Section B - green infrastructure
Green infrastructure provides some of the broadest climate resilience co-benefits including:
- managing overheating
- microclimate improvements
- sustainable drainage; and
- improved air quality
As well as wider physical and mental health and wellbeing benefits.
The GLA has developed a quantitative methodology for determining the level of green infrastructure that should be included in development sites. The Urban Greening Factor has a straightforward methodology which can be applied to a range of development sizes and types if sufficient detail on the approach and interventions is provided. However, it is not always considered to be the best approach for Westminster and we are therefore looking to develop a more suitable alternative. More information will be published on this in due course.
Open space and Areas of Deficiency Map can be found in the City Plan on Page 131, figure 27.
The royal parks are a huge asset, and they cover nineteen percent of the borough. However, there is still an open space deficiency in Westminster that means that not every resident has access to public open space. The West End Partnership has developed an approach to open space that aligns with the authority’s climate resilient approach. Westminster is a densely populated and highly developed city and the creation of new green spaces with mainly be through the creation of spines and networks as well as enhancing the benefits of existing spaces at ground level and at roof level. The Wild West End (WWE) Value Matrix assigns values to the green space:
- biodiversity (n.b. The forthcoming Environment Act mandates that all developments must achieve net gain for biodiversity of 10% and developers are required to submit a biodiversity gain plan with their applications)
- wellbeing; and
Values are assigned based on the above factors and the greater number of functions that a site fulfils, the greater value it has. This qualitative approach means that play facilities for young people and sustainable drainage, for example, for a local housing project, can co-exist by design rather than by default. Pocket parks and smaller areas of open space can be as valuable as large sites as they have a range of functions for the people that use them. This incremental approach is also valuable for overall greening of the whole city. Incorporating green infrastructure onto walls and buildings is hugely valuable additional infrastructure.