Public Health England has published an evidence resource for planning and designing healthier places: Spatial Planning for Health
Despite being a largely rural county, more than 66% of Oxfordshire’s population lives in an urban setting. Urban green spaces, such as domestic gardens, playing fields, allotments, parks, woodlands, churchyards and cemeteries, not only benefit people, but provide important habitats for wildlife. In Oxfordshire, these spaces range from the centuries old Oxford Meadows to newly created sites. Urban green spaces can act as ‘stepping stones’ for plants and animals, linking to rural areas and larger ecosystems. This connectivity through the landscape is vital for ensuring the resilience and sustainability of sites and the populations they support, particularly in light of climate change.
Access to nature promotes good physical and mental health, improves well-being, and encourages people to take exercise. Indeed, these benefits increase as the number and diversity of plant and animal species rises. In Oxfordshire, NHS Forest creates green spaces on NHS sites and promotes walking trails to get people active. Initiatives like Green Gyms and Logs for Labour encourage volunteers to take on conservation tasks, while improving their health and well-being.
Download the Settlements pages from State of Nature in Oxfordshire 2017 for more information about our urban wildlife