Green Halo Conference 2020
At the beginning of this year we were approached through our connection with spudGROUP to speak at the annual Green Halo Conference, on 4th Feb, to provide a future generation request to the local authorities and communities for their environments. With the conference focusing on ‘Thinking big’ and concluding with the power of acting locally.
The Green Halo Partnership is a collective of businesses, universities, charities and communities unconstrained by administrative boundaries ensuring that the natural environment is integral to how the areas work and live and recognising its contribution to the local economy and society. They aim to inspire through promoting best practice, encourage by developing and delivering new projects, support by identifying resources for projects and offering advice in delivery and informing by promoting and publishing research and communicating with local communities.
The conference talks raised issues of health and wellbeing and the climate crisis with it highlighting that ‘the time for adaption and collaboration is now’.
Our relationship with our environment is becoming increasingly strained as aspects of contemporary life such as an increase in technology and the pace of modern life has reduced our contact with nature. The public health act of 1875 promoted the restorative nature of urban parks yet as experiences with nature become progressively unavailable to the new generations and an increased experience of environmental pollution shifts the base of reference. The acceptable quality, richness, and variation in nature experiences declines. However, the importance of nature to our health and wellbeing still holds true.
Public spaces are pivotal for the younger generation providing places to explore independence outside the realms of home, work or school. Yet young people or young adults between the age of 12 to 25 are not represented or included in the process of place making and are therefore do not have a considered place in our towns and cities. Our existing spaces have currently been designed by a committee lacking in diversity, age/race/sex, and we are not left with inclusive spaces.
Including young people in the process and considering them in the design affords them ownership, respect and an embedded sense of pride in their communities. This has been evident in the work produced by the students attending spudYOUTH. They are thoughtful and considered of not only their own intentions and desires for a space but all members of the community that engage with the place or space they are designing. They want spaces, grey, blue or green, that are active, places that facilitate the potential of arts, gathering and community. With the increasing pressures in our environment and climate they want to be part of that change, they are the current and future champions of their spaces. They want to be a positive part of the identity of the areas in which they live, and we have the ability to support them in achieving the change our spaces need.
In summary a prevailing quote from Jane Jacobs “cities have the capability of providing something for everyone, only because and only when they are created by everybody”