Want More Green Space?

A critical look at how green spaces impact society and what governments can do to invest more.
Research Paper

Want More Green Space?

We experienced a new joy in the outdoors during the pandemic where spaces previously unexplored opened up to us. Has that altered our thinking around public investment?


‘The local green’, ‘the park’, ‘the community garden’ are all colloquial terms used for the urban green space. In the time of COVID-19, under government restrictions, 'the green space' became an important member of the community, facilitating daily exercise, a break from the mundane home office and a place for a socially distanced meet ups with friends and family. The transition to working from home is becoming less of a dream and more of a reality. Properties that had their own private garden have become more desirable. More people are forgoing the dense concrete jungle for more open, greener residential areas. Going further however, has Covid-19 done enough to bring us closer to nature? Importantly, how willing are we, as citizens and government, to invest in creation and maintenance of green spaces?

How do green spaces help?

Underpinning much of this paper is the central thesis of understanding how nature is not a commodity to be consumed, but a necessity to be preserved. This paper looks at 4 areas:

  • Physical and Psychological wellbeing
  • Social Cohesion
  • Ecosystems
  • Climate Change

If the net benefits of more green spaces result in positive externalities for society, should we do more to invest in green?

The Green Space Paradox

Green spaces have an overwhelming wealth of evidence to support their creation, maintenance and use; however, there can be unfortunate consequences that displace and isolate people from lower socio-economic backgrounds. This phenomenon has been colloquially named 'the green space paradox'. The creation of green spaces can improve the attractiveness of the local area and public health, making neighbourhoods more desirable and in turn more expensive. Housing cost escalation can potentially lead to gentrification; the displacement and the exclusion of the very residents the green space was meant to benefit.

Policy Recommendations

We highlight 5 broad public policy recommendations that are detailed in the paper:

1. Tax Incentives

2. Zonal Regulations

3. Grants and Subsidies

4. Public-Private Partnerships

5. Education and Outreach


Raghav Chandegra is a practicing dentist and co-founder of a sustainable tableware company. He is also co-founder of Elephant Editions - an independent publishing house.