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Biodiversity and Human Health: What Role for Nature in Healthy Urban Planning?

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It is well known that nature is good for human health and well-being. However, there is little understanding or articulation of this link among built environment professionals. The purpose of the paper is to explore the literature for evidence of the health benefits of urban nature and biodiversity. The key question is whether there is an added health value to urban biodiversity policies. If there is, what can planners and other built environment professionals learn about the role of nature in healthy urban planning? The paper has three parts: the first discusses health and its determinants before examining policy on health and biodiversity in the urban setting. The second looks at the literature on nature and health. Attention is given here to the ecological services provided by nature as well as the benefits that derive from human interaction with nature. The final section sets out some initial thoughts about the implications of the paper's findings for urban planners and built environment professionals. The paper demonstrates that there are clear, documented, links between human health and nature, particularly in the urban setting. Together the results suggest that planners and built environment professionals could have a profound impact on community well-being by promoting urban nature and urban biodiversity in all new development.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 1, 2005

More about this publication?
  • Built Environment is published quarterly in March, June, September and December. With an emphasis on crossing disciplinary boundaries and providing global perspective, each issue focuses on a single subject of contemporary interest to practitioners, academics and students working in a wide range of disciplines. Issues are guest-edited by established international experts who not only commission contributions, but also oversee the peer-reviewing process in collaboration with the Editors.

    Subject areas include: architecture; conservation; economic development; environmental planning; health; housing; regeneration; social issues; spatial planning; sustainability; urban design; and transport. All issues include reviews of recent publications.

    The journal is abstracted in Geo Abstracts, Sage Urban Studies Abstracts, and Journal of Planning Literature, and is indexed in the Avery Index to Architectural Publications.

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