Do green spaces serve as health-promoting areas and reflect the needs of today’s users? Has the perception and use of green spaces changed since the Covid 19 pandemic began?
The project aims to re-evaluate the use of green spaces in the UK’s urban areas and to propose new design ideas to promote health, equality and biodiversity.
Highlighting the importance of how the green spaces ‘collectively – produced systems’ impact the life that goes beyond self-defined boundaries or temporal boundaries is the key focus of this study and is explicitly highlighting the health benefits green spaces provide to society.
The project’s design proposals are basing its outcomes on Queen’s Park’s case study. The site’s aspects are critically evaluated and defined together with scientifically based research aspects to form new insights of health-promoting effects that nature can offer.
Queens Park is a green space of Special Historic Interest. The park is situated by West and North Drives and South Avenue at the south end covering 7ha, and its position lies 1km to the east of Brighton town centre.
As green spaces became ‘a place of refuge’ for many individuals during the Covid 19 pandemic, the study also seeks to understand how these places are viewed today and, if treated differently, how is this manifested?
Just as any other system, green spaces embody multiple elements that function simultaneously. The ideas that arrived from the scientific research and other disciplines are applied to existing case study and propose the following:
1 EASY ACCESS AREA / This area accommodates those who, due to the site’s topography, find difficulties using lower parts of the park. This space proposes to engage in social activities and simultaneously offers an opportunity for a peaceful rest point with panoramic the views and bird watching activities across the park.
2 PLAYGROUND / The children’s playground area is in need of regeneration. The existing site’s topography offers an opportunity for broadening and incorporating these aspects into the playground. This would create an excellent opportunity for children to engage with the natural environment and enable healthier physical and mental development.
3 DOG OWNERS / Queen’s Park attracts a significant amount of dog owners. Although it is already offering a substantial area for these purposes, the study proposes widening and re-thinking this area to allow for more diverse and extensive use.
4 WILDLIFE POND / This area is of significance as many individuals and animals widely use it; however, this study focusses primarily on the benefits that serve an individual’s mental health.
5 PICNIC AREA / This area is proposed in reflection to green space’s study concerning BAME communities and its conclusion on the importance of picnic areas in various cultures. This is an area of great significance, and it has been greatly missed by many.
6 RESTORATIVE AREA / Green space is generally associated with restorative effects; however, the study argues that Queen’s Park has potential for significant improvements in this area.
7 COMMUNITY / Community engagement is already taking place in the park and creates opportunities for social engagements and bonding; however, it appears to be slowing down and needs further engagement and financial support.
8 SPORTS AREA / The project recognises the need for sports activities, and this trend is on the rise, therefore, it proposes designated areas to promote health as a vital factor to this project. However, ball games should be restricted for the use in this area only.
9 History / Queen’s Park and its surroundings are a historically significant area, and the area’s character should remain. However, there appears to be a missed opportunity to showcase its historical aspects, so the project proposes highlighting these significant features.
10 RUNNERS / There is evidently a growing number of runners using streets to exercise, and the idea is to propose a running track within the perimeters of Queen’s Park to accommodate space for healthy exercise for runners.
11 TREES / According to the local council’s survey, the trees in the park are the most important features for communities. The project recognises the importance of this as it benefits every area of the proposal and the project aims to promote planting.
As a part of the research, I am gathering new information to gain better-understood insight into the use of green spaces, pre-pandemic and during the pandemic, and I would appreciate it if you filled in this survey below (please copy and paste the link into a new web browser window).