July 14, 2020 Joanne John

#LoveParksWeek – the importance of local green spaces and parks

This week is #LoveParksWeek and to celebrate, our colleague Zuzanna Golczyk, discusses the importance of local green spaces and parks.

Parks are very important to all of us. Our recent experiences during lockdown have brought this to the forefront of the public’s attention. Having a chance to exercise in a nearby park has been, for many people, the essential link to normality throughout these months. This year we’re joining #LoveParksWeek 2020 to help celebrate our local green spaces and parks. #LoveParksWeek is an annual national campaign run by Keep Britain Tidy that aims to encourage people to enjoy local parks and to raise awareness about our environment and the communities which help to protect them.

Parks during Covid-19 lockdown

It’s difficult to overstate the positive impacts which being in the park can have upon our well-being, particularly during these difficult and unprecedented times.

Because of the Covid-19 outbreak, the whole world has had to learn a different way of working and functioning. Being able to visit the park has given people a much needed release during the pandemic. Parks were also the first places where people could begin meeting friends, family members and loved ones again as restrictions lifted.

However, the current situation has put many people’s wellbeing under stress. Spending time in nature can counter these effects. It is widely recognised and documented that experiencing nature has a beneficial effect on many aspects of our lives. Research has shown spending 20 minutes in a natural place can reduce stress and help people from feeling overwhelmed during difficult times. It also enhances the ability to focus, which can make it easier to work from home. Psychologists say that even surrounding yourself with plants at home or watching nature videos can have a meaningful impact on our wellbeing.

Access to parks and other natural spaces will remain vitally important on the road to recovery from the pressure that the pandemic has put on our health and wellbeing. We need our parks more than ever before.

Creating places for the future

Bradley Murphy Design’s (BMD) leading aim is to create places for people and nature. This means that over the last 9 years, across a wide portfolio of projects, BMD has designed and delivered an array of parks and public green spaces which provide an engaging, direct experience of nature for those who visit them.

We believe that parks and green spaces are essential for individuals and communities and in 2018 created the award-winning H.A.L.O model to underpin the design of exemplary public spaces. The H.A.L.O model for growing healthy infrastructure was named the winner of the Ebbsfleet Garden City: Landscape for Healthy Living International Design Competition 2018.

H.A.L.O re-evaluates how the green, grey, blue and built infrastructure work together to make new communities inherently healthier, greener and smarter. It comprises four key design interventions, Hives, Arcs, Links & Organics, that collectively form an interconnected web of healthy infrastructure on residents’ doorsteps.  The whole process started with identifying the obstacles that hold people back from having healthy lifestyles and developed into a design ethos with people’s health and wellbeing at its centre. It won the award for its ‘radical but realisable’ approach that could be applied to future developments.

HALO Ebbsfleet BMD

Approach

Our company aspiration is to design and build accessible and resilient places that have the power to regenerate not only landscapes but whole communities, contributing to healthier lifestyles. To enable us to achieve this, we want to raise awareness of the need and importance of these spaces, educating where we can and collaborating with stakeholders to reach a common goal of beautiful and useable landscapes for everyone.

What can you do?

We invite you to join us in celebrating our parks and green spaces by taking a picture of your favourite park and post it using #LoveParksWeek.  You can also support your local park by joining the local green community group, volunteer group or Parks Trust, donating to charity or simply sharing this message to raise the awareness.