Unsplash, Jurriaan Snikkers

NORDGREEN Publications

Finalised reports, scientific articles and shorter summaries are available here as soon as they are published.

Cover of handbook

Green and healthy Nordic cities: How to plan, design, and manage health-promoting urban green space

This handbook is the culmination of the NORDGREEN project. It uses an innovative framework based on the multi-disciplinary approach of the project, using epidemiological studies, environmental psychology, policy and management, and citizen participation.

These fields of study and their respective methodologies are divided into the four so-called NORD components—NUMBERING, OBSERVING, REGULATING, and DESIGNING—which, accompanied by a BACKGROUND section reviewing the evidence linking green space and human health, form the bulk of the handbook.

Based on the research and lessons learned from the six case study cities, the handbook provides practitioners with a TOOLBOX of adaptable methods, models, and guidelines for delivering health-promoting green spaces to consider in their own contexts.

By reading this handbook, planners and policymakers can expect to gain (1) a background on the evidence linking green spaces and health, practical tools for planning, designing, and managing green spaces, (2) tips from researchers regarding the challenges of using various methods, models, and guidelines for delivering health-promoting green space, and (3) inspiration on some success stories emerging from the Nordic Region in this area of study. 

Descriptions of the relationship between human health and green infrastructure in six Nordic comprehensive plans

The link between green infrastructure (GI) and human health and well-being (HH&W) is well-established. While land use planning is fundamental for delivering increased and equitable HH&W outcomes, whether and to what extent this is implemented in planning practice is largely unknown.

This study performed a content analysis of six Nordic comprehensive plans regarding terms, connections, and goals used to describe the GI-HH&W relationship in order to identify the conditions set for developing health-promoting GI in strategic planning interventions

Scientific article, March 2024

Read the article here

Predicting context-sensitive urban green space quality to support urban green infrastructure planning

Urban green spaces (UGSs) support human health and well-being in diverse ways. In addition to their availability and accessibility, also the quality of UGSs is relevant for understanding human-environment interactions between urban populations and their local UGS. However, data on UGS quality are rarely available with the geographic coverage required for spatial decision making and urban green infrastructure (UGI) planning and management.

This study uses data from a large-scale public participation GIS (PPGIS) survey to predict perceived UGS quality across the city of Espoo, Finland. 

Scientific article, February 2024

Read the article here

Health-Promoting Nature-Based Paradigms in Urban Planning

This entry describes three overarching paradigm shifts in urban planning, from the end of the 18th century to today, and the focus is on the major paradigm shift that is underway: how green areas can mitigate climate effects, increase biodiversity and at the same time support people’s health and living conditions in a smart city.

Scientific article, October 2023

Read the article here

Prioritizing participatory planning solutions: Developing place-based priority categories based on public participation GIS data

Prioritization of knowledge produced in participatory planning as been approached mainly from the perspective
of whose perspectives are most in need of consideration. We ask, whether it is also possible to consider which
locations, based on the knowledge from participants, should be prioritized. We developed a place-based approach
to inform spatial decision making especially when the prioritization of limited resources is necessary.

Scientific article, April 2023

Read the article here

Relationships between socio-demographic / socio-economic characteristics and neighborhood green space in four Nordic municipalities – results from NORDGREEN

Urban green space governs important ecosystem services including providing health promoting facilities. However, unequal distribution of green space among socio-demographic and socio-economic groups may create environmental injustice among inhabitants and between neighborhoods. This paper reports on access to different types of green space for residents in four Nordic cities.

Scientific article, April 2023

Read the article here

Examining activity-friendly neighborhoods in the Norwegian context: green space and walkability in relation to physical activity and the moderating role of perceived safety

Despite the well-known health benefits of regular physical activity, inactivity remains a major public health concern. Understanding how the built environment can encourage physical activity is therefore important to inform current policy strategies for creating activity-friendly neighborhoods. This study aimed to examine whether neighborhood walkability and greenness were associated with physical activity, and if perceived safety moderated any such relations, among adult citizens in Norway.

Scientific article, February 2023

Read the article here

Similar spaces, different usage : A comparative study on how residents in the capitals of Finland and Denmark use cemeteries as recreational landscapes

Several studies from the Nordic countries show that cemeteries not only fulfil an important societal function as
places for the disposal of bodily remains; they are also recreational landscapes that people visit to reflect,
experience nature or perhaps go for a walk with the dog. In this comparative study, based on PPGIS data collected between 2018 and 2020 from residents in Copenhagen (Denmark) and Helsinki (Finland), we explored the extent to which residents use urban cemeteries as everyday recreational landscapes.

Scientific article, May 2022

Read the article here

Analysis of pandemic outdoor recreation and green infrastructure in Nordic cities to enhance urban resilience

Recent empirical research has confirmed the importance of green infrastructure and outdoor recreation to urban people’s well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic. This study collected map-based survey data from residents in spring 2020 and spatially analyse green infrastructure near mapped outdoor recreation sites and respondents’ places of residence. The results highlight that for pandemic resilience, the history of Nordic spatial planning is important. To support well-being in exceptional situations as well as in the long term, green infrastructure planning should prioritise nature wedges in and close to cities and support small-scale green infrastructure.

Scientific article, October 2022

Read the article here

Citizen engagement - Using PPGIS surveys as a planning tool

Working paper 2, October 2022

Read the working paper here

Access to green space, socio-demography, and health in six Nordic municipalities participating in the NORDGREEN project

Working paper 1, March 2022

Read the working paper here

The Oxytocinergic System as a Mediator of Anti-stress and Instorative Effects Induced by Nature: The Calm and Connection Theory

Scientific article at Frontiers in Psychology, 5 July 2021

Read the article here

Delineating the geographic context of physical activities: A systematic search and scoping review of the methodological approaches used in social ecological research over two decades

Scientific article at Elsevier, Health & Place 73 2022

Read the article here

Smart and Green Cities - how do we get there

Nordregio Magazine 4 2021

The articles of the newest issue of Nordregio Magazine discuss how the participation of citizens can improve cities, how smart planning can improve the health of the residents and what are the sounds of a green city! This issue of Nordregio Magazine focuses on the work of NORDGREEN and SMARTer Greener Cities projects. Read the issue here

Park with trees and water

Scientific Article

The role of the state in preserving urban green infrastructure - National Urban Parks in Finland and Sweden

Research article, Published on 10 Aug 2021 in the Journal of Environmental Planning and Management.
Photo: Unsplash, Becky Phan. The article is available here.

Smart Planning for Healthy and Green Nordic Cities

Conceptual Overview, October 2020

Read here

NORDGREEN brochure

NORDGREEN brochure was published in October 2020. It is available here.