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Belfast Healthy Cities

Our vision is that Belfast is recognised globally
as a healthy, equitable and sustainable city

Healthy Cities 21st Century

Greening the City

Greening the City

The planet is changing in ways that are unprecedented in human history, and which directly threaten human health. Protecting the planet is one of the world’s greatest challenges and the current Covid-19 experience is one of today’s many global health challenges and comes on top of an even greater climate and environmental crisis. The coronavirus as well as other infectious diseases, malnutrition and noncommunicable diseases are linked to the decline of biodiversity (the sheer variety of life found on Earth) and ecosystems (a geographic area where plants, animals, and other organisms, as well as weather and landscape, work together to form a bubble of life), that arise from mismanagement of the natural world.

Destruction of natural habitats and climate change both drive wildlife closer to people that harbour many pathogens including the Ebola virus and Lyme disease. Seventy-five per cent of all emerging infectious diseases come from wildlife, and more deadly pathogens exist in nature. If even more troubling threats are to be averted in the future, things need to change and profoundly. The World Health Organization has warned that this will not be the last or the worst pandemic. Catastrophic levels of global warming await unless countries quintuple their carbon-cutting ambitions.

Urban heat islands are created in places that have lots of activity and lots of people. They can have worse air and water quality because more pollutants are being pumped into the air. These pollutants are blocked from scattering and becoming less toxic by the urban landscape, buildings, roads, sidewalks, and parking spaces. Using green roofs, helps cool things down. An increased number of street trees in deprived areas will absorb carbon and improve the mental well-being of people resident in these areas.

The closure of leisure facilities, bars, restaurants, cafes and the need to self-isolate at home and socially distance as part of the response to Covid-19 pandemic has provided a stark reminder of the importance of urban green and blue spaces, including parks, pocket parks, greenways, beaches, rivers and canals for population health and wellbeing. Green and blue space is an integral part of the infrastructure of Belfast and opportunities now exist to consider how smaller green spaces can be integrated across the city. Planning has a key role to play in protecting and promoting health and well-being, making urban planners part of the public health community.




Evidence at a Glance           Evidence Paper                Stakeholder Discussions       



Additional Links - East Belfast Health Map

Additional Links - West Belfast Health Map