Eighteen months ago, businesses met in Manchester to understand what the business benefits are for greening urban landscapes.
Back in Winter 2016 a group of business leaders explored some of the best examples of green infrastructure at a Prince's Seeing is Believing event, meeting the experts who have commissioned and fitted a variety of projects from improving a city square to a forward-thinking housing association. The business leaders were taken into the heart of communities and businesses giving a unique insight into the decision-making process, costs and benefits of using green infrastructure in development projects.
It seems that where communities can enjoy green space, this is reflected in how they care for their surroundings and even changes how they behave. Inspired by a patch of green space at Southway Housing that not only feeds a community fresh fruit, but reduces fly tipping and anti-social behaviour, delegates were stunned by the power of the trees.
This was reflected in the experiences of Transport for Greater Manchester – their green wall at Deansgate-Castlefield Tram Stop is cleaning the air of harmful pollutants, and the amount of litter dropped in the vicinity has reduced.
Of course, the question is – does the business case add up? It certainly has in Stevenson Square where trees have been planted with crowd-sourced funding from the commercial tenants. The trees have increased foot traffic, more people are staying in the area to drink tea under the trees and walk in their shade, visiting the shops and cafes. With local businesses taking on the upkeep of the green space, it’s clear what it means to them.
Can business make room for green space? These organisations certainly think so, and urge others to come together and make a difference in your communities. Talk to your neighbours, ask the council for advice, get your business leadership on board. Make a better environment and community for your city, one tree at a time.
The events were kindly supported by the University of Manchester. For more information and to get involved in developing Business in the Community's campaign, please contact Elizabeth Edgington, email@example.com, 07810 181021.