New urban greenspaces are being established via land regeneration to deliver a range of central government objectives, including sustainable communities, economic regeneration and environmental improvement. The extent to which greenspaces deliver these benefits can only be fully captured through carefully considered, integrated monitoring. Such assessments will also help inform on the wider social, environment and economic impacts of greenspace establishment through land regeneration.
Monitoring is required to:
- Assess performance against aims and objectives
- Promote efficiency and effectiveness
- Demonstrate success
- Assess sustainability
- Promote site
- Anticipate changes and future needs
- Stimulate creative greenspace design
- Drive a needs-based approach to land regeneration/greenspace establishment.
Too often monitoring programmes are given low priority in project delivery, they are under-funded and of interest to only a limited number of stakeholders. Increased effort is required in monitoring the benefits of brownfield greening, in assessing the impacts of urban greenspaces and evaluating sustainability. To support this, a common strategy for monitoring that is built in to land regeneration-greenspace establishment projects from the outset is required.
Monitoring must be:
- A funded activity
- Integral to project and site management cycles
- Qualitative, as well as quantitative
- Specific to local assessment needs, but relevant to national objectives
- Based on holistic criteria (encompassing social, environmental, economic and sustainability).
The fundamentals of a common strategy for monitoring are pertinent holistic evaluation criteria, backed by standard protocols for data capture, analysis and evaluation. The evaluation criteria pertinent to the assessment of greenspace establishment and success are listed in the table below.
|Economic||Social (communities)||Social (civic)||Environment|
Furthermore, new research has demonstrated the need to assign sustainability objectives to land regeneration and greenspace establishment projects. Sustainability objectives pertinent to the assessment of the success and sustainability of greenspace establishment are listed in the table below.
|Economic objectives||Social objectives||Environmental objectives|
|Be economically efficient and self-supporting||Encourage social inclusion and cohesion||Minimise the use of un-recycled resources|
|Provide employment opportunities||Promote health and well-being||Promote land, water, soil and air quality|
|Promote local and regional economic regeneration||Provide good accessibility for all to greenspace and local facilities||Protect biodiversity and the natural environment|
|Promote attractive, functional landscapes||Facilitate education||Conserve natural and cultural heritage|
|Promote local affluence and community prosperity||Reduce crime and anti-social behaviour||Combat the impacts of climate change|
(After: Doick et al. (2009) Defining the sustainability objectives of brownfield regeneration to greenspace. International Journal of Management and Decision Making. Vol. 10. Issue 3/4. Pp. 282-302)
What is Methuselah?
Methuselah is being developed as a strategy for monitoring the sustainability of urban greenspaces in the UK and to assess their effectiveness in delivering the benefits they are purported to.
It aims to:
- Fully integrate monitoring and evaluation into the management framework for greenspace sites
- Assess the current level of monitoring and evaluation information held for an existing site, including any gaps in the knowledge base, using the site management questionnaire (PDF-357K)
- Assess how this data contributes to the delivery of site objectives
- Fill knowledge gaps using methods from a range of monitoring protocols (provided by Methuselah)
- Measure the wider impacts of greenspace presence and site management
- Relate the management outcomes to Government policies, targets and sustainability indicators
- Assess the effectiveness of greenspace provision at the local, regional and national scale by combining data from a number of sites
- Identify areas where further research is needed
- Provide practical, process-based monitoring, in support fo management cycles.
How will Methuselah work?
Methuselah recognises that the aims and objectives of greenspace establishment and management can be thought of:
- Inputs - resources, investment or commitment to a project
- Processes - systematic series of actions
- Outputs - product, service or activity delivered directly by or through project
- Outcomes - consequences of a project, indirect output.
Each requires differing extents of commitment to monitor effectively. The relationship between inputs, outputs and outcomes is shown in the diagram below.
Methuselah also recognises that the aims and objectives of greenspace establishment and management relate to a specific stakeholder or stakeholders. Methuselah advocates the construction of a Logic Root Model to demonstrate the relationships between stakeholders, project aims and objectives and project inputs-processes-outputs-outcomes. A logic root model highlights opportunities and responsibilities in greenspace monitoring.
An example logic root model for brownfield greening projects, including a variety of greenspace aims and objectives and examples for a number of stakeholders is shown in the diagram below.
Logic root model diagram (PDF-52K)
Describing a land regeneration and greenspace establishment project within a logic root model highlights monitoring opportunities in contemporary greenspace establishment and management work practices. These include via:
- Project management of the land reclamation and regeneration phase of the greenspace establishment
- The site management cycle
- Research and development projects occurring at the greenspace.
Alternatively, monitoring and evaluation may be undertaken as a specific, funded activity.
The project timeline for the regeneration of land into greenspace (see the ‘Project Timeline’ diagram below) highlights that, whilst discrete, these monitoring opportunities inter-relate and may be used in support of one-another (as displayed in ‘Monitoring Opportunities’ diagram below). Methuselah endorses and strengthens the use of each of these opportunities for monitoring by considering each separately:
Project timeline for the regeneration of land into greenspace.
Shows the major stages in the regeneration of brownfield land to greenspace, higlighting that monitoring opportunities exist within delivery of the regeneration project, site management of the greenspace, appraisal of the greenspace, and through associated research and development.
Methuselah in practice
For more information contact:
Alice Holt Lodge
Surrey GU10 4LH
Tel: +44(0)1420 526177
Fax: +44(0)1420 520180