Green Neighbourhoods

Semi-private green

Semi-private green

Image credit: Niek Roozen Landscape

Combine efforts to improve the direct living environment

Semi-private green offers an experience of nature for those urban residents who either have no private green space, have no time or desire to garden themselves, or are not able to maintain an entire garden on their own. Collective funds can be set aside for routine maintenance if there is no one who takes the initiative to organise this between residents. Community involvement can be requested to decide how the space is used and set quality standards for maintenance

Design with flexibility for potential users

Users change over time and everyone has a different idea of how common private green spaces are or should be used. (Peace, quiet, relaxation and healing versus gardening, socializing, playing). Unless the intent is clear in the design and fellow residents set up the ground rules, the success of the space is limited.

Horticultural therapy benefits special needs groups

People who otherwise cannot maintain their own gardens are sometimes those who profit the most from gardening activities and exposure to nature. People in hospitals, elderly homes, mental illness facilities, children’s hospitals, Alzheimers facilities, and other institutions can all benefit. Provide accessible therapeutic gardens including raised beds, barrier-free paths, sensory stimulating environments which awaken the five senses, and places to relax. People with dementia that are able to work in the garden have lower negative emotions and anger episodes than patients with no access to gardening.

Courtyards and roof gardens are ideal semi-private spaces

Spaces which can be occasionally or partially closed off and are within view of the user groups add to the success of semi-private green. The chances of low quality maintenance, misuse of the space and vandalism are reduced. Rooftops are beneficial because of their multifunctionality in dense urban settings.

Provide city residents/workers/patients in dense urban environments with usable green space they can collectively call their own.

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Did you know?

People with dementia that are able to work in the garden have lower negative emotions and anger episodes than patients with no access to gardening.


Benefits of semi-private green spaces

  • People with no private garden can enjoy their own piece of nearby green
  • Takes the elderly out of their social isolation
  • Many residents take pleasure in performing (physical) activities outdoors


In new and existing developments


In new development:

Provide space in dense urban development not just for parking and planting between buildings, but for usable green space. Consider the multifunctionality of spaces such as green roofs above parking.

In existing development:

Consolidate existing parking and unusable green and transform it into usable green spaces for adjacent residents.