Housing and Public Green Space Development Pilot

The Housing and Development Pilot is working across a range of sites in Birmingham.

Sites includes Druids Heath, Edgbaston Reservoir and the new Midlands Metropolitan University Hospital Site. We are working closely with Birmingham Municipal Housing Trust

Our proposals are –

Putting residents at the heart of design and management

  • Create residents ‘Friends of Parks’ type groups for housing green spaces before and after it has been created?
  • Would residents want support in finding different ways to fund looking after the green space around their homes? This could include money for shared tools to look after green space through to building a space for the community to come together. Related to housing, could we make more effective use of communal space around housing stock to develop community gardens – There are a huge amount of health benefits in giving tenants and the wider community a safe environment to enjoy, and these spaces could also help tackle isolation, and encourage people of all ages to interact together and support each other

This proposal will contribute to our plans to help support 20 minute neighbourhoods to activate green space. In some areas, it could become part of wildlife corridors, giving health benefits to residents in deprived areas, with increased community cohesion and reduced ASB, such as flytipping removal.

We have worked with residents of Cornerway Sheltered Housing Scheme in Kings Norton to sketch out what a communal garden could look like. Given Covid19 restrictions, they are really excited to have this space. We are working with local BMHT contractors and other building companies to help residents create these gardens, for them to look after.

If you are interested in finding more information about this part of the project, please contact Louise Fletcher on Louise.Fletcher@birmingham.gov.uk

Provide residents with a ‘Green User Guide’ (GUG)

  • This will help them to understand all the green space around their home, as well as tips on how to look after their gardens?

Desktop research and review of BMHT Home User Guides produced by their developers showed that very little or no information is included within Handbooks to new and existing tenants/residents in relation to looking after their gardens and what is available locally in terms of greenspaces and how they could get involved for example with and on-estate communal garden project. The GUG should provide lots of confidence to individuals who are otherwise unsure of how to maintain their gardens and opportunities to discover, get active, be close to nature, almost like a tourist map. We will be improving their health and mental well-being too. The GUG will provide useful information on maintaining general shrub, what weeds are and how to pull them out!

We have developed a template proforma for a specific housing site and testing out in development just about to complete. Feedback from the residents at this development will shape the proforma and the best approach to the GUG.

If you are interested in finding more information about this part of the project, please contact Rupinder Chawlia on Rupinder.Chawlia@birmingham.gov.uk

Related to housing, there is the question of wider development

  • There is currently a lot of policy and guidance that planning, and housing need to understand for putting green spaces into homes and all development sites. Should we find a simpler way to pull all this guidance  and policy together to help design even better green spaces for Birmingham homes and other developments?

This proposal will make sure that planning processes take full account of Green Infrastructure and Public Open Space in terms of design and place-making. It will also create a more uniform and structured response from the planning team to developers. This proposal also wants to make sure that we pay full regard to maintenance requirements and community involvement in the early stages of the planning process.        

So far we have developed a series of ‘do’s and don’ts’ when it comes to designing in green spaces – these have all been fed into the Birmingham Design Guide consultation. We are also working closely with Our Future City Plan 2040, which has a theme of City of Nature running through it.

If you are interested in finding more information about this part of the project, please contact Andrew Lindop on Andrew.Lindop@birmingham.gov.uk

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