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The value of ‘green infrastructure’ in urban landscapes is becoming increasingly recognised by health professionals, water managers, planners, policy makers and designers around the world. The rapid expansion of towns and cities contains the real risk of creating unliveable, unhealthy environments. The contention is that human habitats need to be healthy and friendly places that use and recycle resources wisely, are clean, safe and accessible, are protected as far as possible from extreme weather conditions, and where natural systems are not only recognised and valued for the critical functions and services they provide, but are assisted in delivering these services.

A great deal of research in many parts of the world has firmly established the many and diverse benefits of contact with nature and, inversely, the problems arising from lack of contact with nature. While a wealth of studies focus on human physical and mental health issues, much work has also been done in defining the importance of urban nature in improving temperatures and climatic conditions, water management, economic prosperity, biodiversity and habitat, urban food production and liveability and safety issues. This study includes a wide ranging literature review with emphasis on the most recent peer reviewed research from around the world. A compelling body of evidence suggests that Green Infrastructure is not only beneficial but essential in the design and development of healthy urban environments.

This evidence base is intended to bring together evidence supporting the concept of Green Infrastructure, to be used as a tool by policy makers, planners, designers and others who are interested in developing and promoting Green Infrastructure in urban environments.

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