Assessing urban green space in Sweden

Increased public access to green space in urban areas is stated among the national, environmental objectives in Sweden and policies for densification of cities versus preservation of green areas are currently under debate in many Swedish municipalities. Greenery is a key element of a sustainable urban environment. Green areas are important from an ecological as well as cultural and public health perspective. As urbanization puts demands for a more dense urban fabric, data on green spaces and peoples access to it becomes increasingly important. In addition, the inversion of green space mapping shows urban soil sealing. Information on the imperviousness of the urban environment is increasingly important from a climate change adaption perspective.


Statistics Sweden releases statistics on urban green space every fifth year. In 2005, the statistics for the first time was based on interpretation of satellite imagery combined with register data on population and real estates. During 2013, Statistics Sweden carried out a pilot project together with a remote sensing consultant aiming to improve the methods for urban green space statistics. The procedure encompasses methods for sub-pixel classification and post-processing of land cover data to categorize the green areas by ownership and vegetation qualities.


The latest update was published in May 2015. Statistics can be found here.

A poster illustrating the method with more maps and figures can be found here.

Contact: Jerker MOSTRÖM at Statistics Sweden