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Urban green spaces: a brief for action


Due to an increase in urbanisation, a greater number of people will be living in cities, namely around three quarters of the population by 2020. This also reduces the access to nature and increases the exposure to environmental hazards, like noise and air pollution. Due to the pressure of an expanding population in cities, a limited access to nature and the continued increase of impacts of climate change, the challenge of a healthy and sustainable living environment must be addressed and tackeled by city authorities and their population.

Thus green spaces and nature- or ecosystem based solutions do offer innovative solutions and approaches to increase the quality of life in urban environments and cities, to increase the local resilience to environmental and climate-related hazards, and to promote more sustainable lifestyles leading to an improved health and well-being of the population in cities. Thus central elements of these approaches are parks, gardens, playgrounds and vegetation in public and private spaces and places.

Urban green spaces help to ensure that, e.g.:

  • the city’s population has the opportunity to access nature;
  • the urban nature is maintained and protected;
  • the impacts of extreme weather events like heat stress, heavy precipitation or flooding are reduced;
  • the air- and noise pollutants are reduced, the quality of urban living is enhanced;
  • the health and wellbeing of the urban population is improved.

Reference information

World Health Organisation, Regional Office for Europe, 2017

World Health Organization - Regional Office for Europe

Published in Climate ADAPT Nov 28 2017   -   Last Modified in Climate ADAPT Feb 15 2021

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