A new evidence review, Space to Thrive, setting out the evidence on the social benefits of urban parks and greenspaces has been published by the National Lottery Heritage Fund in collaboration with The National Lottery Community Fund.

Conducted by researchers from Sheffield Hallam University and the University of Sheffield, the review was commissioned by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and Community Fund, and is based on a review of 495 studies published within the last 10 years.

“Parks and green spaces have power.
They can change how people live in a place,
interact in a place and choose to stay in a place.”

Focusing on health, wellbeing and social integration, the evidence is presented within the context of increasing policy interest in the social benefits of parks and greenspace. A summary of key findings is below more info can be found here.

Key findings include:

·       Physical health, mental wellbeing and life satisfaction are all enhanced through access to and use of parks and greenspaces

·       Parks create important opportunities for social integration

·       Parks provide opportunities for community engagement and local residents value the chance to be involved in designing and improving their greenspaces

·       Parks and greenspaces highlight inequalities in society

·       Parks and greenspaces enable people to connect with nature, which in turn brings benefits in terms of wellbeing

·       There are economic benefits of parks and greenspaces

The report recommends that parks and greenspaces should be:

·       seen as social as well as physical infrastructure

·       managed to support health and wellbeing

·       managed to encourage connections with nature