Willamette Partnership and Oregon Public Health Institute built the “Green Infrastructure and Health Guide” for the to help local government, communities, and health care organizations connect green infrastructure and public health in new ways.
Water utilities dealing with drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater have public health in their missions. In the mid-19th century, public sanitation improvements increased by bringing clean water to people’s homes and reducing communicable disease, such as cholera. Now, chronic conditions (such as heart disease, cancer, respiratory diseases, diabetes, and depression) are the in the United States, Canada, and other nations, and preventing them is the public health challenge of our time. Green infrastructure can be part of the solution, but improving public health is hard work. It means being intentional about engaging community, locating sites for green infrastructure, and selecting designs that improve physical activity, mental health, social cohesion, air quality, and other health factors.
The new guide includes information such as:
- a summary of evidence linking time in green spaces to improved health;
- a primer on key terms used in health care and green infrastructure;
- a method to identify community health needs relative to green infrastructure;
- community engagement as a health intervention;
- green infrastructure siting and design guidelines; and
- evaluation steps.