How location data helped the Department for Levelling Up Housing and Communities create new urban green spaces

OS provided an understanding of the current access to green spaces in deprived areas and expert geospatial support

The importance of access to green outdoor spaces in relation to health and wellbeing is clear. However, deprived areas are less likely to have access to green space and gardens.

In 2021 the Government allocated £9 million of funding to a ‘Levelling Up Parks Fund’ to help local authorities create 100 new or significantly refurbished urban green spaces.

  • OS MasterMap Highways Network - Paths
  • OS MasterMap Highways Network - Roads
  • OS Open Greenspace


Before any money could be spent, evidence was required to ensure this money was being used in the right areas. Fortunately the Department for Levelling Up Housing and Communities (DLUHC) were able to access Ordnance Survey (OS) services and expertise because they are members of the Public Sector Geospatial Agreement (PSGA).

OS was approached by DLUHC to provide that evidence, as well as an understanding of the current access to green spaces in deprived areas and expert geospatial support.

But the first thing to establish was what constitutes a deprived area? And what is accessible? Is a 15-20 minute walk reasonable? Can people reach an area of green space on foot without crossing a motorway? 


OS utilised Indices of Deprivation data from ONS to hone in on certain areas that have the highest level of deprivation. With that knowledge and what counts as accessible having been established, the methodology quickly took shape.

Using ArcGIS Pro, which is a tool that allows you to use various maps and datasets in a single project, technical experts at OS overlayed the deprived areas with OS MasterMap Highways - Roads and OS MasterMap Highways - Paths and OS Open Greenspace datasets. This illustrated how accessible current green space is as well as shining a light on accessible areas where new pocket parks could be created. 

"OS supported our policy thinking both practically and professionally and were responsive to questions whilst recognising our drivers and wider context. Thank you to the whole team for their hard work!"

DLUHC spokesperson


With over 20,000 changes to the OS National Geographic Database of Great Britain every single day, OS was able to provide DLUHC with the most authoritative geospatial evidence possible to support their policy. Thanks to access to OS data and expert support from OS staff, DLUCH is on track to achieve its target of 100 new or improved green spaces.

Furthermore, this work can lead to improved health and wellbeing outcomes in deprived communities, create more and improve existing green spaces as well as improving landscapes and biodiversity.

"OS supported our work on the Levelling Up Parks Fund. They provided their expertise and analysis to enable us to understand where the places most deprived of green space are and the range of parameters that could be included in defining what green space means."

DLUHC spokesperson

The Public Sector Geospatial Agreement

Ordnance Survey and the Geospatial Commission

The Public Sector Geospatial Agreement (PSGA) is a contract between Ordnance Survey and the Geospatial Commission, on behalf of the public sector in England, Wales, and Scotland. It's the route for public sector member organisations to access, use and share our ever-evolving location data.

Learn more about the PSGA

Products and solutions featured in this study

  • OS MasterMap Highways Network - Paths

    A path network dataset for Great Britain showing who is responsible for all the footpaths through towns and cities.

  • OS MasterMap Highways Network - Roads

    A navigable road network dataset with detailed information about planned roads and roads under construction for Great Britain.

  • OS Open Greenspace

    An open dataset of greenspaces in urban and rural areas including playing fields, sports’ facilities, play areas and allotments.