Re-imagining our streets – let’s turn parking spaces into growing places: a proposal for Islington Council
We are calling on Islington Council to re-purpose a percentage of Islington’s residential parking spaces as growing places. Through a simple system of Residential Green Growing Permits , Islington residents could apply to have a planter, rather than a parked car, in designated local parking spaces, adjacent or very close to where they live. These ‘mini allotments’ would help to address the high level of unmet demand among Islington residents for space to garden and provide hands on opportunities for many more families to become involved in growing. They would also:
- expand the amount of green space in the borough
- increase access to the nature
- give all residents, especially children, a chance to contribute to biodiversity
- help to achieve cleaner air.
Living local lives
Covid 19 is an urgent reminder of the importance of cleaner, greener local spaces. The challenges of social distancing mean streets must work differently as spaces for people to be and spend time. We will be living much more local lives. Our immediate street environment matters more. Turning parking spaces into growing places would help to transform Islington streets and estates into spaces where people and nature can flourish. Rebalancing our streets to meet health, mental well-being and quality of life needs.
We also know it works! In Mayton Street, N7, a single parking space has been successfully re-purposed as a growing space for nearly a year. The parking space has two 1.10m square planters, placed 1.5m apart. Planted with flowers and herbs, with a focus on bee forage, the planters are maintained by two adjacent households (22 and 24 Mayton Street).
Health & Wellbeing
Even very small green spaces can provide a habitat for many species of plants and insects, as well as an opportunity for local residents to grow food. Recent research from Bradford points to the significant additional, restorative benefits of bio-diverse spaces for psychological wellbeing. Every car journey begins and ends with a parking space. Reducing parking spaces will help to tackle the transport gridlock that London, and Islington, are facing post lockdown. Repurposing parking space to green growing spaces can also create many other opportunities. Food growing, wild-life corridors, bee-hotels, and feeding stations. A whole network of green oases for insects, birds and other wildlife can be created using this approach, with positive benefits for everyone.
Watch this space! We’ll provide regular updates on the Council’s response. If you would like more information, or a copy of the full proposal for Residential Green Growing permits, please get in touch.