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Public Open Space Categories

Public Open Space categories, as defined in The London Plan, provide a benchmark for the provision of publicly accessible open space across the capital, categorising spaces according to their size, facilities and local importance.

TypeDescriptionSizeDistances from homes
Regional ParksLarge areas, corridors or networks of open space, the majority of which will be publicly accessible and provide a range of facilities and features offering recreational, ecological, landscape, cultural or green infrastructure benefits. Offer a combination of facilities and features that are unique within London, are readily accessible by public transport and are managed to meet best practice quality standards.400 hectares3.2 to 8 kilometres
Metropolitan ParksLarge areas of open space that provide a similar range of benefits to Regional Parks and offer a combination of facilities at a sub regional level, are readily accessible by public transport and are managed to meet best practice quality standards.60 hectares3.2 kilometres
District ParksLarge areas of open space that provide a landscape setting with a variety of natural features providing a wide range of activities, including outdoor sports facilities and playing fields, children's play for different age groups and informal recreation pursuits.20 hectares1.2 kilometres
Local Parks and Open SpacesProviding for court games, children's play, sitting out areas and nature conservation areas.2 hectaresDistances from homes 400 metres
Small Open SpacesGardens, sitting out areas, children's play spaces or other areas of a specialist nature, including nature conservation areas.Under 2 hectaresLess than 400 metres
Pocket ParksSmall areas of open space that provide natural surfaces and shaded areas for informal play and passive recreation that sometimes have seating and play equipment.Under 0.4Less than 400 metres
Linear Open SpacesOpen spaces and towpaths alongside the Thames, canals and other waterways; paths, disused railways; nature conservation areas; and other routes that provide opportunities for informal recreation. Often characterised by features or attractive areas which are not fully accessible to the public but contribute to the enjoyment of the space.

GiGL Derived Public Open Space Designations

Where published information is not available or has not yet been included, Public Open Space designations are derived from the GiGL devised rules.

Open spaces are designated as Public Open Space if:

  • They are not marked as being non-Public Open Space. From previous work, some spaces have been designated specifically as not being Public Open Space.
  • They do not have ‘restricted’ or ‘none’ public access.
  • They are designated as any of the following principal space types; park, formal garden, common, public woodland, nature reserve, recreation ground, playing fields, village green, amenity green space, play space, civic/market square.

Public Open Spaces are then categorised according to the size guidelines suggested in The London Plan.

  • Local Parks and Open Spaces – at least 2 hectares
  • Small Open Spaces – between 0.4 and 2 hectares
  • Pocket Parks – under 0.4 hectares

Sites are designated as Linear Open Spaces if:

  • They are not marked as being non-Public Open Space. From previous work, some spaces have been designated specifically as not being Public Open Space.
  • They do not have ‘restricted’ or ‘none’ public access.
  • They are designated as any of the following principal space types; river, canal, walking/cycling route.

The source of the designation is documented within the data so that the accuracy of the information can be analysed.

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