Urban regeneration in New York

The High Line, New York

The High Line, New York showing viewing platform

I had a great opportunity to visit the High Line in New York recently to meet some staff and volunteers who gave an excellent tour of this city regeneration initiative.

Built in the late 1920s as a freight only line the ‘High Line’ in New York served many factories and warehouses and was raised above ground to reduce congestion, improve safety and increase efficiency.

By 1980 the last train ran along the tracks and for the next decade or so the High Line became derelict and a no go area. It was only with the threat of demolition in  the 1990s that local people and city organisations came together to work out a future for the line.

And what a great example of urban regeneration it has been! I was particularly impressed with how well it is managed with a combination of the Friends of the High Line volunteers and staff and the city parks dept among others. Plus how the old architecture fits in with the modern new build of offices and homes. Now a tourist attraction in its own right the next section to be opened, with views of the Hudson River, will have minimal management where visitors  will be able to walk along a path through self-sown vegetation to contrast that of the more managed southern section.

The High Line

The High Line’s unique planting set against new build.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The High Line is well worth a visit when next in New York and hopefully inspiration for UK projects in Liverpool and London who have used Spacehive to help crowdfund and promote their work

More High Line images can be viewed here.

Environmental crowdfunding in Scotland

Well done to the charity greenspace scotland for having the initiative and for being brave enough to trial out environmental crowdfunding as a way of funding improvements to local green space in Scotland. With funding and support from Nesta’s Rethinking Parks programme and the Heritage Lottery Fund they have created their own bespoke crowdfunding platform for Scottish parks and greenspace. 

 The eventual success of MyParkScotland will no doubt lie in the hands of local communities coming up with the projects and finding the funds to make them happen themselves. However, could the wider UK (and even further afield?) parks and greenspace community give them a helping hand and  support them on their way by making a small donation online?  If we as a community can prove that environmental crowdfunding can work then friends of parks groups and greenspace organisations across the UK and elsewhere will learn and may gain from this success.

 

Julie Procter, CEO of greenspace scotland explains the background:

 

“With funding pressures, finding new and innovative ways to make the financing and management of parks and greenspace sustainable is vital to ensuring their future.  We need to make sure we maintain and keep our parks in good heart today and for the benefit of generations to come. MyParkScotland is our response to this challenge.

MyParkScotland provides a new way to raise funds for projects in parks today and to develop endowment funds to safeguard these national treasures for future generations.

Park users often told us they would like to be able to support their local park but there wasn’t an easy way to do this. That’s why we developed MyParkScotland as a safe and easy way for people to donate to support park improvement projects developed by Friends of Parks and other local groups.

What makes MyParkScotland different to many traditional crowdfunding platforms is that, as an independent Scottish charity, we are able to reclaim Gift Aid on most donations. This ‘extra funding’ is being used to build sustainability and endowment funds for Scotland’s parks. If there isn’t a current project in their favourite park, park lovers are also able to make donations through the website to a specific park or city park endowment fund.

MyPark Scotland FULL COLOUR low res

 

We’re pioneering the development of MyParkScotland in Edinburgh and Glasgow, with the intention to extend across Scotland. We hope that MyParkScotland will make an important contribution to the future sustainability of our parks and will encourage people to think about using crowdfunding as part of the project funding mix.

We would be delighted if supporters of environmental crowdfunding would take a look at the MyParkScotland website – we’d love to hear your feedback – and you might like to make a small pledge to support one of the projects!”

 

MyParkScotland is the only Scottish project within Nesta’s Rethinking Parks programme and is funded by Nesta and the Heritage Lottery Fund. Rethinking Parks aims to support organisations to develop new approaches to sustaining and making the most of the UK’s parks.

 

Pete Johnstone is an advocate of environmental crowdfunding and his case study on the subject can be seen here

Images:  © greenspace scotland

 

A new Technical Note on Crowdfunding from the Landscape Institute.

Pete Johnstone from the environmental consultancy PJ.elements was recently commissioned by the Landscape Institute to write a Technical Note on Crowdfunding for members of the Institute.

Simon Odell, Head of the Landscape institute’s Technical and Professional Services said ‘’The principle of the church spire appeal has been with us for many years, but crowdfunding in its current form is a relatively new digital method of fundraising and offers real opportunities for our members struggling on behalf of local communities on local greenspace projects to achieve a critical mass of funding in this times of public sector cuts.

But conceptually I am also interested in its potential to be a mechanism for delivering payment for ecosystem services (PES) schemes, which have yet to be fully realised.

We choose Pete to write the Technical Note for his tremendous background experience with the body now called Natural England coupled with a clear expertise in environmental crowdfunding.  In fact I haven’t encountered anyone who knows more about the subject area than he has.’’

The use of crowdfunding as a way of raising funds and profile is a proven business technique which is now being taken up by not for profit organisations in their drive to find new ways of raising funds. It is not going to work for every project and other fundraising methods may well be more appropriate. On large projects of, say £10,000 or more it may worthwhile combining different techniques to reach your goal. Though be warned crowdfunding is not the easy option – even to raise a modest amount of money takes time and commitment!

Crowdfunding only works where the public is inspired enough to make a pledge. If not enough people are inspired then the project is not funded.

Pete has written a case study on environmental crowdfunding which can be viewed here.

Pete is an Affiliate member of the Landscape Institute.   For more information on the work of the Landscape Institute visit http://www.landscapeinstitute.co.uk/

 

Nb.If your organisation would like help with developing a crowdfunding strategy or project please contact pete.johnstone@pjelements.co.uk

New funding for Natural Cambridgeshire – the Local Nature Partnership

The Heritage Lottery Fund has awarded Cambridgeshire County Council a £10,000 grant to support and develop the work of the Local Nature Partnership.

Phil Clark the Natural Cambridgeshire Coordinator said, “We will use the money to support our work across Cambridgeshire & Peterborough, putting nature and people at the heart of the decision-making process.

The funding will help us to develop a business plan, identify sustainable funding options and run

Walk for Wifi (1 of 1)a programme of events to listen to and work with local residents, business, farmers and developers to seek their ideas and views on how we can ensure the natural environment is both protected and indeed benefits from ongoing growth agenda in the County.

Thanks are due to Pete Johnstone who helped with the initial concept and who put together the Heritage Lottery Fund application together which included talking to most of the partnership to gauge their views on what should be funded.”

Natural Cambridgeshire contact information:

Coordinator Phil Clark, on 01223 715686: philip.clark@cambridgeshire.gov.uk Twitter:

@naturalcambs or website: www.gclnp@wordpress.com

If your LNP or similar organisation would like help with fundraising please contact Pete Johnstone, email pete.johnstone@pjelements.co.uk

 

hlf-logoCambs LNP logo

East of England Biodiversity Forum

The East of England Biodiversity Forum held an enjoyable and informative funding event  at Swavesey Village College, near Cambridge.

The focus of the day, chaired by Steve Scott of the Forestry Commission was funding for biodiversity.  Presentations on heritage funding, landscape partnership schemes and Leader funding came from Stuart Hobley, Heritage Lottery Fund, Mark Nokkert, Ouse Washes Landscape Partnership Scheme and Catherine Weightman, from Natural England.

The tour of  the RSPB Fen Drayton Lakes reserve led by  Chris Hudson. Chris outlined the benefits of organisations being involved in the Ouse Washes Landscape Partnership and the potential of engaging with a greater range of people living and working near the reserve.

Photo:  Fen Drayton Lakes © Pete Johnstone

3rd March 2015

 

Launch of Natural Cambridgeshire

The Vision and work programme for Natural Cambridgeshire was launched by Baroness Young of Old Scone at  Swavesey Village College  on Tuesday 18th November.

Natural Cambridgeshire is the Local Nature Partnership for the historic county of Cambridgeshire and speakers at the launch included  Roger Tallowin of H&O properties, Rebecca Britten, Urban & Civic, Dr David Pencheon of the Sustainable Development Unit at the NHS and Dr Henrietta Ewart, Director of Public Health Peterborough.

Natural Cambridgeshire launch-3524

The launch was hosted by Richard Astle, chair of Natural Cambridgeshire with Philip Clark, coordinator of Natural Cambridgeshire.

Natural Cambridgeshire is a partnership of leaders from businesses, local authorities, the health sector,farming,wildlife and environmental organisations that exist to champion, influence and enable a quality environment for people and wildlife in Cambridgeshire.

 

Other launch photos can be viewed here (Opens to a new website)

Photos: copyright Pete Johnstone