School of Law academic leads project which aims to improve the world’s parks and green spaces

The Parks & Green Space Research Portal promotes collaboration and shared research between academics and parks professionals worldwide.

The School of Law’s Dr Anna Barker, in partnership with Dr Nicola Dempsey (Department of Landscape Architecture, University of Sheffield), Carl McClean (environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy) and the Green Flag Award, has launched the Parks & Green Space Research Portal.  

The Portal provides a free and accessible platform to connect researchers, policymakers and green space managers in the UK and internationally.  

It enables users to exchange expertise and drive forward change on topics ranging from climate change, safety and biodiversity to history and culture, finance, and health and wellbeing. 

As well as hosting summaries of the latest research, the Portal helps users promote relevant events, highlight projects and offers a global directory. 

It aims to facilitate knowledge exchange and foster collaboration to inform the best practice management of parks and green spaces for the benefit of communities and the environment. 


Project lead Dr Barker said:  

“In the UK and abroad, public parks are much-loved and treasured communal areas, and have been particularly important during the pandemic. 

 “The benefits of green spaces are numerous and range from promoting health and wellbeing among users to being a vital resource for communities while providing wide-ranging environmental benefits. 

 “The aim of the Parks & Green Space Portal is to bring together global expertise, share ideas and research, and provide evidence and support for policymakers.” 


Dr Nicola Dempsey, Senior Lecturer in Landscape Planning and Management at the University of Sheffield said: 

“Research going on in universities doesn’t always get seen and shared as well as it could. The Portal is a great opportunity for academics to get our research out there and for us to connect with the professionals in the parks world.” 


Allison Ogden-Newton OBE, Chief Executive of Keep Britain Tidy, said: “The ability of our parks and green spaces to adapt to the changing climate is dependent on the knowledge and skills of those charged with managing them. 

 “Our new Portal will provide a space where people can share and learn as we navigate the challenges resulting from global warming, as well as other issues that are common to parks around the world”. 

Luis Romahn, CEO of World Urban Parks said: “Access to information in a globalised world is critical to advancing the parks agenda. 

“World Urban Parks celebrates this fantastic initiative that will provide access to cutting edge research that is both valuable and free, for parks professionals all around the globe". 


The portal received funding from the universities of Sheffield and Leeds via the UK Research and Innovation’s Strategic Priorities Fund and the Leeds Social Sciences Institute (LSSI) through its Economic and Social Research Council Impact Acceleration Account.  


Professor Louise Waite, Director of Leeds Social Sciences Institute, said: "LSSI is thrilled to see the fruits of our funding for this project result in such fantastic resource in the shape of this Portal. 

“We support colleagues to maximise impact from their research and the Portal will grow a global community of parks professionals and academics to further our knowledge and understanding of parks and green spaces, for the good of all." 


Watch a short video highlights the Portal’s aims and objectives.