The PERFECT project has been extended one more year through Interreg Europe’s ‘call for additional activities’ (5th Call). The project will explore how the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the use of green infrastructure and how the recognition that spending time in natural spaces has benefitted citizen’s mental and physical well-being during lockdown can be catalysed by policy changes to deliver more high-quality green infrastructure.
The scope of the project is premised on the idea that the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly increased the pressure on, and value of, green infrastructure (GI) in urban areas. It looks at how the restrictions on indoor activities have led to a drastic increase in the use of outdoor green spaces (Natural England's People and Nature Survey reported that 46% of people were spending more time outside in July 2020 compared to before the pandemic) and how urban areas have tried to expand the amount of GI available for communities and deal with the maintenance issues associated with increased use.
The project also explores how public perception of the benefits of green infrastructure on people’s health and wellbeing has been altered. The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the relationship between the presence of high-quality GI in a neighbourhood and the levels in health inequality, which in turn has been shown to significantly influence how seriously a person might suffer from COVID-19.
All the PERFECT partners have grappled with these issues since the start of the pandemic and have adopted various emergency and long-term measures to tackle them. The partnership will exchange experience on policy and practical interventions to learn about good practices and explore options for navigating these new challenges.
This will be done through a variety of activities which partners will use to convince their stakeholders and decision-makers of the need to improve their local and regional policies to deliver more GI and will result in the long-term changes to the policy instruments to improve governance and implement new projects.
Activities include collecting information on perspectives on green infrastructure through an online survey; online workshops and peer-to-peer discussions; study tours to visit sites that have undergone changes to use and management; stakeholder meetings; the publication of two policy papers which will summarise the evidence and arguments for strengthening GI policy; and the identification and publication of at least eight good practices.
If your job involves the planning, provision or maintenance of green infrastructure please consider responding the survey following this link: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/B6YM82J
The partners that are involved in this project are:
• Lead Partner – TCPA, UK
• Partner 2 – Cornwall Council, UK
• Partner 3 – Social Ascention of Somogy Development, Communication and Education Nonprofit Ltd, Hungary
• Partner 6 – Regional Development Agency of the Ljubljana Urban Region, Slovenia
• Partner 7 – Bratislava Karlova Ves Municipality, Slovakia