Towards a bright future for parks

In exploring new ways to manage and fund public parks, we’re seeking to protect - and enhance - the fundamental benefits parks provide to millions of people, but we’re also being rigorous in questioning the status quo.


We're seeking to make new connections between institutions and agendas that benefit from parks but don’t currently contribute to them, as well as those who may wish to further enhance what parks deliver. 


We aim to re-position parks not only as popular places that are well loved, but as essential infrastructure for the health, resilience and economic success of places, that require investment to deliver significant benefits for all.


We define parks in the broadest sense as all the publicly owned and managed green spaces in our towns and cities. This could range from informal green spaces and corridors to grand Victorian parks and urban woods - everything in a local authority parks portfolio.


In short, we want a renaissance in parks and green space, funded by new, diverse and sustainable sources of income, built on much greater participation from all sectors in our towns and cities.


We want to see solutions that:

  • maintain the integrity and coherence of parks and green space across a whole city or place
  • maintain free access to quality parks with fair provision for all communities
  • tap into parks’ role in the effective functioning and success of cities
  • engage the public, communities and stakeholders in the design and management of parks
  • secure dedicated (ring-fenced) and long term funding
  • grow the public benefits from parks and green space
  • are resilient to economic, social and political change i.e. stand the test of time


These principles have acted as a checklist and informed the recommendations for parks transformation presented in this toolkit. Throughout, we refer back to these principles and how the Parks Trust model in particular can help to meet them.


The animation below explains our vision for the future of parks and introduces the concept of a Parks Trust.



We are not alone in thinking about the future of parks and we have benefited from a range of good practice examples. Many are included in the Other resources section of this toolkit.


Photograph of three girls in a park