i3: Reclaim Abandoned Spaces for more Green Spaces
Like every city, our city 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 young 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.
Responses to Suggestions:
1) Considering Housing: I agree with Vicky that we need also to take into account the need for housing for Leeds' citizen. I assume that normally areas that are suitable for housing are in fact used for building houses. I also think that it is important to leave some areas for green spaces, even if houses could be built on them, otherwise we end up with a city, where there is no green space at all. Green spaces have an important function for overall wellbeing they are not just a nice thing to have. But, certainly an evaluation needs to take place for each abandoned space to determine how it should be used and this should include the option for building houses