Daily Bulletin


The Conversation

  • Written by Anne Cleary, Nature and Health PhD Candidate, Griffith University

Half of the world’s people now live in urban areas. This creates competition for resources and increases pressure on already limited green space.

Many urban areas are still experiencing active degradation or removal of green space. To reverse this trend and ensure the multiple benefits of green space are realised, we urgently need to move toward on-ground action.

However, there is no clear guidance on how to translate the evidence base on green space into action. There is limited information to guide green-space practitioners on how much is “green enough”, or on how to manage and maintain green space. There is also a lack of guidance on how to deliver the multiple benefits of green space with finite resources.

Why we need green spaces

A recent World Health Organisation (WHO) report aims to provide guidance on how to tackle the uncertainties of providing such spaces.

There is a substantial evidence base to show that green space is good for us. It is associated with many health benefits, both physical and mental – including reductions in illness and deaths, stress and obesity – and a range of positive social, environmental and equity outcomes.

Providing adequate green space within our urban areas is therefore paramount. We need to preserve, enhance and promote existing green spaces and create new spaces.

Various political frameworks underscore the need for these spaces in our cities. For example, the New Urban Agenda calls for an increase in safe, inclusive, accessible, green and quality public spaces. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development pledges to:

… provide universal access to safe, inclusive and accessible, green and public spaces, in particular, for women and children, older persons and persons with disabilities.

image Rapid growth in cities like Brisbane increases the pressure on existing urban green spaces. Author provided

Moving toward action

The WHO report carried out a systematic review of the published evidence on green-space interventions. The review found a variety of intervention types have strong evidence for delivering a range of health, social and environmental outcomes.

These intervention types range from smaller green spaces, such as street trees and community gardens, to larger, more interlinked spaces, such as parks and greenways. This signals the need to think beyond the traditional urban park when considering how to meet the demand for green space among growing urban populations.

Another finding of the review was that urban green-space interventions seem to be most effective when a physical improvement of the space is coupled with social engagement.

This highlights the importance of understanding the intervention’s target audience. Sufficient time and resources must be devoted to engaging with this audience. This should happen both during the design and implementation phases and when the intervention is completed – and promoted.

Learning from others

The WHO report compiled case studies of urban green-space interventions from across Europe, and documented the common lessons from these.

This unearthed a range of findings. For example, fostering multidisciplinary and cross-sectoral collaborations during planning, implementation and evaluation is a key factor in creating a successful green space.

Another key finding was the importance of understanding that urban green-space interventions are long-term investments. They therefore need to be integrated within local development strategies and frameworks – such as urban masterplans, transport policies and sustainability and biodiversity strategies.

An example of an urban green-space intervention that showcases good practice, and which features as a case study in the WHO report, is the Connswater Community Greenway in Northern Ireland. This project adopted a bottom-up approach and emphasised community engagement. A full-time community support officer was employed.

image Social engagement is an integral part of the Connswater Community Greenway intervention. Connswater Community Greenway

Having public engagement embedded from the start ensured the local community’s needs were well understood. The intervention’s design was responding to these identified needs.

Coupling this local understanding with the latest thinking on good practice led to an evidence-based design that was fit-for-purpose in the local context.

The project was also understood to be a long-term investment. A 40-year management and maintenance plan for the greenway was developed from the outset.

The WHO report represents an important step forward. As worrying trends in mental ill-health, obesity, social isolation, health inequalities and environmental degradation grow globally, there is a pressing need to implement equitable solutions – and green space has a key role to play in this.

Urban green-space interventions can deliver health, social and environmental benefits for all population groups – particularly among lower socioeconomic status groups. There are very few – if any – other public health interventions that can achieve all of this.

Authors: Anne Cleary, Nature and Health PhD Candidate, Griffith University

Read more http://theconversation.com/green-space-how-much-is-enough-and-whats-the-best-way-to-deliver-it-77393

Writers Wanted

Racing 2-year-old horses is lucrative, but is it worth the risks?

arrow_forward

How to Sanitize Cloth Masks Properly

arrow_forward

The Conversation
INTERWEBS DIGITAL AGENCY

Politics

Ray Hadley's interview with Scott Morrison

RAY HADLEY: Prime Minister, good morning.    PRIME MINISTER: G’day Ray.   HADLEY: I was just referring to this story from the Courier Mail, which you’ve probably caught up with today about t...

Ray Hadley & Scott Morrison - avatar Ray Hadley & Scott Morrison

Prime Minister's Remarks to Joint Party Room

PRIME MINISTER: Well, it is great to be back in the party room, the joint party room. It’s great to have everybody back here. It’s great to officially welcome Garth who joins us. Welcome, Garth...

Scott Morrison - avatar Scott Morrison

Prime Minister Interview with Ben Fordham, 2GB

BEN FORDHAM: Scott Morrison, good morning to you.    PRIME MINISTER: Good morning, Ben. How are you?    FORDHAM: Good. How many days have you got to go?   PRIME MINISTER: I've got another we...

Scott Morrison - avatar Scott Morrison

Business News

Tips to find the best plastic manufacturing supplier for your needs

Plastics are very much an important part of all of our lives, but they’re particularly valuable to a wide variety of industries that rely on their production for their operations. The industries, ...

News Co - avatar News Co

7 foolproof tips for bidding successfully at a property auction

Auctions can be beneficial for prospective buyers, as they are transparent and fair. If you reach the limit you are willing to pay, you can simply walk away. Another benefit of an auction is tha...

Dominique Grubisa - avatar Dominique Grubisa

Getting Ready to Code? These Popular and Easy Programming Languages Can Get You Started

According to HOLP (History Encyclopedia of Programing Languages), there are more than 8,000 programming languages, some dating as far back as the 18th century. Although there might be as many pr...

News Co - avatar News Co



News Co Media Group

Content & Technology Connecting Global Audiences

More Information - Less Opinion