Greener public spaces

Increase the proportion of homes in urban areas within 10 minutes’ walk of quality green, open and public space by 10% by 2023.

Young girl in a playground

Why is this important?

Quality green, open and public spaces are important to everyone. They are our free and publicly accessible parks, gardens and sports fields, walkable shady streets and plazas, and the libraries, museums and galleries at the heart of our communities.  

Our public spaces make our local neighbourhoods more welcoming and accessible. They delight and connect people. They support our health and wellbeing, environmental resilience and thriving local economies. They're at the heart of everyday life.

We know that people who have access to green and public places are healthier and happier. We also know that for many people living in urban areas without a lush backyard, our parks and green spaces are vital to maintaining both physical and mental health. 

The NSW Government is committed to delivering a network of welcoming and inclusive public spaces to create connected communities where people love to live. 

How are we tracking?

Creating great public spaces takes a local, place-based approach. We have worked with local governments and communities across NSW to increase access to quality public space. 

We have achieved the target and delivered over 230,000 more homes in urban areas within 10 minutes’ walk of a new or improved quality green, open, and public space. 

As of July 2022, our projects have resulted in an additional 233,880 homes having access to great public spaces.


Download the Greener public spaces data information sheet (PDF 238.67KB)

What are we doing? 

To achieve the target for this priority, we delivered a range of projects across NSW, including through the Public Spaces Legacy Program, and co-funded with councils inclusive play spaces through the Everyone Can Play grant program.

Explore this map to see some of the ways we are investing in public space across NSW.

NSW Public Spaces Legacy Program

In August 2020 we announced the launch of a $250 million NSW Public Spaces Legacy Program as part of ongoing work to protect the health of the community, provide economic and jobs stimulus in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and deliver a legacy of safe, quality public and open space. The program incentivises local councils to accelerate their assessments of development applications (DAs) and rezoning to create new development capacity and meet demand for housing and employment over the next decade.

Over 100 projects in 60 Local Government Areas have been approved as part of the NSW Government’s $250 million Public Spaces Legacy Program. Projects include a diverse range of public open spaces including new and improved walking and cycle paths, parks, trails and boardwalks, lookouts, foreshore and riverfronts, play spaces, civic plazas, outdoor event and performance spaces.

Parks for People

Our Parks for People program is putting communities at the heart of a $150 million program to create a network of connected parks and open space across Greater Sydney. We're investing the money to create new open spaces and improve existing parks that will be designed for and by the local communities they serve

Everyone Can Play

We are making play spaces in NSW more inclusive. Through the Everyone Can Play (ECP) Guideline and grant program we are helping designers and councils deliver play spaces that are designed to be more inclusive of everyone in the community. So far more than 71 new or improved inclusive play spaces have been delivered across NSW from the previous rounds of grant funding with 70 more currently under development.

Open Spaces Program

The Open Spaces Program is creating quality open spaces to enhance community wellbeing and make our places more liveable so greater access to public open space is nearer to where you live.

New and improved open spaces to swim, play, roam, ride and connect with nature are being delivered across NSW through a $50 million investment by the NSW Government. This investment in quality open spaces in communities across the state supports the delivery of a pipeline of new homes with improved neighbourhood spaces to connect, unwind, relax, and play. It will also deliver jobs, stimulate businesses, and encourage recreation and visitor economy. Over 3 years, the NSW Government is delivering on this commitment to high quality open space through the provision of grant funding, pilot and demonstration projects and the creation of best practice design guidelines. So far more than 40 projects are under development through the Open Spaces grant program. 

Metropolitan Greenspace Program

The Metropolitan Greenspace Program commits grant funding to local councils in Greater Sydney and the Central Coast for projects that improve and increase access to regionally significant open space. The program aligns with the NSW Government’s Greater Sydney Region Plan - A Metropolis of Three Cities, and the Green Grid strategy, helping to create a network of high-quality green space that connects town centres, public transport hubs, and major residential areas. The Metropolitan Greenspace Program is the longest running open space grants program, having started in 1983. Since 1990 over $56 million has been provided to more than 681 projects. 

Other investments

The NSW Government is further investing in green and open spaces in Western Sydney with the $5 billion WestInvest Grants Program. Grants have been awarded for new and revitalised parks, recreational facilities, walking and cycling paths, sports grounds, playgrounds, and BMX and skate parks. To see the latest projects, visit the WestInvest webpage.

You can find a local public space in your area using the ePlanning Spatial Viewer. The public spaces layer shows the location of known open spaces and public facilities across NSW. 

Greener Public Spaces
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What can you do?  

If you would like to learn more about the Greener Public Spaces program, contact the project team via email:

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