The green space inequality in Islington
Visiting green spaces can promote their physical and mental well-being. However, not all of the neighbors and residents can benefit from green spaces within a 10-min walk as well as others. In Islington, where the proportion of green spaces is the lowest (13%) in London, within a 10 min walk, people living in the north of the south of St. George's Ward and the north of Holloway Ward can only access small green spaces that do not successfully deliver the value of nature to residents.
Low engagement of small green spaces
We divided small green spaces in this area into small parks, small local gardens, and street open spaces. Among them, small parks can engage more people to stay for some time because of their variety of facilities. There are not many people who go to small local gardens, but people who go there often stay for a longer time. However, there are relatively more people passing by street open spaces, but they often don’t stay for a long time. People living in this area are more like to go to bigger parks instead of small green spaces, which would also cause an imbalance of the use between small green spaces and bigger parks.
Small local gardens are undervalued but have big potential
Research location: the north of the south of St. George's Ward and the north of Holloway Ward. (In this project, we use 'Small local gardens (SLG)' to present the small gardens that are mainly maintained by local residents, instead of the local council.)
- Good maintenance: Among these small green spaces in this area, Penn Road Gardens, a small but beautiful garden mainly maintained by local residents is under good maintenance and has plenty of plants and flowers.
- Trend: More and more small local gardens appear in Islington.
- Big amount: There are many small gardens mainly maintained by local groups, instead of the local council. They are not well-known to the public like Hyde Park.
- Bigger proximity: Compared with big parks, people can access small local gardens quicker, because small local gardens are closer to people’s homes. But people are more go to the bigger park instead of small green spaces. Through the interview with residents in Islington, we found people will go to closer green spaces more regularly if the spaces can meet their needs.
- Community cohesion: Making small local gardens more engaging can provide neighbors with opportunities to meet others and connect with others, which can help the community stronger.
In order to tackle the unequal benefits of nature in Islington, we think it is important to increase the engagement of small local gardens, so in the following phase we explore the question ‘How might we make small local gardens more engaging to deliver nature value to more people?’.
“We’re determined to create a more equal Islington, and maximizing the potential of Islington’s parks and green spaces so that they can support everyone” from Cllr Rowena Champion, Islington Council’s Executive Member for Environment, Air Quality, and Transport