Cities, pop-up parks and green infrastructure

Ian Brown, of the Stone Roses, has said that “Manchester has everything but a beach”. Some would add that it misses a large central park, unlike say London and its grand Royal Parks.

A small group of guerrilla park-makers in Manchester, ParkStarter, is asking whether every open space needs to be covered in black top and turned into a car park. The current classic example of this type of use is the site of the former BBC studios on Oxford Road. The group plans to start somewhere in the Northern Quarter in Manchester.

Previously the only way forward would be for the local authority to buy the land, or have it donated, and to find a capital source to make the site work as a park, and find a revenue source to keep it functioning. With the massive cuts in UK local government finance, especially in the northern cities, this option isn’t working at the moment.

However, some parts of the private sector property market appreciate the importance of pop-up shops (for profit) and meanwhile shops (not for profit). Maybe there is a parallel here for pop-up parks?


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