With ecostreets, local people are empowered to design themselves smaller streets, community backyards, all type of smaller unused or degraded places in their community. In a competition in summer 2021, 45 community groups had applied to green their alleyways or other smaller neigbourhood places. The teams from Groundwork Greater Manchester, a partner of the IGNITION consortium, and We Love Manchester, another local charity, have been overwhelmed by the response and the creativity of people. At the end, they selected four projects and have supported their implementation with further information, general and specific advice, and small grants. The ecostreets came to live as already described earlier in the webarticle Ecostreets – How small-scale action can inspire large-scale solutions.
The spaces have been tiny compared to the original targets of IGNITION to develop innovative financing schemes to support a substantial uplift of greenspace for climate-resilience in Greater Manchester. The project team had seen the ecostreets competition rather as a testing this as a participation tool to tackle some of the challenges with greenspace development and maintenance. And indeed, the approach seemed to work for the participating neighbourhoods. They got active and, learned about nature-based solutions and their multiple benefits – not just reviving the space, offering social space for children to play, neighbours to meet but also for nature and climate-resilience in general. Residents also developed proud, strengthened the community and developed a sense of ownership, which helps to maintain these spaces.