Image courtesy of Places for People.
CFP were commissioned by registered social landlords Places for People to evaluate the delivery of projects to improve the quality and design of green space in a social housing context over a three year period. The assessment focused on the impact of the £15.7 million BIG lottery funded Green Spaces for People programme in 75 neighbourhoods across England.
Our evaluation covered the five key outcomes of the Green Spaces for People programme and comprised three key elements: delivery of the programme; the impact of regenerating green spaces on the local community; and, an assessment of organisational change.
We designed an evaluation framework, which included observation studies, quality assessments of 23 sites (before and after the improvements were delivered), review of housing management data, customer satisfaction surveys, face-to- face meetings with local communities, stakeholders and local agencies; and, the production of 15 case studies.
The evaluation found that the capital investment increased the average quality of the green spaces by over 70% against a scoring system based on the Green Flag Award.
Places for People and their partners can demonstrate that effective systems were in place for consulting and engaging with local people and that through this process the designs have changed based on local needs. The organisation can demonstrate good practice in terms of community engagement and where a community development approach was adopted and fully resourced the outcomes were typically greater and more widely recognised by residents and a range of stakeholders.
There is emerging evidence that there are bottom line benefits to the organisation by investing in green spaces, improving the quality of the local environment and creating neighbourhoods of choice. This was evidenced through our study by reduced voids, lower turnover rates and reduced repairs and maintenance costs. Allied to this, residents and other stakeholders stated that community cohesion had increased with typically better community relations and interaction with neighbours. There is also evidence to suggest that the reputation of certain neighbourhoods has improved, both in terms of the views of local residents and those that live elsewhere.