COVID-19 has resulted in an increased number of us valuing nature more, with almost half of people polled saying they are spending more time in local green spaces or gardens. Creating urban green spaces is not only important for personal well-being, it can also help towns and cities to help address some of the impacts of climate change such as increased urban heat and flash flooding. 

But can creating a closer connection with nature encourage people to follow a greener lifestyle? This question will be considered through a new Hubbub Urban Greening campaign in Manchester, supported by the Wates Family Enterprise Trust. 

Creating more green spaces

The collaborative, community-led campaign will explore how a close relationship with nature can encourage climate action amongst people living in more challenging urban environmentsIt is part of a wider partnership between Hubbub, Manchester City Council and the Manchester Climate Change Agency. Expected outcomes include building a greener city, developing more resilient communitiescreating new green jobs and providing more evidence for policymakers, while supporting wider research that explores the ways in which a closer relationship with nature can lead to happier and more sustainable lives. 

Why?

Increasing access to green spaces is one of Hubbub’s Greenprint ambitions as we seek to help the UK rebuild from the impact of COVID-19 in a way that is more socially just, fairer and more sustainable.    

Around 85% of the UK population live in urban areas, with a large proportion of households and communities having little or no access to any shared or private outdoor space.  As a consequencepeople living in urban settings are much less likely to experience the multiple benefits that nature can have in their everyday lives. 

In this Manchester campaign, Hubbub will be seeking to help increase access to green spaces, whilst also assessing the impact this has on people’s daily behaviours and longer-term views about climate change and our environment.

What else will we be doing?

Activities will be developed through extensive local consultation and will be a mix of digital content and practical on-the-ground projects, strengthening the relationship Mancunians have with nature and green space on their doorstep.

Ideas being considered include; empowering a local community to install and maintain a green roof, establishing vegetable patches for school children to promote a circular approach to food production andcompetition for design students around the theme ‘good things happen when we connect people to nature.

And at the end...

Hubbub’s ambition is that the campaign will provide further evidence that can help towns and cities across the UK develop strategies to create stronger, more vibrant communities, as well as helping them to adapt to some of the impacts of climate change. All interventions will be thoroughly and independently measured, with the aim of creating a toolkit of tried and tested initiatives that can be replicated by communities across the UK. 

If you are interested in being part of the Manchester collaboration, or would like to be kept informed of the campaigns progress, please email [email protected].

*Public Polling was with Censuswide from May 2020. Each poll was with a cross-representation of 2000-3,000 people. You can see all the results here