Green City

Within walking distance

Recreation

Image credit: PPH

Access to recreational green is important

In Europe the recommendation is that every household should be within 500m of an arm of the green network, allowing access to green with a 45 minute walk. The 10 minute walk to the park in the USA is an initiative to provide green space within a 10 minute walk of every citizen. The City of Melbourne, Australia, sets the maximum distance to a park at 300m in their Open Space Strategy. City planning and policy is critical to ensuring accessibility to high quality green space for all citizens. Green space should be functional, attractive, varied, inviting, and well maintained.

The quality of recreational green is important

City planning and policy is critical to ensuring accessibility to high quality green space for all citizens. Green space should be functional, attractive, varied, inviting, and well.

Provide nearby recreational facilities for children

Children between the ages of 6 and 11 are the most dependent on their direct living environment for fulfilment of their daily outdoor physical activity. Provide formal and/or informal play areas for these age groups at the local level to encourage more outdoor play. Safe routes to play areas are important as well as safe transitions between street and play areas. Prevent children from running into the street and keep play areas highly visible.

Provide recreational possibilities and green for residents who stay closer to home

The elderly and people with a lower socio-economic status have less opportunities to seek green elsewhere. Green in the vicinity of their home is essential

Create parks in inner city neighbourhoods

Include parks in the rehabilitation of declining neighbourhoods. Remove a housing block and replace it with a pocket park, involving the residents in the process. This, in combination with planned improvements to the remaining buildings, creates a more liveable neighbourhood for the community.


Develop ample parks and usable green spaces within walking distance of all residents.

 

Size and location of green spaces in urban environments

Type of parkDistance from houseSize of Park
pocket park200 m (4 min. walk)0.01 ha - 1 ha
neighbourhood park400 m (6 min. walk)1 ha - 6 ha
community park800 m (12 min. walk)6 ha - 18 ha
large urban park1600 m (20 min. walk)18 ha - 200 ha
city wide park3200 m (up to 30 min. walk)>200 ha

Benefits of neighbourhood green space

  • Healthier, happier residents (5-15% more)
  • More outdoor play (10% more)
  • More social contact and social cohesion*
  • Less overweight or obese residents (15% less)
  • Less doctor visits, less depression, for some diseases up to 33%*
  • More likely to be physically active (24% more) if green space is easily accessible

* especially noticeable with children, the elderly and people with a lower social/economic status

In new and existing developments

In new development:

25% of the total urban area should be set aside for green recreational uses. The green areas should be distributed throughout the city vary in size and vary in use so everyone has access to green.

In existing development:

Where a lack of space is available, the quality, use and accessibility of recreational green should be improved to provide maximum enjoyment for as many residents as possible.