Green space is defined as “an area of grass, trees, or other vegetation set apart for recreational or aesthetic purposes in an otherwise urban environment,” and people are encouraged to use the map to track down their nearest “public park, play space, playing field, golf course, public garden, bowling green, allotment and more,” says OS. The maps also reveal access points for larger highlighted areas.
The map is part of a wider Government initiative to inspire people to use outdoor recreation spaces to “encourage healthier and greener lifestyles.” These plans were crystallised in 2015 when the Greenspace map was reaffirmed as Government commitment. Since then, OS has collaborated with a number of Non-Government Organisations and Government partners to realise the dataset and map projects.
The Greenspace map contains data from OS and other sources and can be accessed for free through OS Maps online or using its app. OS has also made its findings into an open dataset, OS Open Greenspace, for use by communities, businesses and developers.
This project follows 2011’s Scottish Greenspace Map, released by Greenspace Scotland and the Scottish Government in 2011. Scotland’s Minister for Local Government and Housing, Kevin Stewart, says:
“Evidence shows that improving access to local green space benefits physical health, mental well-being and provides social opportunities. The Greenspace Map helps identify where there is a lack of open space so local authorities, public sector partners and community groups can develop plans to develop and improve these areas within local neighbourhoods.
“These maps provide the cornerstone for open space strategies and green network plans, as well as supporting ground-breaking academic research on green space and health.”