Green Minds

Title: Green Minds 

Funder and duration: Urban Innovative Actions (UIA), March 2020 – August 2022

Location: Plymouth, UK

Project partners: University of Plymouth, Plymouth City Council, National Trust, Wildlife Trust, Real Ideas Organisation CIC, The Data Place Ltd, Plymouth College of Art 

University of Plymouth staff: Dr Siân Rees (PI Marine), Eva McGrath, Adam Fisher, Professor Martin Attrill, Dr Katharine Willis (PI Arts).

Green Minds is an Urban Innovative Actions (UIC) funded project which aims to better connect people to green and blue spaces within and around the city of Plymouth. 

Plymouth is a waterfront city, which has recently been designated as the UK’s first National Marine Park (2019). Surrounded by two rivers, the Tamar and Plym which meet in the Sound, these waters are an important marine environment for a diversity of species and for different users. As part of the city’s growth, there is a need to plan high quality green and blue infrastructure for Plymouth communities that maximise the benefits for health and wellbeing, social value, biodiversity, the local economy and climate resilience. Although 34% of the city is defined as green space, the quality of these spaces varies, and is often under-valued and under-used.

In this innovative project, led by Plymouth City Council’s Strategic Planning and Infrastructure Department and in collaboration with a range of local stakeholders including the University of Plymouth, Real Ideas Organisation, Plymouth College of Art, Devon Wildlife Trust, The Data Place and National Trust, the project aims to improve the quality and condition of green and blue infrastructure. It also aims to positively enhance people’s interaction and involvement in these spaces, recognising that spending time in green and blue spaces has positive health and wellbeing benefits.

In short, the project intends to create ‘Green Mindsets’ and will:

  • Experiment with different delivery and management approaches, taking a co-stewardship approach with communities, landowners and social enterprises
  • Communicate what we learn in innovative and creative ways
  • Use science and creative digital tools to make nature visible and exciting
  • Inspire people and organisations to change their behaviour and attitude to nature through inclusive engagement and visible rewilding projects
  • Capture social value through a new model to demonstrate social return on investment

The marine team at the University of Plymouth will bring their expertise in natural capital and action research to co-design a toolkit to assess the city’s connection with green and blue spaces and evaluate how social values change over time.

“This is a really exciting time for our green and blue spaces. Working together with all our partners and communities, this project will enable us to develop Green Minds – leading to sustainable parks, nature reserves, beaches and woodland areas for generations to come”

Cllr Dann, Cabinet Member for Environment and Street Scene, Plymouth City Council