6 October 2020
Access to Green Space is Needed for Everyone
Green councillors in Norwich are highlighting the need for everyone to have access to green spaces near their homes, following the publication of data by Friends of the Earth which shows the central and eastern parts of Norwich to be deprived of green space (1, 2).
Norwich’s city centre, is one area where access to green space is not readily available. Local councillors say this is detrimental to the health of local residents, particularly the 28% of children in the ward who are living in low income families (3).
Councillor Martin Schmierer, Green Party councillor for Mancroft ward (which covers most of the city centre), said:
"The importance of green spaces cannot be overstated. They foster a sense of community and improve health outcomes. The city centre of Norwich sadly does not have the kind of parks and open spaces that other cities do as this report highlights.
“This serves as yet another reminder of how important it is that serious consideration be given to turn undeveloped parts of the city into green spaces, rather than attempt to create a high density urban environment, simply in the pursuit of profit."
A recent study showed that properly designed outdoor green space can have the potential to reduce violent crime and gun violence, while making communities safer and keeping residents healthier. However, the study also noted that poorly designed green space can make problems of crime worse. (4)
Currently Mancroft ward has approximately four times more burglaries than the average for Norfolk and about sixteen times more thefts or robberies than the average for Norfolk. (5)
Councillor Schmierer said:
"The recent lockdowns have meant that people have had to spend considerably more time at home. It is therefore vitally important that residents, especially in places like the city centre gain access to the high-quality, well-designed green spaces that they deserve."