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Aerial image of built up area

Beyond Concrete

Work in progress:



In the bustling tapestry of urban life, where concrete jungles meet the horizon, there exists a poignant juxtaposition: the profound absence of green sanctuaries amidst the towering structures. This paradox lies at the heart of the concept we delve into today – the Green Space Gap. But beyond mere absence lies a deeper narrative, one that intertwines the human spirit's innate yearning for sanctuary with the stark realities of social and environmental disparity.

Photography serves as our lens, capturing not just images but narratives, emotions, and truths. Through the aperture of our cameras, we aim to explore the intricate interplay between space, society, and sanctuary. Our journey begins where the concrete ends, where the verdant embrace of nature meets the urban frontier.

Sanctuary – a word laden with significance, evoking notions of safety, solace, and serenity. It is within this context that I, as the former Director of Gardens for the Royal Horticultural Society, have witnessed the transformative power of green spaces firsthand. Yet, for many within our cities, the pursuit of sanctuary is fraught with barriers. The Green Space Gap reveals itself as a chasm, separating communities along lines of privilege, access, and opportunity. In affluent neighbourhoods, meticulously manicured parks stand as bastions of tranquility, offering respite from the cacophony of urban life. Meanwhile, in marginalised communities, concrete expanses stretch endlessly, devoid of the lush sanctuaries that nurture the soul.

Our photographic exploration seeks to illuminate this disparity, capturing the stark contrast between abundance and absence. Through the lens, we bear witness to the resilience of communities that thrive amidst adversity, finding solace in the smallest patches of greenery – a testament to the human spirit's indomitable quest for sanctuary.

But our gaze does not linger solely on the present; it extends into the realm of possibility. In the shadows of neglect, we envision seeds of change taking root, as communities reclaim their right to sanctuary. Through the transformative power of photography, we aspire to amplify voices, spark conversations, and inspire action. For in the pursuit of a more equitable future, every image captured becomes a testament to hope, resilience, and the enduring promise of sanctuary. 

As we embark on this visual journey through the Green Space Gap, let us not merely observe but immerse ourselves fully in the narratives that unfold. For it is through empathy, understanding, and collective action that we may bridge the divide, transforming barren landscapes into flourishing sanctuaries for all.

Project development: 

Spatial Analysis of Green Space Distribution: Utilising Geographic Information Systems and remote sensing techniques, researchers at King's College could conduct a detailed spatial analysis of green space distribution within urban areas. This research could identify areas with significant green space deficits, pinpointing neighbourhoods and communities most affected by the green space gap.

Social Determinants of Green Space Access: Researchers could investigate the social determinants that contribute to disparities in green space access. This could involve conducting surveys, interviews, and focus groups within diverse communities to understand factors such as income, race, ethnicity, and housing status that influence individuals' access to and utilisation of green spaces.

Health Impacts of Green Space Disparities: Building on existing research linking green space exposure to health outcomes, researchers could explore the specific health impacts of the green space gap. This research could include epidemiological studies examining correlations between green space access and rates of chronic diseases, mental health disorders, and overall well-being within different socio-demographic groups.

Community-Based Participatory Research: Engaging in CBPR approaches, researchers could collaborate directly with communities affected by the green space gap. By involving community members in all stages of the research process, from study design to data collection and dissemination, this research could ensure that community voices and priorities are central to addressing disparities and fostering equitable access to green spaces.

Policy Evaluation and Advocacy: Evaluate existing urban planning policies and initiatives aimed at addressing the green space gap. Through policy analysis and evaluation studies, researchers could assess the effectiveness of interventions such as park development projects, green infrastructure investments, and zoning regulations in promoting equitable access to green spaces. Additionally, researchers could engage in advocacy efforts to promote evidence-based policy solutions for addressing the green space gap at local, regional, and national levels.

To the editor

If you are interested in this project, would like to use the images or would like to discuss any other projects please contact James Rudoni - 

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