This last year has really proven that we cannot take green space and landscape for granted. Local Authorities across the UK were overwhelmed by the huge increase in the use of parks, but more importantly the use of every single inch of space, discovering previously ignored areas within the park.
of people said they were visiting green space more during lockdown
surveyed were more aware of the impact of green space on their mental health
of disabled people reported that Covid-19 affected their wellbeing
of non-disabled people reported that Covid-19 affected their wellbeingPlaces like Drumpellier Country Park were criticised for high visitor numbers who travelled from further afield in the lockdown months, but where else could disabled visitors go? This playground has been designed to be truly inclusive, unlike most playgrounds across the UK.
Improving access to quality green space has the potential to improve health outcomes for the whole population. However, this is particularly true for disadvantaged communities, who appear to accrue an even greater health benefit from living in a greener environment. Both the NHS and other government departments recognise the crucial importance of access to good quality greenspace s a key factor for health. This is reflected in a wide range of policies across Government including the Childhood Obesity Strategy, Everybody Active – Every Day, Loneliness Strategy, Sporting Future to name a few.
Analysis reveals a marked disparity in access to green space and particularly a strong correlation between greenspace deprivation and ethnicity. Place matter – living in a deprived area of the North East is worse for your health than living in a similarly deprived area in London, to the extent that life expectancy is nearly five years less. Fair Society, Healthy Lives (The Marmont Review)
of urban greenspace in England declined from 63% to 56% between 2001 and 2016.17
Designing for inclusion means a certain understanding on a wide range of disabilities and special needs. How can this information be accessed easily without full-time study? The PiPA working group carefully formulated a set of criteria, considering both the needs of children and weighing that up wit budget restrictions and sustainability. A PiPA Checklist is available to help you plan the design of a new play area or assess an existing area in terms of its inclusivity.
. Richard Low