up and regenerated either for green spaces, creating new parks, urban woodlands, wildlife refugium or creating space for community urban farming such as the one mentioned above. A coordinated strategy and effort by the city council is needed.
Green Spaces are really important to our communities, they can serve as carbon sinks and air purifiers, help protect biodiversity, generate well-being and provide educational opportunities. Expanding green spaces can benefit the city by making use of (currently wasted) spaces to create a more liveable city. How an abandoned space should be used is context specific and should be ideally decided by both local authorities and local communities. Creating urban farms is great for health and educational benefits but would require greater commitment compared to creating new parks or rewilding.
Response to Suggestions:
- Volunteers: This is an important point, particularly if abandoned spaces are used for urban farming. Ian managed to recruit young locals to volunteer, working together with local schools, so maybe that could be an approach? Also can you contact those on the waiting list and invite them to volunteer in a communal urban farm, pointing out the advantages over doing it on your own? Kevin also pointed out that sometimes a better solution could be community orchards as they need less volunteer time.
- Ownership: This has been raised twice, albeit in different contexts. It is true that often community allocated green space is later repurposed for housing development. I guess to prevent that it might be good to make the council commit that a certain share of area should be reserved for green spaces in the city and various city districts, so if a green space is then used for development a new, close-by green space needs to be made available or the development cannot go ahead. And it is important to get local communities involved and help them with advice to find the best solution for how to best utilise abandoned spaces.
- Rewilding/Biodiversity: It is also true that many "abandoned" spaces are actually already spaces where rewilding takes place, though that's not what I meant with abandoned. I rather meant spaces where rewilding cannot take place because they used to be building sites etc. Certainly some green spaces need to be reserved for rewilding and biodiversity conservation (native plants etc.)
Suggestions for improvement (5)
Public land as community greenspace
Gardens and Open Spaces Hull
- 5 supporter