Pocket Parks: Adding Greenery to Urban Environments
While city centres are filled with places to eat, drink, party and be entertained, there’s usually one thing missing: nature. Greenery is few and far between in our intricate concrete jungles, but that doesn’t have to be the case. But what’s the best way to integrate that much-needed slice of nature into the hustle and bustle of city life? One effective solution is pocket parks.
With a recent government funding boost for pocket parks across the country, we thought it would be a great opportunity to talk more about them, so read on to learn all you need to know about pocket parks and how they can benefit our cities.
What is a pocket park?
A pocket park is a small green space installed in an urban area for use by the general public. These small, communal parks provide people with a comfortable place to relax, walk their dogs, enjoy the greenery and simply escape from the hubbub of the surrounding city environment. Naturally, pocket parks are small (defined as ‘a piece of land of up to 0.4 hectares’). They are often installed over single vacant lots, and thus can’t house expansive developments such as sports pitches, though they may sometimes have a small children’s playground.
Pocket parks plus fund
Announced in December 2018, the pocket parks plus fund provides a total £1.5 million grant to be shared with local councils and communities across the country. Communities can apply for grants of up to £15,000 for the creation of new pocket parks, and up to £25,000 for renovating existing ones.
Not only will this help local communities to create unique and attractive areas for residents, but it ensures that each pocket park can be perfectly planned and constructed to suit the specific needs of that area. With a passionate community being involved from the start, there’s the potential for some fantastic pocket parks to be designed and enjoyed by everyone.
What’s the benefit of pocket parks?
Pocket parks offer a range of benefits to urban environments. The Parks and Green Spaces Minister, Rishi Sunak MP, sums up these benefits perfectly:
- Green spaces offer people a sanctuary away from the hustle and bustle of life to relax, keep healthy, learn about nature or spend time together with loved ones.
- Not all communities enjoy access to an abundance of usable space, while some existing parks might need a bit of TLC to bring them back to life. The pocket parks plus fund will help local people to create and maintain small oases that they can take pride in and benefit from for years to come.
Whether it’s just a morning stroll on the way to work or regular trips with kids or family, a pocket park breathes new life into congested city centres. Through this scheme, pocket parks can become a place of pride for the local community — as well as a place to connect to nature and learn more about it, which is a huge benefit for local, city-based schools.
Pocket park construction
Numerous winning bids have already been announced, with neglected urban spaces being revitalised for the good of communities across the country, including Cornwall, Newcastle, Wolverhampton, Walsall — among others. The construction of pocket parks is not only a fantastic opportunity for councils and communities to get creative and exercise their greenfingers, but it also encourages them to take their time to ensure the final product is as high quality as can be.
To achieve this, it’s best to enlist a professional landscaping team from the early stages. At John O’Conner, we work closely with local authorities to ensure pocket parks are created and maintained to a high standard. We will utilise our wealth of experience and passion for landscaping to create a small slice of oasis in the midst of grey concrete.
If you want to take a fresh look at your existing park or interested to learn more about pocket parks, contact the team at John O’Conner today. With our expertise available for projects of all sizes, you can be sure that your park is in safe hands.