Green Infrastructure Work
About green spaces and green infrastructure
Green spaces include features like parks, allotments, woodlands, gardens, heaths, meadows, fields, city farms, hedgerows and embankments. These link together with ‘blue spaces' (lakes, streams, canals etc) to provide a valuable natural infrastructure which supports people and wildlife alike.
‘Green infrastructure' (GI) provides a huge array of natural ‘services' - from drainage, shade and food cultivation to spaces for recreation, exercise and walking and cycling routes. A mounting body of evidence suggests that contact with greenery and nature is fundamental to human wellbeing, adds to the value of an area and has a positive effect on crime and anti-social behaviour. Sustainable communities require green spaces that promote community wellbeing (including through access to nature), inclusion and self-sufficiency (eg in food, energy and skills). GI has an increasing role in improving our resilience to climate change impacts.
Green infrastructure is an essential part of
our cities, towns and villages and has huge potential to support solutions to big current sustainability issues like climate change (eg by supporting low carbon travel, flood prevention and local food production) and obesity (eg by increasing opportunities for recreation and encouraging of healthy lifestyles). GI is key to the overall sustainability challenge of regenerating our neighbourhoods so that everyone has a decent place to live, whilst also supporting everyone to make the shift to ‘one planet', low carbon lifestyles.
As Sustainability South West (now SustNav) we produced a Briefing Note exploring the links between ‘green infrastructure' and sustainability in more detail. You can download it below:
'Growing the Evidence' Symposium and Event Report
On the 16th October 2012 SustNav, in association with NHS South of England and Greenspace South West, hosted a health and green space research symposium at Somerset County Cricket Ground, Taunton.
The symposium showcased some of the latest evidence linking access to the natural environment and community wellbeing. It was an opportunity for health, green space and planning leads to come together to explore the potential of a more joined up approach, particularly given new public health responsibilities for local authorities.
You can download the Event Report below - it includes the symposium programme, speakers' presentation slides and the research posters that were featured on the day:
You can also download the speakers' presentations in Powerpoint format:
Dr. Jo Barton (University of Essex): How does greenspace contribute to healthy, thriving communities? What are the opportunities of new public health delivery structures?
Zoe Goss (Stepping Stones to Nature, Plymouth City Council): Access to nature and public health - the evidence from Plymouth
Dr Melvyn Hillsdon (University of Exeter): Levels and locations of greenspace physical activity in adults (this evidence was first revealed at the Symposium)