Factsheet 4: Promoting Green Spaces and Mitigating Gentrification
Green spaces for everyone!
SUMMARY: COVID-19 and the associated policy measures that curbed vast stretches of public life highlighted the need for more urban green spaces, as people started to utilise existing green areas significantly more (in countries where parks and other green spaces were not closed down). This trend also emphasised the fact that some neighbourhoods – often populated by vulnerable socioeconomic groups, such as ethnic minorities, low-skilled and informal workers, etc. – have a lot less green space than others, exacerbating physical and mental health problems, as well as making it more difficult for people to socialise and engage in community-building.
Prioritise Green Space in Policymaking
Policymakers should make the accessibility of green spaces a priority when designing policies and engaging in urban planning. It is also important to lower green spaces’ barriers to entry for users from vulnerable socio-economic groups (ethnic minorities, homeless people, people with disabilities, …).
Green Public Spaces
A more equitable distribution of green spaces should be encouraged by both policymakers and civil society organisations by repurposing (little-used) grey areas and greening them, especially in disadvantaged neighbourhoods.
Adopt a Holistic Policy Approach
Any initiative to green a neighbourhood should include policy measures to prevent an increase in housing prices and general cost of living.
Role of Local Governments
Cities and municipalities, due to their status as landowners, have a crucial role to play and should prioritise community development rather than economic gains.
Involve Users and Mobilise Community
Another way of mitigating gentrification is to have users (i.e., the original residents of a neighbourhood) participate in the creation and definition of new green spaces.