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Experts to consider policy for green areas.

Byline: Sophie Blakemore Health and Science Reporter

The importance of green open spaces in cities will be the topic of an international conference being held in Birmingham this week.

Delegates from 19 countries will gather for the debate on the future of city parks at the National Indoor Arena.

Representatives, including economists, ecologists and architects, from a host of European countries will come together to share best practice with a view to forming a new EU policy and setting standards on urban parks. The conference is part of a three-year scheme funded by the EU to improve the provision and future funding of urban green spaces to play a part in the sustainable development of all European cities.

The Urban Green Environment research project (URGE) is being led by Birmingham City Council's parks and nature conservation division and the University of Central England.

Andrew Kerr, director of leisure and culture at the council, said the conference would add kudos to the city's Eastside plans.

'It is fitting that Birmingham should be hosting this international conference as further developments of the URGE project, in partnership with other European cities, is one of the elements of Birmingham's bid to become European Capital of Culture 2008.

'The proposed new Eastside park will be the first major city centre park to be created in over a century, this is set to benefit directly from this project.

'By sharing ideas across the EU at a critical time for the planning of Eastside, we intend the new park to become a flagship for the best practices in urban landscape design,' he said.

Each country at the conference, which runs from Friday until Sunday, has had to identify two urban parks as examples of best practice.

Birmingham has chosen Burbury Park in Newtown and New Hall Valley Country Park, Walmley as its case study sites.
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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Sep 4, 2002
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