A landscape in need of more greenspace

London needs more greenspace for our future health and sanity.

In November 2019 the GLA reported that London has the lowest levels of green space availability in all of the UK.

Just 20% of London is made up of publicly accessible parks even though 47% of the city’s land overall is classed as green space. That’s a problem because the proximity and quality of green space is key to whether green spaces are used and how beneficial they are to their communities.

London’s Life-Saving Parks report identified five priorities:

  1. Physical inactivity is the fourth largest cause of mortality in England, accounting for 37,000 premature deaths a year.
  2. Regular physical activity has been shown to reduce the impact of a number of diseases, including cardiovascular disease and diabetes.[1]
  3. 35 per cent of those from lower socio-economic backgrounds visit green spaces less than once a month and this is linked to a lack of green space in poorer areas.[2]
  4. People living within 300 metres of green space in London reported high levels of life satisfaction, self-worth and happiness.[3]
  5. 20 per cent of London is made up of publicly accessible parks[4], and 47% of the city's land overall is classed as green space.[5] But London has the lowest levels of green space availability in all of the UK.[6]

Green spaces can help people lead active lifestyles in an urban setting, where access to the open countryside is limited.

Green spaces provide places and opportunities for relaxation, exercise, play, access to nature, pleasant views, cleaner air, reduced heatwave effects, social and community activities and a host of other quality of life benefits. The proximity and quality of green space is key to whether green spaces are used and how beneficial they are to the community.

Going forward, London needs more pocket and small sized parks or public spaces to meet the needs of its growing population.

Notes:

  1. Association between urban green space and the risk of cardiovascular disease, Seo et al, 2019
  2. The Marmot review final report: Fair society, healthy lives, Michael Marmot, 2010
  3. A spatial analysis of proximate green space and mental wellbeing in London, Houlden et al 2019
  4. Natural Capital Accounts for Public Green Space in London, October 2017
  5. Greenspace Information for Greater London CIC, Key London Figures
  6. Green Space Index, Fields in Trust, 2019

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Mapped spaces are based on data published by Greenspace Information for Greater London CIC (GiGL), 2020. Contains public sector information licenced under the Open Government Licence v3.0. See About. | GiGL park and open space content and associated images are ©2020 GiGL CIC, all rights reserved.   |  All other park and open space information is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License   |  CPRE London, 70 Cowcross Street, London, EC1M 6EJ | Charity number 802622