Green space accessibility in Birmingham? A walk in the park.

Green space accessibility in Birmingham? A walk in the park.

On 23rd March, the UK government announced that the public should only leave the house for a few reasons, one being 1 piece of exercise per day. With gyms, pools, and children’s play spaces closed, people have begun using this time to go for walks. But how many people can access a green space within that time? 

For Basemap’s April visualisation, we focused on the report outputs TRACC is capable of. Based on the accessibility to green spaces in Birmingham within 15 minutes to allow for a half an hour walk and still be home during the government’s advised 1 hour walk a day.

Using Ordnance Survey (OS) green spaces data we extracted the green spaces within Birmingham and used these as the destinations in our travel time contour. The Ordnance Survey Highways Layer with Paths was also utilised, the path element is significant for this project as it includes walking routes that make green spaces more accessible and therefore ensures a more realistic analysis.  Using this detailed authoritative data from Ordnance Survey helps give gravitas to the results and can be freely used by the public sector under the new geospatial agreement.  The private sector can also purchase this data on a per km/2 basis if required.

As show in the image below, residents of Birmingham can easily access green spaces within the area. There is no significant area lacking in accessibility within a 15 minute walk. 

  

Whilst the map is a great visualisation showing the overall accessibility, using the report outputs by TRACC we can look more closely at the demographic accessibility by including census data. There are various ways that this data can be represented. For example, the table below is a very straightforward breakdown of the number of residents within walking distance.  

Time 

Population 

0 to 5 Minutes 

580,999 

0 to 10 Minutes 

1,031,102 

0 to 15 Minutes 

1,098,551 

 

This is a strong starting point in terms of showing the data, but we can go one step further by putting it into a graph. Below is a bar graph with the sum of residents within the contour, which overlays separate 5-minute segments, making it easier to put into perspective the comparative groups.  

 

Alternatively, the data can be viewed as a percentage within a pie chart. The chart objectively shows the number of residents who can access a green space within 15 minutes. This compliments the complexity of the contour in a simple but effective way, demonstrating that 96% of Birmingham can get to a green space within the allotted hour. 

 

 

Given the circumstances, options can appear limited on where people can exercise and enjoy the outdoors. But with wide open spaces and many of them there is still plenty of opportunity to get your daily walk in with some pleasant scenery.  

Keziah is the Digital Marketing Executive at Basemap Ltd. She has almost 2 years experience in the digital realm after graduating from the University of Plymouth with a BA in Illustration and a MA in Publishing.