Everyone should have access to clean air, nature and safe, outdoor spaces to learn, work and play. But with more and more of us living in cities, it’s getting harder to protect our green spaces from redevelopment. Gone are the days of chaining yourself to trees. These projects are showing us that today, you need to think outside the box and find creative ways of fighting for these places which we have taken for granted for so long. If you’re trying to protect a garden, a park or an outdoor space from being redeveloped, sold or destroyed, you might want to check out this list of people who thought outside the box to save a space that mattered to them.
Long Live Southbank Campaign
The Commons Act 2006 aims to protect common land delivering benefits for farming, public access and biodiversity. Communities can register a piece of land as a new Village Green or as an Area of Community Value (ACV). In 2013 Lawyers acting on behalf of the Save Southbank Skatepark campaign lodged an application with Lambeth Council to have the space registered and protected as an Area of Community Value, in response to plans by Southbank Centre to develop the Undercroft and relocate the skatepark. The Village Green application was rejected but the ACV was taken into consideration and as a result the skaters were invited to be involved in the new, less disruptive plans to develop the site and skatepark (in its original location).
Creating Bat Habitats at Phytology
The Phytology medicinal garden was established at Bethnal Green Nature Reserve in 2014. The project explores the ideas of use, value & complexity of the modern urban landscape. In 2017/18 the Phytology team launched a new bat sanctuary project – extending the natural resources of the Nature Reserve to accommodate urban bat populations. They are now in the process of extending the bat habitat project across East London, in collaboration with several housing estates and community groups looking to bring this protected species to their green spaces. It’s harder to shut a green space if it’s home to a protected species…. Just saying.
[more to come, please get in touch if you know of a project you’d like to see featured on this list]
*when it works smallprint. These lists will be regularly updated. If I find a project that I think has a really nice idea behind it, I’ll share it. If I later find out something really icky out about said project, I’ll take it down if I think it’s not worth sharing anymore.