Relationship between Green Infrastructure, Nature-based Solutions, Social and Health Inequality in European cities.

Authors: Clair Cooper*, Durham University
Topics: Geography and Urban Health, Urban Geography, Quantitative Methods
Keywords: Nature-based solutions, green infrastructure, health inequality, environmental justice
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/9/2021
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:15 AM
Room: Virtual 6
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Within the discourse surrounding sustainable and climate resilient futures, the transdisciplinary framework ‘Nature-based solutions’ (NBS) is increasingly receiving recognition for its potential to co-create ecosystems services that could not only address sustainable development challenges such as climate change, but also influence the complex relationship disparities in health, social equity and climate injustice that exists in cities. The concept aims to provide an overarching framework to strengthen and reinforce relationships with other concepts such as green infrastructure (GI), blue-green infrastructure and ecosystems services. However, criticism of the ambiguous relationship between these concepts has led to further questions about how the framework relates to other complex concepts such as health inequity and urban deprivation.

In this paper we unpack the nuance relationships between these concepts drawing on a Multiple Factor Analysis of NBS that relate to the implementation of green infrastructure projects categorised as ‘green areas for water management’ and ‘urban green space connected to grey infrastructure’ by the EC Horizon 2020 Naturvation project. The paper examines how the main characteristics of these projects (i.e. mode of governance, key actors involved etc) relate to factors that influence social and health inequality in cities. The findings suggest the pattern of clustering of the cases is primarily being driven by a solution orientated approach to marketize and regenerate post-industrial or post-socialist cities. Factors that could influence the upstream social determinants of health and associated health effects of climate change are largely unrelated leading to issues of distribution and procedural injustice.

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