The UK’s urban parks and gardens are important in the lives of many today, whether for exercise and recreation, contemplation and meditation or general appreciation of open spaces and wildlife.
Government now places a high priority on urban green spaces, leading to increased funding to reverse the decline of historic public parks over past decades. Funding programmes include the joint initative between the Big lottery fund and the Heritage Lottery Fund Parks for People and less directly the Big lottery fund for Community Wildlife.
The priority for improving urban parks and gardens is reflected in calls for increasing standards and the regeneration of space for new parks and gardens. Initiatives for the continued upkeep of existing parks and gardens have led to the subsequent creation of awards for successful sites, and these include:
- The Green Flag Awards for high environmental standards
- The Parkforce awards by CABE (Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment).
- The Great Spaces initiative, launched in March 2009 by the Mayor, to champion and celebrate the shared efforts to radically improve public space throughout London.
Community garden schemes have also been organised across the UK that reclaim urban land for the growth of food and plants as neighbourhood community projects. The Federation of City Farms and Community Gardens (FCFCG) supports local groups in managing farms, gardens, allotments and other green spaces to help empower communities in deprived areas to make a positive impact on their local environment. The projects provide a new outlook on the future usage of urban greenspaces.