How can Greenkeeper be applied at a city level to support transformational change? As a Future Parks Accelerator participant, Plymouth City Council have been driving a greening agenda for some years already, alongside the National Trust. But their ambitions to secure ‘National Marine Park’ status and wider environmental benefits that flow from this city-wide, require a considered, strategic approach to development and a clear pathway for investment

As such, this ambitious city commissioned the Greenkeeper team to work with them to better understand how a city-wide green infrastructure strategy could inform this strategy. How could Greenkeeper’s abilities to assess and inform proposed interventions help build a credible and compelling investment prospectus?

Our team of designers and economic analysts worked with the local authority to audit the existing city, identifying weaknesses in the existing portfolio and gaps in green infrastructure provision city-wide. With this in hand we worked collaboratively to design and test a series of diverse additions and interventions, some of which had already been conceived by the council i.e. Plymouth Community Forest. Others had been exposed by the pandemic, as having the potential to offer the huge benefit of new green infrastructure in even the tightest urban environments, i.e. street greening, linear parks on key routes, enhancement of large existing green spaces.

Key to the commission was the formulation of a truly commercial set of green infrastructure investment opportunities, within a city-wide framework. Opportunities which were sufficiently designed to enable full Greenkeeper application and therefore a good understanding of the tangible benefits they deliver for local residents as well as visitors to the city. Opportunities which have also been designed to maximise physical health and wellbeing benefits while specifically seeking to address inequalities across the city.

One example of this is a green corridor, running east to west across the city. This linear green proposal follows an existing bus route, along which there is a fall in life expectancy of 7 years, due to inequality and deprivation. The green infrastructure this framework proposes offers all communities along it equal access, and in doing so can play a key role in aiding ‘levelling-up’ challenges such as this within our cities. Opportunities for active travel and leisure, enhancing air quality and all the resultant physical health and wellbeing benefits Greenkeeper can quantify. While in tandem delivering clear environmental enhancement and tangible contributions to the carbon neutral agenda being driven by the city and so many of its employers and potential investors.

“This project was a huge opportunity to work with an ambitious city and deliver a framework around which significant investment decisions can be made. Understanding the city and its challenges has been fundamental to delivering the right framework. Breaking down the interventions into different types and scales to aid accessibility and implementation has been crucial throughout our commission. As has repeated testing and evidencing of benefits. We believe this investment prospectus delivers an exciting opportunity for Plymouth to realise it’s ambitions to become a National Marine Park City, while also delivering on its carbon neutral commitments and supporting every member of the community city wide, through a programme of deliverable, incremental projects.”  

John Haxworth, Landscape Design Partner and Barton Willmore lead on the project

The work with Plymouth City continues, as the city loks to build an investment portfolio they can begin using across public and private sector funding streams to make their ambitions a reality. If you are involved in a town or city with similar ambitions to consider and drive investment and improvement in green infrastructure provision for all your communities, Greenkeeper can offer a hugely helpful tool.

Do get in touch to discuss your specific situation as we’d be delighted to see how we could tailor a response to help.


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