Green Infrastructure for Community Wellbeing

Welcome to the Newcastle Edition of the URBHeathS Programme

Green Infrastructure for Community Wellbeing (GIFC) is a training course for students and professionals interested in the development and maintenance of natural environments and their contribution to urban health, focussed on Newcastle and Gateshead. The course is part of a wider project named “Multidisciplinary expert panels improving URBan HEALTH trainingS for technicians and trainers” (URB HEALTHS). This project is funded by EIT Health, which is supported by the European Institute for Innovation and Technology (EIT), a body of the European Union. The project represents a partnership made up of universities and public and private sector organisations, which is built around three cities: Madrid, Spain; Coimbra, Portugal; and Newcastle, UK. The project entails the delivery of training courses in each city, with each tailored to the particular national and local context. Drawing on a Delphi survey with a range of experts, working groups (WGs) in each city are developing materials for the delivery of their course in the second half of 2020.

Newcastle’s WG comprises: Tim Townshend, Professor of Urban Design for Health at Newcastle University; Stephanie Wilkie, Associate Professor in Environmental Psychology at the University of Sunderland; Erin Robson, Senior Planner at ARUP; Clive Davies, Director of MD2 Consulting Ltd and Lecturer in Green Infrastructure and Landscape Planning at Newcastle University; and Dr Dominic Aitken, Research Associate in Environmental Gerontology at Newcastle University who will act as a facilitator. The GIFC course consists of four modules and a case study exercise, and will be delivered virtually in two live three-hour sessions.


Green infrastructure is a strategically planned network of natural and semi-natural areas, which include other environmental features designed and managed to deliver a wide range of ecosystem services. These include water purification, air quality, space for recreation and climate mitigation and adaptation. This network of green (land) and blue (water) spaces can improve environmental conditions and therefore citizens' health and quality of life. It also supports a green economy, creates job opportunities and enhances biodiversity. To maximise the benefits it provides, GI should be an essential component of spatial and physical planning.

Deploying GI in the rural landscape in a well-connected and multifunctional way by prioritising actions for conservation and restoration, enhancing landscape permeability and prioritising defragmentation measures to mitigate the impacts of agricultural intensification and road infrastructure on species movement. Data sets and tools are now available for use in individual European countries and regions as well as in EU-wide assessments.

Have a look at the summary video of all three URBHealthS courses from 2020