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Belfast Healthy Cities

Our vision is to be a leader in creating
a healthy, equitable and sustainable city

Healthy Cities 21st Century

Greening for Health in Belfast

The importance of green space for health and well-being was the centre of discussion at an expert led seminar hosted by Belfast Healthy Cities. Greening for Health in Belfast heard from Mark Whittaker, a senior planner from Belfast City Council, and Denise Cahill from Cork Healthy Cities, as well as Aranvir Singh Gawera, Programme Officer, Belfast Healthy Cities, who set out what the Greening the City programme aims to deliver for Belfast.

Greening the City is a key programme for Belfast Healthy Cities during Phase VII (2020-2025) of the WHO European Healthy Cities Network to support the themes of People, Place, Planet, Prosperity, Participation and Peace. The overall goal of the programme is to create mutually beneficial relationships between citizens and the urban environment for improved physical and mental wellbeing.

Chaired by Carol Ramsey, the seminar had more than 70 participants who were able to share views, ideas and deliver questions to the panel, and hear about the steps that can be taken at a local level to improve green space.

In recent months Belfast Healthy Cities has undertaken a scoping exercise to support the development and delivery of the greening the city programme. This has involved a review of documents related to the greening the city programme, and discussions with a range of stakeholders in Belfast, and this work will now help them develop an action plan to support the delivery of the programme. This work helped set the context for the Greening for Health in Belfast seminar, and the seminar will add value to the development of the new action plan.

Speaking after the seminar, Anne McCusker from Belfast Healthy Cities said “Green space within urban areas plays an important environmental and health role for our citizens. We saw from the periods of lockdown that there was an increase in people using green and open space in their local areas, and this increase in walking, running and cycling helped both physical and mental health.

“We want to see Belfast build upon the benefits this increased activity brought. This seminar looked a practical examples of projects that have worked really well in Cork, and also how Belfast is preparing to support increased green space from a planning perspective.

“We are looking forward to delivering more events in the Greening the City programme over the coming months, and we are particularly excited to see how local groups begin to make real change in their communities.”

Watch the Greening for Health Webinar

Read the Greening for Health Report