When people drown in floods, the perils of badly planned landscape are all too apparent. But everyday it is likely that lives are cut short because of diseases exacerbated by pollution or a poor quality environment. We still struggle to tot up the true cost of the unhealthy landscapes that bedevil our urban environments, or to measure the benefit that improved landscapes might bring to healthier living.
Public health is now the responsibility of local authorities in England. Increased challenges and opportunities from growing populations and traffic needs, along with rapidly shifting social and technological trends, add pressure to create landscapes that better support health and liveability. The projects we plan and execute today need to solve problems now but also create and improve a more liveable ecology for tomorrow. We show some examples of forward thinking here, and there are many more – but greater investment, and earlier stage thinking, is called for.
The Landscape Institute report ‘Public Health and Landscape: creating healthy places’ gives more detail on how greener cities mean healthier and happier people.