One of the largest new parks to be built in London outside the Olympic zone will also bring with it 808 new homes, allotments, a showpiece community centre, a café, a crèche and an IT suite.
Myatts Fields North, in Stockwell, will offer the impressive range of community facilities "hidden" beneath a grassed-over roof, as well as landscaped outdoor space.
London has more green space than most world cities. As well as eight Royal Parks, there are heaths and commons, 600 traditional garden squares, numerous public parks such as London Fields, plus well-kept community spaces tucked away in unlikely pockets of the inner city.
Being close to green space improves people's quality of life and is of great recreational use, particularly for families with young children. But living close to open space does not have to cost a fortune.
Increasingly, affordable homes are sprouting up alongside — even within — parks, often as part of wider regeneration prioritising the natural environment.
Modern-day planners are keen to promote the amenity value of parks and open spaces, which dovetails with the "sustainable development" agenda. Mayor Boris Johnson's "great outdoors" initiative is improving the quality of 80 London neighbourhoods, while the Royal Institute of British Architects sponsors a "forgotten spaces" competition for the imaginative re-use and adaptation of neglected plots, encouraging designers to work with local groups and residents wherever possible.
The Myatts Fields development is a private finance initiative now under way, a collaboration between Lambeth council, which owns the site, and a consortium of developers, with PRP Architects as the masterplanners. Maisonettes, flats and houses for rent, sale and shared ownership are being built, with the first phase due for completion next year. For more information visit regenter.com.
"Public parks are an extension of the home for many young people and families who cannot afford a property with a private garden," says Becky Munday of south-east London estate agent Wooster & Stock.
Where to buy
Burgess Park, a 113-acre expanse which runs between Peckham and Walworth, is one of the green spaces benefiting from mayoral investment, topped up by an additional £6 million from Southwark council.
The park has a number of listed buildings including a Victorian church, library and baths, almshouses and artisan cottages, and is being upgraded with a new lake, entrances, pathways and recreational areas plus 90,000 new plants and trees and a wildlife garden.
The area is a good hunting ground for cheaper homes close to central London. Homes surrounding the park are within the price range of first-time buyers. Two-bedroom flats at a development on St George's Way, overlooking the park, cost from £250,000. Call 020 7708 6700.
L&Q housing association is working with Southwark council to redevelop Aylesbury Estate, which borders the park. Albany Place, the first phase, comprises four new buildings with 261 homes on the western edge of the estate. One of the apartment blocks faces directly on to Burgess Park.
The plan is to demolish the entire 70-acre estate — 2,700 flats across 40 buildings — and replace it with a mixture of "human scale" private homes and social housing (4,200 properties). Half of the homes will be "affordable". For information on private-sale and shared-ownership flats, call 0844 406 9800 or visit lqgroup.org.uk.
Central Park, a new development bordering Blackheath and Greenwich, is another council estate transformation. The first phase of 328 homes in jazzy-looking apartment blocks lining a new urban park will be complete later this year.
The homes, including three-bedroom family houses, are being built to high energy-efficiency standards in order to reduce fuel bills and service charges. A district system will supply heat and hot water to all homes, while electricity generated from solar energy will power lifts and communal lighting. Prices start at £62,982 for a 35 per cent share. Visit centralparkliving.co.uk or call Family Mosaic housing association on 020 7089 3917.
Highbury Park, a Family Mosaic development in north London, is a step up in quality. Situated moments from leafy Highbury Fields, the homes are set in the mature landscaped grounds of Loxford House, which for 80 years was the headquarters of charity Action for Children. Re-landscaping is creating public recreational spaces and children's play zones.
"There's a misconception that shared ownership applies only to property at the lower end of the market," says the association's Lauren Nicholson. "Highbury Park shows our determination to broaden the range of aspirational housing available to people who cannot afford to buy outright."
Prices start at £91,000 for a 35 per cent share. Three-bedroom/three-bathroom flats with gardens are available too. Prices from £156,750 for a 35 per cent share (full price, £522,500).
Abbey Meadows, on the edge of Epping Forest, may suit buyers who want something in a more rural setting. This is a scheme of 38 shared-ownership houses (quite rare). Prices from £54,125 for a 25 per cent share. Call Genesis on 0808 118 2944.