Social Responsibility

Work on safeguarding public parks continues

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 09:52:00 BST

How often do you use public parks? Would it matter if they were no longer free?

Public parks remain prominent on public policy agendas as the Select Committee inquiry into the Future of Public Parks and the Department for Communities and Local Government consultation on preserving the free use of public parks illustrate. Debates include reliance on community management, the public value of parks, and the ways they provide public spaces for the interrelationships between arts, culture, sports, heritage and wellbeing. It is in this context that the Understanding Everyday Participation (UEP) project continues to work on solutions and contribute to these consultations.

In March, UEP co-hosted the event Valuing Parks and their Communities, which centred on the values and practices of community engagement in, and the sustainable development of, public parks. The report from the workshop is out now.

Building on this workshop, joint research is being produced with Esme Ward, Head of Learning and Engagement, The Whitworth/Manchester Museum, which looks at the relationship between parks, museums, activism and social integration. Meetings have also taken place with the Manchester International Festival (MIF) to discuss implications for the MIF participatory programme; as well as Manchester City Council library, sports and leisure officers.

The first publicly funded municipal parks in the UK opened in 1846 in Greater Manchester, so it is appropriate that work here at The University of Manchester is focussing on the safeguarding of these important public assets.

For more information or to get involved, please contact the park lead Abigail Gilmore, or UEP Principal Investigator Andrew Miles or the project’s External Relations & Research Impact Officer Charlene Linton.

UEP is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council as part of their Connected Communities programme with additional support from Creative Scotland. The project involves an interdisciplinary team of researchers based at the Universities of Manchester, Leicester, Exeter and Loughborough.

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