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Along with the development of society, people have the better life because of the urbanisation and technology improvement. However, healthy problems still exist in our lives and better urban design is one of the methods to solve healthy problems. In this blog, author focus on how open space impact outdoor activities, neighbourhood relationship and people health. Additionally, some of the examples cause us to think deeply about the relationship between urban design and human health.

Lecture with Tim Townshend

The lecture of Urban Design, Health and well-being that given by Tim Townshend described what factors influence our health and how urban design contributes to the health improvement. Firstly, there are a huge number of cities are developed well but still have somewhat healthy problems, such as Air quality, Water quality, Other pollution like noise, light etc.(Figure 1) On the other hands, Socio-environmental also has issues like Detachment from nature, Fear of crime, Overcrowding and Lack of privacy (Figure 2).


(Figure1: Environmental Stock Photos and Images)

(Figure2:Romantic English coastal escapes)

The green urban environment is one of the important parts in this lecture, Tim Townshend showed the positive parts of the open space which gives people a place to have some physical activities and People who live in greener neighbourhoods live longer, healthier lives (Figure 3). Green space is not the just park but the street tree or green belt in the city. Undoubtedly, green space never been denied because of the numerous benefits we get from nature, Improved air quality, increased physical activity, Improved Social cohesion and Stress reduction. Tim Townshend gave an example of older persons in China. According to the rapid development of China, lots of green spaces and infrastructures have been built and older people mass in the parks for doing physical activities. That is the healthy lifestyle for old people and it is very popular in China (Figure 4).


(Figure 3 Outdoor activities)

(Figure 4 Chinese old person outdoor activities)

The impact of green space and health

Nowadays, all over the world get involved in urbanism rapidly. The intensive populations living in city lack of the green space and that will cause the healthy problems. The most obvious one is the air pollution, According to a research from the Transportation and Sustainability Committee, there are approximately 1.5 billion vehicles running on the road currently. In 2030, it will shoot up at 2.6 billion of vehicles in the whole word (figure 5). Increasing vehicle ownership translates into increasing oil use and it directly makes the climate change and air pollution. Air pollution over Hong Kong, China. The city’s roads are among the most crowded in the world, with approximately 280 vehicles per road kilometre. Diesel commercial vehicles produce 90 percent of particulate matter and 80 percent of nitrogen oxide emissions from the road sector. The dense population, factories, power stations, and construction also contribute. (Sperling, D and Gordon, D 2008)


(figure 5 The growing trend of vehicles)

For dealing with this problems, green space has played a very important role and generating Oxygen instead of Carbon Dioxide. Additionally, people getting into green space can eventually release their stress (Figure 6). There is a huge number of evidences prove that the physical and mental health benefits from green spaces. Research shows that access to green space is associated with better health outcomes. Green space can improve the environmental quality of an area with consequential health benefits. Some of the environmental benefits of green spaces include improved air and water quality, noise absorption and reduced ‘urban heat island’ effects (UCL Institute of Health Equity, 2014).

(Figure 6 Releave the stress)

In conclusion, nowadays, the demand for green space has become a mainstream trend in urban design. People gain benefits from green space and it obviously is one of the standards for the high-grade dwelling. There are some economics impact also related to green space, In terms of direct financial impacts, case studies from around the UK suggest that proximity to green space is positively linked to both commercial and residential property prices, with properties overlooking a park being valued around 5-7% higher than equivalent properties elsewhere (Scott, C 2014). In the urban design process, arranging green space reasonably is one of the things, which designers should to take it into consideration.


Sperling, D. and Gordon, D. (2008). [online] Available at: [Accessed 22 Jan. 2017].

Anon, (2014). UCL Institute of Health Equity. [online] Available at: [Accessed 22 Jan. 2017].

Scott, C. (2014). A BRIEF GUIDE TO THE BENEFITS OF URBAN GREEN SPACE. 1st ed. [ebook] Leeds. Available at: content/uploads/2015/10/LEAF_benefits_of_urban_green_space_2015_upd.pdf [Accessed 22 Jan. 2017].

Image Sources:

Figure 1 : Environmental Stock Photos and Images Taken from

Figure 2 :Romantic English coastal escapes, Taken from

Figure 3 : Outdoor activities, Taken from Tim Townshend lecture

Figure 4 : Chinese old person outdoor activities, Taken from Tim Townshend lecture

Figure 5 : The growing trend of vehicles, Taken from

Figure 6 : Releave the stress, Taken from Tim Townshend lecture

School of Architecture
Planning and Landscape
Newcastle upon Tyne
Tyne and Wear, NE1 7RU

Tel: 0191 208 6509


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