I agree with CBRE’s Zoe Bignell that high-quality design of the public realm not only improves community cohesion and creates a positive place, but can also add value to real estate.
At the Land Trust, a national land management charity, our view is that maintenance isn’t just about cutting the grass or litter picking and long term is at least 99 years. Otherwise assets quickly turn into liabilities.
At our sites, we also aim to have a park ranger/community officer to engage with local residents, to increase use of the green space and to develop a real sense of belonging and emotional ownership.
Residential developers including Grainger and Countryside see the value of our approach through, for example, increased speed of sale and increased unit prices in some instances.
Ultimately, we need to ensure public open spaces and green infrastructure are being treated the same as other place factors, such as employment, housing and grey infrastructure. By recognising the true lifetime costs of managing and maintaining the public realm and identifying and allocating the right level of investment for in-perpetuity maintenance, our urban areas will increase in value and everyone will benefit.