Residents of West Gorton, Manchester, get involved in GrowGreen

West Gorton, Manchester, needs more green spaces, according to residents that responded to a survey conducted for GrowGreen on their uses of existing open spaces in the neighbourhood.

Logo for GrowGreen West Gorton, designed by local children

Designing effective nature-based solutions relies on the involvement of local people. It’s important to ensure their preferences for green space are taken into account, so that the resulting nature-based solution meets their needs. Local people also know best the problems they are facing and their knowledge is important in the design process.

GrowGreen is getting local residents involved in designing demonstration projects to show how nature-based solutions can reduce flooding and heat stress in its project cities of Manchester, Wroclaw and Valencia. As one of the first stages of the project in West Gorton, Manchester, community members were consulted this spring about what they like and don’t like about their current green spaces and what improvements they would like to see.

Residents were invited to answer a questionnaire, go to drop-in sessions held at the local medical centre and shop, and take part in a family treasure hunt for Easter. School children and young people at the local youth club also got involved by designing a logo for the project in West Gorton.

Many respondents to the questionnaire were positive about the existing green spaces in the neighbourhood, and used them to meet neighbours, enjoy the flowers and trees, and let their kids play outside. But others, including many young people, didn’t like them. Perceptions that they were unsafe, inaccessible or not enjoyable, held people back from spending time in them.

Nevertheless, there was strong support for increasing the green spaces in the area. Over 95% of people that responded to the questionnaire wanted to see more high-quality greenery in the neighbourhood and came up with many suggestions for places that would benefit from street trees, green walls or pocket parks.

GrowGreen will continue to work with the people of West Gorton as the project develops. Meetings with the youth group and a local over 50s group are planned for them to learn from each other and share memories of the neighbourhood. Drop-in sessions and workshops will be held to discuss the designs of the nature-based solutions. With their help, GrowGreen will improve and expand the green spaces in West Gorton for all to enjoy.

Watch more about what’s been happening here: