The GreenBalance project investigates the influences of urban biodiversity on human health as part of the BMBF funding measure "Junior Research Groups Climate, Environment and Health
What are the positive and negative health impacts of urban biodiversity? Can the health benefits be strengthened, for example, by optimising park designs? This is what the GreenBalance project is researching.
Green spaces are of central importance for cities: in addition to climate regulation and water retention, they provide a place for sporting activities, for social interaction, stress reduction and recreation. However, these spaces also pose potential health risks. Disease-carrying vectors such as ticks and mosquitoes, for example, find a habitat here, the additional pollen production can lead to increased allergy complaints, and physical injuries from accidents can also occur in urban green spaces.
The GreenBalance junior research group examines green spaces in the city and contrasts their positive and negative health effects. Both direct and indirect impact pathways are investigated, including the effects of green spaces on mental health. The positive and negative health effects of urban green spaces will ultimately be presented in a "GreenBalance" in order to realise an optimal balance between health promotion and biodiversity conservation in the design of urban green spaces.
The different uses and associated potential health impacts of urban green spaces are often in tension with biodiversity and sometimes with each other. For example, high biodiversity and naturalness are potentially beneficial for mental regeneration, but often conflict with sporting activities.
The project follows a "Planetary Health" approach, which includes a holistic and interdisciplinary view of the human-environment relationship. It analyses the interaction between human behaviour and physical parameters of environment and health. A special feature of the project is the small-scale focus, which allows to compare the health impacts of perceived biodiversity with measured biodiversity.
Dr. Timo Falkenberg
Centre for Development Research (ZEF)
University of Bonn
Phone: +49 228 73-4634