Neighbourhoods Green is a partnership initiative which highlights the importance of open space for residents of social housing and works with social landlords to raise the quality of their design, management and safe use.
In this section you can find out more about how and why the project was started, and projects that are currently on-going to help raise the quality of green spaces and ensure that tenants get the maximum possible benefits from the green spaces around their homes. You can also find out more about how you can get involved with Neighbourhoods Green through our Friends scheme and the benefits this could have for your organisation.
Neighbourhoods Green began in 2003 when Peabody Trust and Notting Hill Housing Group identified the need to raise the profile of the green and open spaces owned and managed by social landlords.
The initiative was supported by CABE Space (now part of Design Council CABE), English Nature (now Natural England) and Groundwork London. With funding from the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (now Department for Communities and Local Government), the project researched the status and profile of green space with social landlords in London, prepared a toolkit and case studies to promote good practice, and published material which offered support and guidance to social landlords on the green space agenda. All of these publications can be found in the resources section of the website.
Neighbourhoods Green is now being delivered nationally with an aim to mainstream the role of green space assets into the operational and strategic context of social housing.
Identifying the need
In England, 17% of households are social tenants. Social landlords are the main providers of affordable housing in the country, providing homes for 8.5 million people.
Significant quantities of green and open spaces surround these homes. In some areas, the green space stock of social landlords is estimated to be equal to, or greater than, the amount of green space owned and managed by the local authority.
The external environments of estates play an important role in how residents feel about where they live. The quality of open space also has a profound impact on people’s health and well-being and can provide a focal point for social interaction.
In 2009, CABE Space found that 95% of people thought it was very important to have green spaces near to where they live.
Yet, residents living in social housing are more likely to live in areas of public open space deficiency and poor environmental quality. In deprived, inner-city areas, people have access to five times fewer public parks and good quality green space than people in affluent areas.
Social housing green spaces are on the doorsteps of millions of people and offer the opportunity to provide residents with the same benefits of a good quality park. These include:
- socialising and relaxation
- experiencing nature
- growing vegetables
- participating in sports
- getting to know neighbour
These neighbourhood green spaces are a valuable local amenity and offer the potential to improve local well-being and quality of life for those who have the most to gain. These spaces require a commitment to quality in their design, management and maintenance and a recognition of the valuable opportunities they can offer communities.
The aims of the Neighbourhoods Green partnership are:
To develop and coordinate a national Neighbourhoods Green partnership project which champions good quality design, management and use of social housing green space
To establish local and regional housing/green space networks supported through Neighbourhoods Green to deliver practical green space initiatives
To develop and maintain the Neighbourhoods Green website and manage communications through the e-newsletter to support social landlords in the improvement of green spaces
To champion good practice and create opportunities for practitioners to share learning and expertise on the design and management of green space on housing estates
To build a robust evidence base from which to advocate the role of green space in place making and to influence relevant government departments and agencies to encourage policy and strategy that acknowledges the role of green space in social housing
How will this be achieved?
The Neighbourhoods Green partnership will:
- Identify new partners in the green space sector and engage social landlords in the Neighbourhoods Green agenda
- Make the website an up-to-date knowledge and resources hub for sharing learning and good practice within the sector
- Build a body of case studies, resources and publications which evidence the importance of green space in the context of social housing
- Use mapping tools to quantify the extent of green space that social landlords have influence over nationally
- Promote the Green Flag Award to raise green space management standards in the sector Represent Neighbourhoods Green at relevant conferences, workshops and events
- Deliver a programme of events to share learning and best practice