How green is Cambridge?

Traditional images of Cambridge often include Kings College chapel viewed from the Backs, or cows grazing on Midsummer Common only a few hundred yards from the city centre. We’re very fortunate to have so much green space in our city, and it’s one of the things that makes Cambridge such a good place to live. But how green is Cambridge overall? I was slightly surprised to come across the phrase “leafy Arbury” in a recent news report, but it turns out that even the more recently built parts of the city do pretty well for green space.

In 2007, the Department for Communities and Local Government published data for land use in all of England as at January 2005. Exhausted by this effort, it says “no further work is planned” on the data, which is a pity because it would be interesting to see the effect of recent changes across the city. But here is the data for 2005 for each ward:

Cambridge’s wards differ considerably in size; you can see maps of them here. Note that this data is based on the ward boundaries as they were in 2003.

I’ve listed the wards in order of greenness – the proportion of their land which is either “greenspace” or domestic gardens. Trumpington comes top of the leafiness league, closely followed by Cherry Hinton, which includes the Cherry Hinton Pit nature reserve. Abbey is boosted by the airport; Arbury scores relatively poorly for green space, but does well on gardens. At the other end of the scale are Petersfield and Romsey, which feature high-density housing off Mill Road, and Market, which contains the city centre, but still does well for green space thanks to Jesus Green, Midsummer Common, and Parker’s Piece. Overall, 48% of Cambridge’s land area is green space, and a further 22% is domestic gardens. Let’s hope we can keep Cambridge green despite the tremendous amount of development going on across the city.

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2 Responses to How green is Cambridge?

  1. Phil,

    If you want to link Cambridge ward maps in future consider:

  2. Phil Rodgers says:

    Hi Richard,
    Thanks, I will. However it’s good to be able to see the ward names without having to click, if you’re trying to locate a particular ward; also in this particular case (as noted in the article) the data is based on the pre-2004 boundaries, so it was also handy to have those shown. But your maps are certainly superior for people living near a ward boundary trying to work out which ward they are in. Another option (which I have only just come across today) is the amazing, which also features zoomable ward boundary maps for individual wards, though not (yet) for entire councils.

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