Help Build A Wild Birmingham
Our aim at The Wild Network is to rewild childhood and create the conditions that get a generation of children playing outdoors in nature. If we are to succeed in this, then the way we design, build and care for our cities is vital. We see Wild Time as something that is needed everyday by every child in every community. It is not something that exists in a place far away to be accessed on special occasions.
It’s easy to think of cities as wildness-free zones
It’s easy to think of cities as places without wildness, but when you scrape beneath the surface you will find magical pocket parks, pieces of wildness on canal banks and at the end of streets as well as the grand public open spaces that many of us have forgotten even exist. We also know that in our cities there are amazing local groups doing inspiring work in communities, schools and empowering families to get outdoors, to protect their local patch and to get involved in their care.
Britain's second city, Birmingham is a perfect example of this
Britain's second city, Birmingham is a perfect example of this. We’ve all heard the one about more miles of canal than Venice but did you know that Birmingham has more parks than any equivalent-sized European city? If the canals are the blue arteries linking together Birmingham’s communities then its parks are the green lungs of the city. There are also many great examples of people and organisations doing amazing work, inspiring stories of hope.
Despite this, we know that on a national level amounts of Wild Time are low and shrinking and roaming distances have declined massively. The pressures on children and their families are great, despite their being an overall awareness of the importance of time spent outdoors. Further pressures on development mean that green space continues to be threatened, whilst busier roads challenge our perception of safety and consequently our willingness to let our children roam freely, giving them the opportunity to explore their patch. What’s more Birmingham is the youngest city in Europe - 40% of the population are under 25 - it therefore has arguably the greatest need of any city to address these issues.
Birmingham has a huge opportunity to pioneer a new way
The opportunity is to pioneer a new way of connecting its citizens to its green spaces. It has some critical and challenging decisions to make about how it organises, funds and supports its citizens - all in a short timeframe.
So that’s the challenge and we’re going to help them tackle it.
We need your help
We are launching our Wild Birmingham project, through which we will bring together a diverse network of organisations and people to develop and hatch initiatives that get people active, outdoors, in nature. Our aim is to explore the challenges and look for opportunities and as the project develops we plan to work with communities and organisations to actively create solutions for the city.
In the first stages we’re going to be immersing ourselves in the wild stories of Brum. On the 8th and 9th February we will be on the ground and we want to meet the wonderful people, awesome places, inspiring initiatives and outstanding opportunities that exist. We want to harvest these and gather all the insights together into an opportunity map for the city which will form the next phase of our work.
If you’re interested in contributing to or participating in this project, we’d love it if you could answer the questions below (scroll down below).