SEI Contact:

Steve Cinderby

Telephone: +44 1904 322994

Time-frame: 2012–2013

DEFRA - Victoria District


In the Victoria district of south-west London a group of local businesses are planning in 2012 to improve the urban space by introducing more green-roofs (roof top spaces for plants), green-walls (vertical gardens), tree planting and garden spaces. These improvements are aimed at increasing the spaces for nature in the city thereby increasing the range and quantity of species that inhabit them. The planting should also reduce flood risks by slowing the flow of rainwater into the local drainage system, improve the local climate and make the area more attractive for workers, shoppers, visitors and residents of the area.

As well as these direct changes to the buildings and streets the hope is that by improving the spaces for nature that local people will become more aware of the natural environment and the impact they have on it.

This project will specifically investigate for the Victoria district scheme what impacts the improvements have for the businesses, workers, visitors and residents by looking at these different groups knowledge and behaviour before the planting occurs and after the improvements have happened.

For businesses we will look at the current numbers of customers visiting and then in a years’ time ask again to see if there have been any increases. This will help us understand if improving green spaces can also help local economies by making them more appealing for customers. We will also look at the current environmental policies of local businesses and see if these change over the year.

For the people working in the Victoria district we will use a smart phone ‘app’ and online survey to look at their wellbeing and morale over the year by asking them how they are feeling. From this information we want to see if the changes to the built space to encourage nature also have benefits in improving workers sense of wellbeing.

For visitors to the area including shoppers and tourists we will look at their reaction to the planting to help us understand if changes improve the way they feel about and use the space.
For people living in the local area we will ask them whether the increased greenery changes their attitudes to where they live? We will also see if this influences other decisions they make about what to buy and how they live that also benefit them, their health and the wider environment.

Finally the project will also look at further improvements residents, workers and business leaders would like to see happen next in Victoria district.

The project aims to help us understand what other benefits improving the spaces for nature in our cities brings for the economy, the people who live and work in urban spaces and the wider environment. The findings should help guide decision makers (including politicians, builders and retailers) looking at understanding ways of improving spaces for wildlife in cities by helping to identify through an actual scheme the most effective changes they could make in terms of these additional benefits for people.

Partners: London Metropolitan University
Duration: 15 month, May 2012 - August 2013