Background to the Project

WDS was commissioned by the Greater London Authority in November 2004 to produce a toolkit around Women’s Safety in Parks and Open Spaces. This work links very well with the work we have already carried out as part of our Making Safer Places and Planning Safer Places projects.

WDS is working in partnership with Anne Thorne Architects to deliver the toolkit which should be published early in 2006.

We are looking specifically at four parks in very different areas and with very different characteristics. Spa Fields in the London Borough of Islington is a very small urban park. Ruislip Woods, as its name suggests, is a wooded area in the London Borough of Hillingdon close to Ruislip Lido. Burgess Park is a very large park in the London Borough of Southwark with a range of different activities. Greenwich Park in the London Borough of Greenwich is a Royal Park.

Our approach is as always to work at a grassroots level. We have recruited groups of women who either live or work locally to the park. We spend a day with the women, looking at their general concerns about safety in parks and open spaces, and then carrying out an audit of the park in question to identify particular issues and concerns. Over the summer the local authorities concerned will be looking at the results and recommendations of the audit and implementing some improvements. In the autumn we will return with the women to assess the success of these. The results will be fed into the toolkit.

We are also seeking information and advice from park professionals, police authorities,designers, policy makers, managers and academics to create a body of research, case-studies, opinion and advice which will inform the production of the toolkit.

The toolkit will be web-based and will link to many other websites and point users towards information specific to their needs. The plan is for this to be kept up to date by the GLA as new ideas are tried and tested. There will also be a paper based document referring to all the major findings of our work and to the main sources for further information.