Greenspace has substantial environmental and health impacts, but also links to community aspects, such as community cohesion, social connectedness and community resilience. Being able to access high quality greenspace can improve the health, wellbeing and confidence of people and communities.
Quality greenspaces will help us to:
increase our physical activity levels, strengthen our mental health, combat isolation and loneliness and create a sense of purpose by providing opportunities for volunteering
link houses, workplaces, services and other public spaces to create joined-up spaces and connected neighbourhoods and provide safe, pleasant corridors for active travel
provide opportunities for government, business and communities to come together to create places that attract investment and business development, support the health, wellbeing and morale of the workforce, and where people of all ages can find training and work opportunities
support creative, stimulating learning to develop skills and confidence
sustain places, bring people and nature together, support local production and consumption as well as creating a ‘sense of place’ and cultural identity.
Factors affecting meeting this indicator include levels of investment in the creation of new greenspaces, resources available for enhancing and maintaining existing greenspaces, and the policy framework, and its application in terms of protecting open space from development or fragmentation. The level of resource available for investment in greenspace may depend on wider economic factors and development cycles. This could affect the funding available from the various sources that can support or deliver greenspace; agencies, local authorities, greenspace and green network partnerships and from developer contributions associated with new developments towards greenspace.
The Scottish Government recognises the importance of greenspace and is committed to supporting the provision of an environment which contributes towards well-designed, sustainable places with access to services and amenities.
Scotland’s Greenspace Map (SGM) categorises greenspaces in urban Scotland into 23 different open space types (based on the typology set out in Planning Advice Note 65 Planning and Open Space). These include public parks, play areas, allotments, amenity greenspace and private gardens. Future iterations of SGM will be taken forward as a collaborative project in partnership with Ordnance Survey and will include access points allowing accessibility assessments to be carried out.
The Central Scotland Green Network (CSGN) is Europe’s largest greenspace initiative which seeks to transform Central Scotland into a place where the environment adds value to the economy and where people’s lives are enriched by its quality. The initiative is a national priority, designated as one of 14 national developments for Scotland in our third National Planning Framework.
Our Scottish Planning Policy (SPP) sets out that planning should protect, enhance and promote green infrastructure including open space and green networks as an integral component of successful placemaking, and provide for easy and safe access to and within green infrastructure. Government officials consider all emerging development plans and comment where required to ensure that plans reflect the policies set out in SPP.
In December 2015, the Scottish Government, alongside partners including NHS Health Scotland and Architecture and Design Scotland, launched the Place Standard. This assessment method, for both new and existing places, aims to support the delivery of high quality places in Scotland and maximize the potential of the physical and social environment in supporting health, wellbeing and a high quality of life.
The Green Infrastructure Strategic Intervention has been allocated funds to enhance quality of life for people living in urban areas by improving the quality, accessibility and quantity of green infrastructure in Scotland’s major towns and cities.
In 2016, 65.4% of adults lived within a 5 minute walk of their nearest greenspace, compared to 67.6% in 2013.
The data is available at the bottom of the page.
People living in the most deprived areas are less likely to live within a 5 minute walk of their nearest greenspace than people in less deprived areas.
The data is available at the bottom of the page.
This evaluation is based on: any difference in the percentage within +/- 2 percentage points of last year's figure suggests that the position is more likely to be maintaining than showing any change. An increase of 2 percentage points or more suggests the position is improving; whereas a decrease of 2 percentage points or more suggests the position is worsening. The threshold of 2 percentage points chosen is based on the data available at this time, and may need to be reviewed as more data points become available.
For information on general methodological approach, please click here.
Scotland Performs Technical Note
Architecture and Design Scotland
NHS Health Scotland
Scottish Natural Heritage
Wealthier & Fairer
Safer & Stronger