We are very excited to announce that we have been successfull in securing funding from Innovate UK for a £1.2 million urban greenspace valuation toolkit project! We are working with Vivid Economics (an economics consultancy) and Barton Willmore (a design and planning consultancy).
The online toolkit will help empower cities and developers to accurately assess the multiple benefits of green infrastructure, so as to make informed policy and business decisions.
The toolkit will help put a value on protecting, maintaining and creating green spaces, such as parks, gardens, street trees, rivers and canals. All of these are vitally important for quality of life, physical and mental health in urban areas, supporting recreation and community events, as well providing space for wildlife, absorbing rainwater and removing harmful air pollutants.
Up to now, it has been difficult for those who influence the future of green spaces, such as urban designers and planners, to make a clear business and policy case for why investment in these spaces is beneficial. As a result, green space is rarely given enough weight in decisions, leading to lack of investment, under provision, loss of opportunity, and even over provision of the wrong type of greenspace. A variety of data and metrics need to be processed to accurately put monetary values on the benefits created by urban green spaces. This is an expensive and time-consuming process that requires depth of expertise and access to big data sets.
The team will create an innovative evidence based easy-to-use toolkit. It will calculate location-specific economic values of the health, social and environmental benefits of urban green infrastructure. The project has been awarded funding by Innovate UK, the government agency supporting businesses to realise the potential of new technologies and commercial ideas.
The creation of the toolkit builds upon previous work that Vivid Economics completed for the Greater London Authority on assessing the economic value of London’s public parks. This study revealed that London’s public green spaces bring at least £5 billion worth of value each year – or £27 of value for every £1 spent by tax payers.
The project is at inception stage, with the finished product to be available in October 2019. The project team are keen to hear from urban stakeholders in order to build and tailor the toolkit according to the needs of local authorities and developers. For more information on this project visit the project website at greentoolkit.net. To get in contact with the toolkit innovation team, please email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
ECEHH will host two new posts associated with the project, see the urban greenspace jobs page for more information.