20 March 2020
Sean Kelly Senior Project Officer Development Plan Group Glasgow City Council

Team Glasgow have recently completed a series of opportunity and stakeholder mapping workshops. These were organised as part of the formal partnership between the City Development Plan team’s Connecting Nature project and our project partner Greenspace Scotland. Connecting Nature is a European Commission Horizon 2020 project that seeks to develop innovative ways to inform on and upscale nature-based solutions across the city at a strategic level. To do this, the team are using the Council’s emerging open space strategy as an exemplar and are working to deliver on some of its key aspirations.

The main objectives of this first series of workshops was to: map existing or potential nature-based solution projects across the city; explore potential areas for collaboration; provide a networking forum for key agencies; raise the profile of the open space strategy; and share current knowledge on nature-based solutions (NBS).  

The series kicked off in November 2019 and was completed at the end of February 2020. In terms of response and participation the workshops were received very well and almost all were oversubscribed with a waitlist. Each event brought together diverse groups ranging from elected officials, community interest groups and national organisations. We worked with Greenspace Scotland to design an innovative workshop format that was time-efficient and engaging whilst also capturing as much information about projects as we could. The format also allowed us to capture and discuss issues such as funding opportunities & key partners; project stages; enterprise potential; and local open space priorities.

From our experience so far, we are aware of a desire for more learning around NBS and have identified varies typologies across the city. Feedback from participants also suggests that although they felt we were providing the right information and activities, there was an appetite for groups and organisations to learn more and share more about the projects that they are involved in. Further to this, the workshops have allowed new relationships to begin and have identified some areas of collaboration between participants themselves and between participants and the Connecting Nature team. We are also more aware of a growing interest in our emerging open space strategy and how it can act as a meaningful tool to protect the city’s open spaces and encourage a multitude of beneficial uses. Another key lesson from this workshop series is realising the benefits of coproduction methods and partnership working. Having Greenspace Scotland as a project partner was crucial and allowed us to plan each event properly, attract the right participants and tweak the format when required as the programme continued. 

With regard to next steps, full analysis of all the information collected is currently underway and will be shared with participants soon. The team plan to create a mapped database of the nature-based solution activity in Glasgow as well as identify the key issues and themes with project implementation. We are already aware that the use of language is crucial to get right during events such as this and hope the analysis will help Connecting Nature gain a deeper understanding of NbS and what they can mean for a city such as Glasgow.

The level of participation during each event reveals the citizens of Glasgow are a keen bunch and the team look forward to engaging with more audiences soon as the open space strategy delivery plan progresses.