Julia Baker

WSP - Parsons Brinckerhoff

The theory and design of Green Infrastructure (GI) continues to develop and improve.  However, the ecosystem services and associated health and wellbeing outcomes of GI are little understood and rarely quantified.  This especially regards development within urban localities where GI can generate significant benefits for the health and wellbeing of communities, and enhance the resilience of infrastructure to extreme weather events.  Consequently, GI is often undervalued within business decision-making, especially for national infrastructure, and seen as a ‘nice to have’ rather than being fundamental to sustainable development.

This research seeks to improve understanding of the ecosystem services and associated health and wellbeing outcomes of GI.  The intended outcomes are to help incentivise industry to integrate GI into the design of infrastructure development because of its social, economic and ecological benefits; and mainstream the role of GI in enhancing asset resilience to extreme weather events.  Case studies will include a recently-completed GI development in south London as part of a major rail improvement project, to improve understanding of its social and biodiversity impacts and, by doing so, draw out lessons learnt of national and international applicability.

The offer is for a partnership with industry and GI experts; enabling access to case-study information and collaboration for the research design and implementation.  For the case studies, the research would assess whether impacts of the GI were as predicted, and gain deeper understanding of its impacts on health and wellbeing.  Data collection could involve questionnaires, focus group discussions and key informant interviews to gather views on the social and biodiversity impacts of the GI; and collection of economic data to evaluate the financial benefits the GI generated for local communities and the locality.  Key informant interviews could also be undertaken across different business sectors (contacts will be provided).

This offer is to also for work-shadowing opportunities, and possibly business mentors, for the research team to fully understand decision-making within business.  There will also be opportunities for business – research collaboration throughout the research including, at start-up, joint ‘mapping’ of the intended end-users of the research findings.  The aim of the mapping will be to ensure the design of the research is tailored to end-user needs and produces valuable business-friendly outputs (without need for ‘translation’ of technical research findings) whilst being of high academic standard and credibility.

Research user (business)
Natural Sciences
Social Sciences
Research Area: 
Natural hazards & extreme weather events
Health and wellbeing