Residents Envision a Happier and Greener Jesmond
On October 24th, Jesmond residents came together at the local library to discuss the future of their community as part of the Jesmond In 2020 discussion series. Leading the conversation was Newcastle University lecturer and architect Armelle Tardiveau who advocated the adoption of urban planning approaches taken by other cities in Europe that focus on improving the environment, resident well-being, and taking action.
“We have to look at what’s coming toward us. Being aware, just knowing, does nothing to help us,” said Tardiveau. “We must act.”
Looking at previous winners of the European Green Capital Award, an honour bestowed on cities which make distinctive efforts to create healthy and sustainable living areas, Tardiveau selected a few key ideas that could serve as useful starting points for Jesmond. These ideas included such steps as planting trees, preventing food waste, increasing green space, and improving the well-being of residents.
The call to focus on resident happiness and the environment was met with approval by locals. As one resident pointed out, focusing on these two points, especially happiness, was becoming increasingly necessary because “the feeling is very low in Newcastle because things keep closing.”
At the same time, some attendees pointed out that most of Jesmond’s current green spaces were located around Jesmond rather than within it. According to those in attendance, the few green spaces available inside Jesmond are relatively obscure, requiring word of mouth for certain locations.
According to Tardiveau, this lack of communication is yet another point for improvement. Resources that are available to Jesmond residents are often made less effective merely because their existence is not widely known.
“There are things in place that we can promote and share,” said Tardiveau. “The question becomes how we disseminate that information.”
Suggestions by residents included working with JesmondLocal, using the library as a key point of information broadcasting, and creating a repository of useful knowledge. By the end of the night, one proposed action point stood out the most: the need for a suggestion box to catalogue everyone’s ideas.