Open Spaces

Whether a park or common, playing field or a golf course, an allotment or a civic square, open spaces are important to the lives of London’s residents. They provide space for relaxation, for sport and recreation, aid mitigation for climate change and even boost the economy of the local area.

Open space is defined as undeveloped land which has an amenity value, or has potential for an amenity value. The value could be visual, derive from a site’s historical or cultural interest or from the enjoyment of facilities which it provides. It includes both public and private spaces, but excludes private gardens.

GiGL manages a London-wide database of open spaces. This includes GIS files of open space sites and facilities and as well as information such as ownership, whether the site is publicly accessible, and details of designations that apply to the site. Find out more about what our open space data can tell you.

GiGL Open Space Data

GiGL’s open space data is based on a long-running survey of open spaces throughout the capital, updated with available data from the London Boroughs and information submitted by recorders and the general public. We also have a volunteer who surveys sites for us. Find out more by reading his GiGLer article.

You can read more about the history of the London-wide survey programme in this GiGLer article.

It is important that the information we hold is accurate. We are continually liaising with the London boroughs to verify the data and ensure the information we hold reflects reality. Learn more about our open space data validation and verification process. If you would like to help us with this process please contact Julie through our contacts page.

Tell us about an open space using our online form here.

GiGL’s open space work is supported by GiGL Advisors.

Public Open Spaces

Public Open Space is a designation applied to sites that are publicly accessible and perform a role in the local community. GiGL manage a dataset of sites designated as Public open Space.

Public Open Space provides a benchmark for the provision of publicly accessible open space across the capital, categorising spaces according to their size, facilities and local importance. Spaces are designated according to a hierarchy of categories documented in The London Plan, which also sets out a maximum desirable distance that London residents should travel in order to access Public Open Spaces. GiGL has mapped the resulting areas of deficiency to Public Open Space.

Areas of deficiency in access to Public Open Space

Areas of deficiency in access to Public Open Space

GiGL has sourced the POS designations from published borough documents, and by liaising with some borough officers. In cases where the designations are unclear, or where information is not available, GiGL has surmised likely designations from other information in the open space dataset using a carefully devised set of rules.

The Public Open Space data is dynamic and is updated on an ongoing basis.

Uses of our Open Space Data

Knowing the current status of London’s open spaces is critical for their good management. GiGL’s open space information is providing the evidence base behind the ALGG – the strategic green infrastructure project which spans the entire capital. It is also vital in helping plan and manage smaller scale green infrastructure projects across the city.

Our London-wide coverage allows us to analyse beyond political boundaries. We can accurately highlight areas deficient in access to open spaces as well as deficiencies in specific facilities.

Our data allows accurate analysis of the relationship between open spaces and social, economic and environmental indicators in London.

Map licence: © Crown Copyright and database right 2013. Ordnance Survey 100032216. GLA