University works with city partners to enhance parks and green spaces

The University of Plymouth is among the key partners in a city-wide project aimed at enhancing Plymouth’s relationship with its parks and green spaces.

The Green Minds project, led by Plymouth City Council, has received almost €4million in funding from the European Commission.

It aims to re-wild urban parks, gardens and verges, introduce a new system of working with partners and crucially, encourage more people from all walks to life to enjoy the health benefits that our green spaces provide.

The project complements the city’s work on the ground-breaking Future Parks programme, which secured funding in June 2019 to find sustainable ways to manage and fund parks and open spaces across entire towns and cities.

It also ties in with the ongoing efforts that will result in the seas around Plymouth being designated as the UK’s first National Marine Park.

The Green Minds project places particular emphasis on the city’s green and blue infrastructure (GBI), aiming to change attitudes and behaviours to give GBI higher priority and foster a management approach that works with nature rather than against it.

The University, through its School of Art, Design and Architecture and School of Biological and Marine Sciences, is leading one of the project’s work packages through which it will use scientific and digital tools to make nature in the city more visible and exciting.

Associate Professor Dr Katharine Willis said:

“This is about imagining the future of parks in Plymouth, and we will use creative digital technologies to reveal and value nature in the city. Our leading research in the area of smart cities and digital innovation will help this truly city-wide collaboration achieve this."

Professor of Marine Ecology, Professor Martin Attrill added:

“Plymouth already has some amazing parks, and is currently pioneering the development of the first National Marine Park. The Green Minds project will enable the city to continue setting the national agenda when it comes to rethinking nature and how the public engage with it.”

This funding has been secured in conjunction with other partners including the National Trust at Saltram House, Devon Wildlife Trust, RIO, The Data Place and Plymouth College of Art.

Councillor Sue Dann, Cabinet member for Street Scene and the Environment at Plymouth City Council, said:

"This is a really exciting time for our green spaces with so many national bodies keen to invest in making them the very best that they can be. This project will dovetail perfectly with our work on our Future Parks initiative and will in time lead to us running sustainable parks, nature reserves and woodland areas fit for several generations to come. I'm looking forward to working with all the partners and communities to see the benefits of this project.”