The future of parks and green spaces is the focus of a fun public event at Leeds City Museum later this week.
Combining a free exhibition based on research from the University of Leeds, with the launch of a public consultation on the city council’s next 10-year parks and green space strategy, the event on Saturday, 9 November will also feature a pop-up park and interactive activities for all ages.
Visitors of all ages will be able to see how the city’s parks have changed through time, as well as get a taste of the challenges and opportunities they face in the 21st century – and have a say on how they are managed in future.
The event, running from 11am-4.30pm at Leeds City Museum in Millennium Square, is being organised as a collaboration between the Leeds City Council, University of Leeds and Leeds Parks and Green Spaces Forum, a voluntary organisation made up of individuals and organisations interested in enhancing the city’s green spaces.
It is being held as part of the national Festival of Social Sciences (2-9 November), run by the Economic and Social Research Council to help social science researchers engage with new audiences of all ages and backgrounds. The Leeds Social Sciences Institute is hosting eight events across the city of Leeds.
Councillor Mohammed Rafique, Leeds City Council’s executive member for the environment and active lifestyles, said: “Public parks and green spaces are essential to quality of life in a city, and the vast majority of our residents use them. We are keen to hear the opinions of local people on parks and their future so we can take them into account when putting together our strategy for how to manage them over the next 10 years.”
Dr Anna Barker, from the University’s School of Law, said: “Our exhibition focuses on the origins of public parks, how people use and value them today, and big questions about their future given deep cuts to local authority funding, no statutory protection and a host of other contemporary challenges.
“We want people to come along and share their views on what’s important to them about parks and green spaces in Leeds, and their future management.
“They can also find out about how to help protect and enhance parks for future generations, including through the Leeds Parks Fund charitable initiative.”
Activities throughout the day include a pop-up park, a history talk about the birth of the Victorian park movement by Dr David Churchill, public consultation workshops dedicated to having your say on the next 10 year strategy (sign up in advance) and opportunities to chat to researchers, council officers and members of the Leeds Parks and Green Spaces Forum and Leeds Parks Fund teams. There will also be activities for children, including designing a park!
A full programme of events for the day is at https://futureofparks.leeds.ac.uk/
If you are unable to attend the event on 9 Nov but are still interested in having a say in the future of Leeds parks you can take part in the online survey here from 9 Nov 2019 – 29 Feb 2020: www.leeds.gov.uk/parksconsultations
Leeds City Council, Parks and Countryside service manages around 4,000 hectares of land which includes 7 major parks, 63 community parks, 95 recreation grounds, and 155 hectares of local green space. These include 144 playgrounds and 500 sports facilities ranging from outdoor gyms to golf courses. Also included in sites we manage are several cafes and shops, 3 zoos and a farm! Additionally, the service manages a plant nursery at The Arium which produces over 4 million bedding plants each year, 96 allotment sites, 812km of public rights of way, and 156 nature conservation sites, as well as 22 cemeteries and 3 crematoria. There are over 50 million visits to these sites annually.
The exhibition is based on research conducted by Dr Barker, Dr David Churchill and Professor Adam Crawford, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and supported by LSSI Impact Acceleration Account grants, is part of a wider programme of research into public parks led by the University of Leeds – for more details, see futureofparks.leeds.ac.uk/
The 17th annual Festival of Social Science takes place from 2-9 November 2019 with over 470 events nationwide. Run by the Economic and Social Research Council, part of UK Research and Innovation, the festival provides an opportunity for the public to meet some of the country’s leading social scientists to discover, discuss and debate how research affects their lives. With a range of creative and engaging events going on across the UK, there’s something for everyone including businesses, charities, schools and government agencies. The full programme is available at: esrc.ukri.org/festival. Catch up and join in on Twitter using #ESRCFestival.
The Leeds Social Sciences Institute (LSSI) is hosting eight events across Leeds. For more information visit: https://lssi.leeds.ac.uk/esrc-iaa/activities/esrcfestival/
The University of Leeds is one of the largest higher education institutions in the UK, with more than 38,000 students from more than 150 different countries, and a member of the Russell Group of research-intensive universities.
We are a top 10 university for research and impact power in the UK, according to the 2014 Research Excellence Framework, and in the top 100 of the QS World University Rankings 2020. The University was awarded a Gold rating by the Government’s Teaching Excellence Framework in 2017, recognising its ‘consistently outstanding’ teaching and learning provision. Twenty-six of our academics have been awarded National Teaching Fellowships – more than any other institution in England, Northern Ireland and Wales – reflecting the excellence of our teaching. www.leeds.ac.uk