A team of researchers from Surrey University, UK, celebrate their success after winning funding to develop a “library of greening.” This new database will enable towns and cities around the world to learn from other’s successes and failures when developing green spaces and sustainable projects.
The database is called RECLAIM Network Plus and gives towns and cities looking to mitigate the impacts of climate change and improve their resilience access to projects from other locations. It already has over 500 members worldwide, sharing their information and offering support to implement projects such as parks, green roofs, canals, or wetlands.
According to the authors, the crucial point is that previous work suggests that this Network can help the poorest communities the most. “Deprived urban communities are often forgotten when discussing the effects of climate change. Our research has repeatedly shown that using green spaces, urban design, and waterways can make those areas more resilient to climate change, improve mental health, tackle social problems, and reduce health inequalities,” said Professor Prashant Kumar, co-director of the Institute of Sustainability at Surrey University and principal investigator of the RECLAIM Network Plus. “We are delighted to receive this additional funding, which will ensure everything we have learned is shared as widely as possible.”
Given their successful work so far, UK Research and Innovation was awarded a further £250,000 to the RECLAIM Network, which means the project can continue until 2025. This funding will help develop and launch a new database that communities, policymakers, and designers can access to get inspiration for their projects, as well as expand current research activities and deliver engagement events to gather new partners to grow the network.
“People will be able to search the database for information on how effective green or blue spaces are in tackling urban challenges like cooling during heatwaves, air pollution, flooding, or how they can help improve physical and mental wellbeing,” said Professor Laurence Jones at the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, and co-lead of RECLAIM.
“I’m delighted that UKRI’s Creating Opportunities, Improving Outcomes strategic theme has been able to award funding to the RECLAIM Network Plus. Their new ‘greening library’ will support the development of life enriching blue and green spaces in some of the most disadvantaged communities in the UK. In doing so, it helps fulfill the ambition of our Creating Opportunities, Improving Outcomes theme to spread opportunities and reduce inequalities for people and places across the UK, with a focus on identifying solutions that promote economic and social prosperity,” added Professor Alison Park, UKRI Creating Opportunities, Improving Outcomes Lead and Deputy Executive Chair, ESRC.