Productive Urban Landscapes

Research and practice around the CPUL design concept

Map of the South-East London Green Chain (Source: Gov.Co.Uk, 2022)

The South-East London Green Chain, UK

The South-East London Green Chain was created in 1977 by the Greater London Council and four London boroughs – Bexley, Bromley, Lewisham and Royal Greenwich in order to protect the green areas from inappropriate building. Today it includes a fifth borough – Southwick – and links over 300 open spaces. The spaces are a combination of ‘ancient woodlands, historic parks and landscapes, commons, heath, farmland and recreational grounds’. Developed with the aim to create a network of green spaces to ‘respond to the challenges of climate change, support economic development and deliver an improved quality of life’. The South-East London Green Chain extends the length of 30km and signposted footpaths throughout extend more than 80km.

Green chain fingerpost within wooded area. (Source: Annierak, 2022)

Green chain fingerpost within Lesnes Abbey Woods. (Source: Annierak, 2022)

Though the green chain was created with great intentions and the mapping of green spaces links directly to the CPUL concept, the South-East London Green Chain currently existing needs improvement. The green areas that make up the chain are not actually always connected,  very often separated by roads, railways and waterways. There are no regional parks along he South-East London Green Chain, which would bring further attraction and funding for maintenance and development. Public transport access to areas along the chain could be improved and better highlighted. The current South-East London Green Chain does not include food productive landscapes which if incorporated would enhance biodiversity and ecology, increase food options and reduce imports, and improve communities and culture by offering spaces for residents to come together to learn, socialise, and be within nature.

Fingerpost for the green chain on residential street, no green space to be seen. (Source: Annierak, 2022)

Many areas of the green chain are not actually connected by green landscapes. (Source: Annierak, 2022)

However there are still intentions to connect further open spaces and green areas and enhance existing areas along the chain and to connect it to other Green Chains in London creating the All London Green Grid. Given that the future of the South-East London Green Chain is still in development and planning, it is not too late to incorporate productive landscapes and turn this green chain into a CPUL.

Wooded area with sunlight poking through trees. (Source: Annierak, 2022)

Lesnes Abbey Woods is part of the South-East London Green Chain within the Borough of Bexley. (Source: Annierak, 2022)


For further information see the government PDF here.

For information on the future plans for the Green Chain see here.

Special Issue on sustainable food planning released

Image: South-East London Green Chain on map. (Source: Crown copyright and database 2022)


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* circular cities* landscape* urban agriculture* urban designLondon

Jasmine Cook • 2nd March 2017

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