Town Planning Review

Planning past parks: overcoming restrictive green-space narratives in contemporary compact cities

Town Planning Review Ahead of print, 1–26.


Green-space planning has become a prominent feature in metropolitan sustainability policies, reflecting growing awareness of the multifunctional benefits of extensive typologies of urban green spaces. Yet this article will argue that the existing approach to green-space planning is rooted in traditional ways of thinking about green space’s form and function that originated nearly two centuries ago. Calling on empirical research conducted in London, this article aims to demonstrate the gap between the conceptual way urban green space is presented and the practical way it is delivered. Findings suggest that, despite adoption of wider urban greening policies, many practitioners take a conventional approach that parks - as large green spaces - are the ‘best’ delivery mechanism for access to green space. This article will demonstrate how this is problematic, concluding that broadening green space in planning metrics would improve access to the multifaceted benefits that diverse green-space typologies - including, but not limited to, parks - can provide.

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Author details

Whitten, Meredith