A green belt
is an area of land
, essentially rural
, located near an urban
center, and protected by strong restrictions against building. It seeks to preserve and protect small towns and their unique character, by preventing their merging into bigger towns. It also helps to keep a healthy environment
for inhabitants and may provide gardening
The United Kingdom has fourteen green belt areas, totalling 4.5 million hectares, or 35% of the nation's area.  The first was the Green Belt around London.
A similar concept is the greenway which has a linear character and may run through the urban area instead of around it.