The PERFECT project is now seven months into phase 2 of the project. The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown bigger challenges at us than we ever could have imagined, and the road ahead is unclear. However, one of the unexpected outcomes of the pandemic is that the importance of public parks and gardens for people’s wellbeing has shot up the political agenda, a messgae that the PERFECT project has been promoting this message for the last three years.
PERFECT partners have had to adapt the way in which they implement their action plans. We are pleased and proud of what has been achieved despite the circumstances, and each partner’s progress in 2020 so far is outlined below:
- Town & Country Planning Association, UK: The partner has continued to make the case for stronger policies on green infrastructure, including through sharing examples from PERFECT with the National Infrastructure Commission for their infrastructure and the environment project. The Green Infrastructure Partnership hosted a discussion about the English Tree Strategy consultation, to collate key issues that should be included in responses and hosted three webinars about different aspects of green infrastructure, which were attended by hundreds of local and national policy makers. The partner continued to feed into Natural England’s green infrastructure standards project through the Advisory Group, and publications from PERFECT, particularly around urban greening factors, have been used to feed into the accompanying development of a set of benchmarks and indicators.
- Cornwall Council, UK: The new Design Guide and Development Plan have been developed and consulted on – the latter contains policies that link to the Design Guide and set out requirements for green infrastructure and natural climate solutions. The mapping resource has been tested in three locations and the lessons from this will feed into the next phase of development, and into the production of a neighbourhood planning toolkit. Finally, the closure of schools has delayed the greening schoolyards pilot, but conversations and procurement are in progress and schools are taking part in a competitive process to be part of the programme.
- Social Ascention of Somogy Development, Communication and Education Nonprofit Ltd, Hungary: Good practice examples were shared with stakeholders and members of the Somogy County Council, to feed these recommended practices into the next period of project planning. Expert materials were also disseminated via online activities.
- Provincial Government of Styria, Department for Environment and Spatial Planning, Austria: In February, the Styrian Government amended the Spatial Planning Law and Building Up law to allow municipalities to reduce the impermeable surfaces and increase green infrastructure through the planning instruments for their area. The participation of experts from the spatial planning departments in PERFECT study tours and peer discussions was one of the factors that contributed to this change. The partner staff shared information about a green infrastructure webinar via a stakeholder newsletter and included links to their PERFECT action plan and website.
- City of Amsterdam, the Netherlands: In January, training was held for local ‘green coaches’, citizens who are trained to initiate and support local green projects and encourage participation from other residents. The PERFECT staff team contributed to the developed of the policy instrument ‘Main Green Infrastructure 2.0’ by highlighting the importance of green infrastructure for health, particularly in socially deprived areas, and this was also the subject of a lecture given at the Free University of Amsterdam. In June, the results from PERFECT were presented to local government and professionals in an online meeting.
- Regional Development Agency of the Ljubljana Urban Region, Slovenia: The final version of the Strategy for Protection and Development of Green Infrastructure was prepared in April 2020, and it was presented to the Council of the Region in June, where it was well received. The strategy has been published on the partner’s website and was distributed via email.
- Bratislava Karlova-Ves Municipality, Slovakia: Preparation work was undertaken for the implementation of a green roof on the local municipality office, and for the PERFECT pilot rainwater garden project in Kaskády Park. The Near-nature Green Space Management Plan was updated to include the creation of flowering meadows, reduce mowing regimes, installation of new information boards and preparation works to allow green infrastructure projects to be implemented. Finally, the partner prepared a map portal of the area to show vulnerabilities and measures to improve resilience to the impacts of climate change – this is available here.
- Municipality of Ferrara, Italy: Implementation of the Urban Green Infrastructure Georeferenced Database has begun, and stakeholders have been involved via email in this development.