Green Infrastructure and the Health and Wellbeing Influences on an Ageing Population (GHIA)

Green infrastructure, including blue (water-based) and green public space, can directly and indirectly influence health and wellbeing.

However, access to health and wellbeing benefits is not shared equally amongst the population, particularly in urban areas. People aged 65 and over are most likely to suffer from poor health, yet this group may be the least likely to benefit from green infrastructure (GI).

Through the GHIA project, researchers with a range of academic specialisms work with project partners from Greater Manchester to investigate the value of urban GI in connection with the health and wellbeing of older people.

The project aims to understand the benefits and values of urban GI for older people and how GI attributes, interventions and specific ‘greening projects’ can be best used to support healthy ageing in urban areas.

This includes consideration of how GI can be designed, enhanced, managed and promoted to support its use as part of preventative and restorative therapies and other health and wellbeing related activities. Older people are involved as co-producers of the research to better understand thoughts, experiences and values that are associated with green and blue spaces.

Research questions 

  • To what extent does ‘greening’ urban environments result in improvements in the wellbeing of older people?
  • How well does the current provision of benefits match older peoples’ needs, and what inequalities emerge?
  • How can different types of provision and need be represented spatially?
  • How can urban parks, grasslands, allotments and riversides help people living with early stage dementia?
  • How can digital technologies support those who may be excluded?

Principal Investigator

Dr. Sarah Lindley, Geography, School of Environment, Education & Development (SEED), The University of Manchester


Funding period

August 2016 - July 2019


Partner Organisations