Natural spaces in our towns and cities have lots of benefits: for our mental and physical health, for communities and for the local economy. However, not everyone has equal access to these benefits. This report looks at the evidence on equity in access to urban nature and how we can address it.
This report was written by Groundwork following in-depth discussions with representatives of 23 organisations in the nature and social justice sectors. The evidence shows that:
- People from all walks of life value access to nature but not everyone is able to benefit to the same extent
- The Covid-19 pandemic has made these inequalities more pronounced
- People from low income households or areas, people from ethnic minority backgrounds and disabled people are among the groups currently missing out
- Inadequate provision of parks and green spaces is one of the reasons, but people also experience complex barriers when it comes to accessibility, relevance and feeling safe
- Equitable access to public space is a right, so everyone managing natural spaces should be working to address this inequity
Based on this evidence, the contributors have three calls for action:
- We need to reimagine urban nature to ensure that it meets the needs and desires of communities today.
- We need to rebalance power in the management of green and blue spaces and build better partnerships.
- We need to integrate urban nature solutions fully into efforts to tackle health inequalities, climate change and biodiversity loss.