Smart Planning for Healthy and Green Nordic Cities

Nordic cities have qualities to draw on when it comes to greenspace, social inclusion and public health. But they are also segregated, characterised by health-related divides and by differences in accessibility to urban amenities. Without careful consideration the health and well-being of city-dwellers can be negatively influenced in overly densified and congested cities, despite sustainability ambitions.

The aim of NORDGREEN is to support integrated planning efforts for urban sustainability by developing and implementing smart planning and management solutions for well-designed, high-quality greenspace that promote equity, health and wellbeing. The starting points are the connection of greenspace accessibility and public health effects, the social sustainability challenges of segregated and densifying cities, and the need for strengthened links between citizen participation and implemented plans.

NORDGREEN includes participatory co-production with cities and citizens - and pays attention to socio-economically vulnerable citizen groups. It uses both quantitative and qualitative methods and materials and involves six cities and towns from four Nordic countries –Aarhus (DK); Stavanger (NO), Vilhelmina (SE), Täby (SE), Espoo (FI) and Ii (FI). It involves sets of local and regional health and greenspace data, Public Participation Geographic Information Systems (PPGIS) applications and surveys, and analysis of ongoing planning and management.

By examining the health-greenspace nexus with the help of environmental psychology and epidemiology data, the knowledge base for public health strategies and policies on greenspace planning, management and design will be strengthened. By applying methods of PPGIS, the understanding and integration of citizens’ needs, demands and use of green space into the planning process will increase and the links between citizen participation and implemented plans will be strengthened.

Finally, studying and supporting greenspace planning in practice in the six cities will increase the understanding of how different approaches to planning and management influence the outcome, with particular focus on health, social sustainability and co-production. The research will result in co-created, scalable and transferable knowledge-based planning, and management tools for the six cities, as well as for other cities in the Nordic region and beyond.


Kyösti Lempa

Kyösti Lempa

Special Adviser