Improving Wellbeing through Urban Nature


Tuesday, February 21st, 2017

Seminar: How much green space is enough? Good Enough vs Best Practice

Date: Tue 7th March 2017

How much green space is enough? Good Enough vs Best Practice

Catharine Ward Thompson, Professor of Landscape Architecture, University of Edinburgh

Policy-makers’ renewed interest in environmental design reflect its potential to help address current health crises that are issues not just for the developed and westernised world but, increasingly, for countries across the globe: cardio-vascular disease, rising levels of obesity, Type 2 diabetes, mental illness, etc.. In addition, there are concerns about growing inequalities in health and wellbeing within, as well as between, countries. In this context, my presentation explores what kinds of approaches are needed if environmental design as health-enhancing (salutogenic) and reducing of health inequalities (equigenic) is to be taken seriously by public health policy-makers and, further, is to inform planners’ and designers’ practice. It considers the particular challenges involved in longitudinal studies to research design interventions, and the opportunities that natural experiments offer. The paper draws on research examples from my own centre, OPENspace, that consider all ages and life stages. It also shows examples of ways in which such research can feed into policy and practice, from World Health Organisation initiatives to Scottish Government and National Health Service engagement with local communities.

Download slides HERE