Re-naturing the City for Health and Wellbeing: Green/Blue Urban Spaces as Sites of Renewal and Contestation

  • Mary GeareyEmail author
  • Lynette Robertson
  • Jamie Anderson
  • Paula Barros
  • Deborah Cracknell
Part of the Cities and Nature book series (CITIES)


Widening citizen access to green/blue spaces is of critical importance to public health and for the socio-political sustainability of future cities. Using examples of empirical research from the global north, the UK, and the global south, Brazil, this chapter considers how ‘re-naturing the city’ approaches address these nested concerns. Focusing on four types of green/blue infrastructure: urban wetlands, landscaped urban squares, public aquariums and green wedges, we explore the beneficial and adverse impacts which these environments can have on human health and wellbeing, and discuss implications for social and environmental justice within widely differing global contexts. We find considerable overlap between the two countries in the potential of green/blue infrastructure to promote health and wellbeing and to support social justice considerations. However, in the case of Brazil we consider the potential negative consequences of human–nature connectivity, using virus transmissions by infected mosquitoes as representative of the challenges of green/blue infrastructure expansion.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mary Gearey
    • 1
    Email author
  • Lynette Robertson
    • 2
  • Jamie Anderson
    • 3
  • Paula Barros
    • 4
  • Deborah Cracknell
    • 5
  1. 1.School of Environment and TechnologyUniversity of BrightonBrightonUK
  2. 2.Mackintosh School of Architecture, Glasgow School of ArtGlasgowUK
  3. 3.Urban Institute, School of Environment, Education and DevelopmentUniversity of ManchesterManchesterUK
  4. 4.Department of Projects, School of ArchitectureUFMG (Federal University of Minas Gerais)Belo HorizonteBrazil
  5. 5.School of PsychologyUniversity of Plymouth, European Centre for Environment and Human Health and University of Exeter Medical SchoolPlymouthUK

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