A Green Space Factor for London?

The Mayor of London’s draft Environment Strategy includes a proposal to introduce a ‘Green Space Factor’, a tool for calculating green cover that can be used to shape development proposals to ensure adequate green infrastructure is provided.

First used in Malmo, the Green Space Factor was introduced to the UK by the TCPA-run GRaBS project, an award-winning EU-funded project to promote green infrastructure as part of urban climate change mitigation (for example to help manage temperature extremes and to reduce flood risk). 

Malmo- large balconies covered in substrate to encourage vegetation

An expert paper can be downloaded from the TCPA website which focuses on two green infrastructure tools developed since then:

  • the Green Space Factor – an innovative way of calculating green space requirements for new development
  • the Green Points System – a checklist of green and blue infrastructure options for developers to use to achieve a minimum level of green/blue space.

Using this methodology gives local authorities certainty about the green infrastructure benefits being provided, developers some flexibility in what they deliver, and communities the benefits of increased green infrastructure.


Conclusions from Malmo

The City of Malmö has now been developing, using and refining green planning tools such as the Green Space Factor and the Green Points System for more than ten years in the Western Harbour.

This has been an on-going process, during which time barriers such as the initial scepticism of planners and developers have been gradually eroded, and the tools themselves have evolved to better achieve their goals.

For example, since being applied as a pilot, the Green Space Factor has been gradually improved and is now part of an environmental building programme that is used in all new developments in Malmö and Lund.

The incorporation of tools such as the Green Space Factor and Green Points System into wider planning systems can help ensure that it is not just exemplar developments  that benefit from the provision of green infrastructure, but that it becomes the norm across all developments.