As part of a Commonwealth Games 2014 legacy project, 27 outdoor areas across Glasgow were given a special status protecting them for future generations.

Through a scheme instituted by Fields in Trust, a UK wide charity that safeguards greenspaces, the use of these sites was secured for recreation, under a legal agreement with Glasgow City Council, in 2016.

The sites were chosen to help safeguard access to green space for all Glaswegians. They include public parks of Glasgow Green, Cathkin Braes, and Rosshall Park but also playing fields, and recreation grounds such as Riccarton Street Park in Govanhill, Milton Park, Ashtree Park near Pollokshaws, and Binghams Pond off Great Western Road.

As the city is growing in population, the Council needs to preserve more open green spaces where people can congregate and develop opportunities for positive social interaction and access supportive friendly environments in the outdoors.

As a consequence of the Covid-19 pandemic, there has been increased use of the parks and green spaces for physical activity and mental health benefits. This has made it clear how much these precious places are cherished. Green spaces are vital for everyone’s health and wellbeing. 

Provision of accessible public spaces without the pressure on people to spend money supports efforts to build back better. This contributes by curbing pollution, supporting nature, and lowering air temperatures as well as enabling people to meet from all walks of life.

It is recognised that significant gaps in life expectancy exist across Glasgow. People on the lowest incomes are expected to live 10 years less than those on the highest. By supporting access to good quality green space, the Council can help to improve people’s life chances.

Green councillors support decision-making that brings about further action to protect local green and open spaces as an essential resource for community wellbeing. This could be prioritised in partnership with Fields in Trust as part of a legacy project arising from the pandemic.

Not everyone has been able to get more active in outdoor spaces as a result of Covid-19. For many older people and people with underlying health conditions, there has been a reduced time spent outside due to shielding, particularly if they do not have a garden. This could lead to widening health inequalities in the longer term if positive action is not taken. There needs to be increased access to good quality, protected greenspace available within five-minute walking distance of people’s homes to support everyday life experiences in the outdoors.

Now, we must support publicly accessible space for everyone to be able sit, relax and enjoy the local area immediately around them. The focus can be on support for community gardens, pocket parks or parklets with seating and plenty of plants. These green spaces transform the appearance of local streets. They also strengthen social connections in places where those kinds of ties are so badly needed to improve people’s health. Residents living near communal spaces are more able to get to know their neighbours and have stronger sense of belonging within our Dear Green Place."