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Making green infrastructure healthier infrastructure

, : Making green infrastructure healthier infrastructure. Infection Ecology & Epidemiology 5: 30082-30082

Increasing urban green and blue structure is often pointed out to be critical for sustainable development and climate change adaptation, which has led to the rapid expansion of greening activities in cities throughout the world. This process is likely to have a direct impact on the citizens' quality of life and public health. However, alongside numerous benefits, green and blue infrastructure also has the potential to create unexpected, undesirable, side-effects for health. This paper considers several potential harmful public health effects that might result from increased urban biodiversity, urban bodies of water, and urban tree cover projects. It does so with the intent of improving awareness and motivating preventive measures when designing and initiating such projects. Although biodiversity has been found to be associated with physiological benefits for humans in several studies, efforts to increase the biodiversity of urban environments may also promote the introduction and survival of vector or host organisms for infectious pathogens with resulting spread of a variety of diseases. In addition, more green connectivity in urban areas may potentiate the role of rats and ticks in the spread of infectious diseases. Bodies of water and wetlands play a crucial role in the urban climate adaptation and mitigation process. However, they also provide habitats for mosquitoes and toxic algal blooms. Finally, increasing urban green space may also adversely affect citizens allergic to pollen. Increased awareness of the potential hazards of urban green and blue infrastructure should not be a reason to stop or scale back projects. Instead, incorporating public health awareness and interventions into urban planning at the earliest stages can help insure that green and blue infrastructure achieves full potential for health promotion.


PMID: 26615823

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