In the summer of 2020 we asked 3,000 Londoners from every borough what they valued about their parks, and their ideas for the future. #Parkpower was a collaboration between the City of London, Siemens, London National Park City, Dar Group, the Frank Bruno foundation and Commonplace which became the largest study of London’s green spaces ever undertaken, creating a crowdsourced vision for the future. One of the main conclusions was that parks need to be more socially inclusive and welcoming for people of different age groups, abilities and ethnicities as well as being safer environments for women and girls, particularly at night.

The LDN Collective have developed a concept for interactive touchpoints which can help achieve these goals, and we are looking for partners to help turn #ParkPoint into a reality. These interactions can sympathetically integrate sustainability and technology with nature, one of the main concerns people had about ‘Smart Parks’, whilst keeping them places of privacy and escape from urban centres, one of the things people valued the most.

There can be fixed elements like weather forecast feeds, nearest public transport information and energy dials showing how much power the park is producing. The parks themselves can be self-powered and provide power back to the grid making them carbon positive. Kinetic playground and exercise equipment with built in dynamos can produce power and existing infrastructure can be retro-fitted.

#ParkPoint lighting is connected to self-powered lamp posts and illuminated stanchions keeping the immediate area lit at night. Colour changing LEDs can complement the theme of night-time activities and events, or cultural festivals. Runway lights on the paths assist with wayfinding and additional fairy lights can give a magical quality to the park.

At the same time, we can boost local economies by connecting small businesses with activities in the parks, from food stalls to yoga classes. Local retailers can advertise products and services including events within parks, delivery of food to your picnic blanket and other social, environmental and cultural initiatives. Vinyl wraps around the booths can help promote local artists and creatives. Announcements can be made about events and local news.

Regular children with parents days and sports days for all age groups can be facilitated, building on the success of Park Run. International food festivals, cookery classes and a Great British Bake Off – reimagined by local food shops and eateries, or a Great British Sewing Bee – reimagined by fashion designers and retailers.

They can help bring the fun back to parks, like the Victorian pleasure gardens. Treasure hunts with hidden facts and prizes to redeem for gifts at local garden centres with bigger prizes like free entry to Kew Gardens or Hampton Court Palace. Visitors can have selfies taken to post on social media, and they can be made transparent acting as ‘windows on the park’, seamlessly blending in with the landscape.

Healthy competitions between parks could include the #ParkPoint Cup based on which is producing the most oxygen, has the most varied species of plants and trees, the healthiest grass or the most volunteers. A collaboration with the Strava App could link to exercise activities in the park – who has run the furthest, cycled the furthest or done the most yoga. Larger notice boards can play major events and concerts for people to gather and watch together.

Councils and park managers can receive data on air quality and things that need immediate attention. People can play their part in increasing biodiversity too. On request, they can dispense a handful of wildflower seeds to be distributed in designated areas of the park.

We want to make the engagement around #ParkPower a more permanent dialogue with a built-in system for introducing new ideas into parks, using the Commonplace platform integrated with the #ParkPoint app. Empowering the local community whilst demonstrating their input has a real and tangible effect, ensuring everyone can have their say using #ParkPoint to draw attention to the engagement platform.

By understanding the needs, identities and fears of everyone in our communities, we can improve social cohesion and make parks safer and more inclusive for every member of the community. We hope that #ParkPoint can help play a role in making this happen. We are looking for partners to help make this happen, if you are interested please click the button below to fill in your details.



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