The Association of Parks with the support of the Ministry of Construction, Housing and Utilities of Russia released the film «Parks after COVID-19: new realities of public space management». The story is based on an online interview of the Association’s Director Denis Tsukanov with experts from Russia, Belarus, the UK, Switzerland, Spain, New Zealand and South Africa.
How will parks develop after the pandemic?
Representatives of park directorates, ministries and city halls expressed their opinion on future prospects and plans. The highlight of the film is the combination of the information about different approaches during the pandemic: from completely closed green zones and lockdown in cities to the situation in those countries where the regime of self-isolation was not introduced.
The article contains the main theses that were touched upon by experts in the film: how attitudes to parks and public spaces have changed since the COVID-19 pandemic began, what should be improved in management methods, and how green zones can optimize funding systems.
Mark Bowater / Auckland, New Zealand
Head of Parks Services, Parks, Sport and Recreation, Auckland Council
“We are funded by taxes that the population pays to the local government: a park receives 90% from this source. About 10% of revenue comes from charging visitors. To get back on track, we need to save $ 120 million. I think we could potentially face a 10% reduction in the financial resource base.”
Gabino Carballо / Barcelona, Spain
Senior technical officer at Parks and Gardens Department, Barcelona City Council
“There are only two paid parks in Barcelona. One of them is Park Güell, which has lost virtually all of its income, so it does not pay taxes. Restaurants do not work and are also not taxed: not only parks, but the entire city is experiencing a lack of funding. The parks have a guaranteed operating income. It will not grow, perhaps it will decrease a little. We have less money, more pressure, but we provide better services.”
Mark Camley / London, the UK
Executive Director of Park, Operations and Venues at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
“All of us will suffer due to financial difficulties caused by restrictions on catering and events. I think creating something new for our new visitors could improve our financial well-being in the future. Maintaining the interest of old visitors and attracting new ones will be a great achievement. Parks should remain a place for quiet recreation and enjoyment when everything is normalized.”
Alexey Reteyum / Moscow, Russia
Chairman of the Council of the Association of Parks, Director of the Botanical Garden of the MSU “Apothecary Garden”
“People will want to relax, come to gardens and parks, get emotions. And we will soon be able to reach the indicators that we had in previous years before this tragedy with the spread of the coronavirus. I think it may even be as early as this fall.”
Christine Bräm / Zurich, Switzerland
Director of the Office of Parks and Open Spaces (Grün Stadt Zürich)
“I believe that people in Zurich and other Swiss residents have been able to realize how important parks and public spaces are in their area of residence.”
Pavel Danilov / Moscow, Russia
Director of the Project Directorate of Ministry of Construction, Housing and Utilities of Russia
“I believe that the responsibility of both regional and municipal authorities for choosing the place (of a future park territory) will increase. Now we need to take a careful approach and rank the places of proposed improvement according to their demand by the population.”
Bishop Ngobeli / Johannesburg, South Africa
President of Institute of Environment and Recreation Management South Africa
Now we, professionals from all over the world, must unite and conduct a dialogue about how to build work in parks in the future. Discuss how the process is managed in different parts of the world. We need to work together more than ever before: through joint efforts, we will be able to develop the right approach to such crises.
Non-Profit Corporate Organization Association for the Development of Urban Parks and Public Spaces (NPCO Association of Parks)
13 Rusakovskaya Street, 107140 Moscow Russia Borodino Plaza Business Center, office 0706
For correspondence: 107140, Moscow, Russia, PO box 135, Association of Parks