London mayor Boris Johnson is to set up a fund to improve the design of public spaces as part of a new “great spaces initiative”

Sir Simon Milton, Johnson’s adviser for planning, said the money would pay for landscape architects and other services that would improve designs for public spaces around new developments.

The move follows Johnson’s decision soon after he took over the job to cancel Ken Livingstone’s programme to build 100 squares in the capital. Milton said this was because the scheme had only resulted in improvements to five squares. He said: “It wasn’t going anywhere. It was all hot air. What we’ll be doing … will be far more meaningful.”

He said the programme would be administered by Design for London, the mayor’s design body, and would include an endorsement scheme to define what constituted a well-designed public space. He said: “It’s not about physical works, but getting designs to a better level.”

Milton said the amount of money that would be put in the pot would be announced in “the next couple of months”.