The world’s population is becoming increasingly more urbanised and as a result, the demand on green spaces has become greater, both in terms of areas for new development and equally as opportunities for public recreation.
Parks and the wider green infrastructure is now acknowledged as having a critical role in improving the nation’s health and general wellbeing. By providing places for exercise, cultural events, and for everyday contact with the environment, parks show themselves to be a vital part of our lives especially as many of us are now increasingly confined to home, commuting and our places of work.
Despite their value, parks and greenspaces are facing unprecedented budgetary cuts which are threatening their future existence. The APSE 2016 State of the Market Survey on Parks, revealed that over 90% of parks managers expected revenue for parks to decrease in 2016/17 and 69% expect reductions in capital investment.
It is against this backdrop of ongoing budget reductions, APSE’s 2017 Annual Parks Seminar intends to give colleagues some hope, by exposing them to innovative approaches to securing the long-term future of these valuable environmental assets.
The seminar is a must attend event for those officers and members who want to look at new ways of dealing with parks and greenspace issues, whether they be financial, environmental or social. It is intended that there will be particular emphasis on the future funding of parks, looking at the different alternatives.
One such example is the development of partnerships with like-minded bodies who not only can help finance new developments, but can also bring a new perspective on the future role and value of parks and green spaces. Income generation as always, will be considered with case studies of successful council generated schemes which could be transferable to other authorities. There will also be feedback on the results of APSE State of the Market report which highlights responses to many of the questions currently being considered by parks and green space managers tasked with sustaining their parks and green spaces.
A further consideration is how parks managers roles will need to become more generic, with the need to be multi-functional rather than horticultural specialists and therefore there will be discussions on how this transition may be managed. True to its role of promoting best practice and innovation, APSE has ensured that there will be information on both UK and international approaches to parks and their management.
APSE will continue to argue that public parks must be funded by public money, because many believe that income generation and different funding sources will only help the future sustainability of parks, and should not be seen as the total solution. However, through providing a range of diverse and interesting speakers, APSE hopes to show there is still light at the end of the tunnel for our parks and greenspaces and hopes that the information provided will help colleagues to be able to make that journey.