Eco-Health: Ecosystem Benefits of Greenspace for Health

 

Four researchers, Mark Scott, Mick Lennon, Owen Douglas and Craig Bullock from the UCD School of Architecture, Planning & Environmental Policy have just had a research report published by the Environmental Protection Agency following a two year project co-funded by the EPA and HSE.  The project is titled Eco-Health.

This project advances the perspective that accessible and well-designed green spaces are essential infrastructure that is fundamental to the health and well-being of thriving and inclusive communities.

There is a scientific consensus that green space provides multiple benefits for enhancing health and well-being, and these benefits provided by green space are increasingly recognised in policy at international, national and local levels.

Enhancing green space provision, access and design:

Promotes physical activity through creating spaces for play, recreation, walking and cycling within a safe environment.

Enhances mental well-being through creating urban refuges (from busy streets, traffic, noise) and providing a restorative environment through increased contact with nature.

Enhances social interaction through providing opportunities for social contact, public places and community-building activities.

Reduces environmental risks from pollution by mitigating air pollution and noise pollution through urban greening.

Mitigates environmental risks from extreme weather through countering the urban heat island effect and acting as a “sponge” within the context of extreme rainfall or surface flooding. Both warmer and wetter weather are anticipated as impacts of climate change in Ireland; thus, future-proofing Irish urban areas against further risks is crucial.

You can read the full report here:

http://www.epa.ie/researchandeducation/research/researchpublications/researchreports/Research_Report_328.pdf