Environmental Protection Agency launches Green Infrastructure report and guidelines
The EPA has launched 2 publications from the APEP Eco-Plan team (Prof Mark Scott, Dr Mick Lennon, Dr Karen Foley and Dr Marcus Collier) following an 18 month research project investigating the potential for integrating an ecosystem approach into spatial planning. This project is the precurser to Eco-Health. The first publication is the full technical report, ‘Integrating Ecosystem Approaches, Green Infrastructure and Spatial Planning’, which examines the ecosystem services concept and how it relates to spatial planning through green infrastructure planning and enhancing, restoring, and creating ecological assets to address climate change adaptation, flood risk management and to maximize biodiversity gains through the planning system. The second publication, Green Infrastructure: A ‘How To’ Guide for Disseminating and Integrating the Concept into Spatial Planning Practice, provides guidelines for local authorities for applying a novel, interactive planning methodology to enhance green infrastructure provision within local spatial plans. The reports can be downloaded here.
UCD Eco-Health team member Dr Owen Douglas accepted the award for best poster at Well-Being 2016: The third international conference exploring the multi-dimensions of well-being (5th-6th September 2016, Birmingham City University) . The award was based on a vote by the conference delegates who were drawn from wide-ranging disciplines. Dr Douglas has written a blog post titled 'Well-being 2016: Green space reflections' based on the conference, which can be found here.
Eco-Health team members convene workshop on greenspace justice & health and well-being at RGS-IBG Annual International Conference 2016
Two researchers from the UCD Eco-Health team, Dr Mick Lennon and Prof Mark Scott, convened a workshop on greenspace justice and health and well-being at the recent Royal Geographical Society Conference in London (Sept. 2016).
The session was sponsored by the Geographies of Health and Wellbeing Research Group of the RGS/IBG, and attracted contributions from the UK, North America and New Zealand.
The key departure point for the workshop was to explore how greenspace issues could be framed from a justice perspective. While there is a longstanding recognition of the negative impacts on health of environmental ‘bads’ such as the geographies of pollution exposure, there is a growing focus on the potential positive influence on health of environmental ‘goods’, such as access to ‘nature’/biodiversity through more equitable distribution and access to high quality urban greenspace. Nevertheless, a number of knowledge gaps remain concerning the multidimensional relationships between greenspace and health and wellbeing. Firstly, the existence of greenspace in a locality does not always equate with a health-promoting environment. For example, within an urban context, perceptions of vandalism, safety concerns and poor design may undermine the use of greenspaces. Secondly, the potential of health-promoting environments may be undermined by the distribution of environmental goods across space and variable access by socio-economic status, gender, age and cultural background. For example, more affluent neighbourhoods tend to be well served by parks, tree lined streets and access to environmental amenities (such as coastlines, riverside locations etc.). This suggests the need to consider issues of social equity and health from an environmental justice standpoint.
The contributions to the workshop were notable for the very diverse research methods used to explore health and well-being, from large longitudinal social surveys, mobile interviews, interactive computer modeling and mapping to capture young and older people’s experiences of nature and more traditional qualitative interviews. A particular theme was the variation of experiences across the lifecourse, while the design, management and governance of greenspace and nature was also widely addressed.