Small-Scale Urban Greening : Creating Places of Health, Creativity, and Ecological Sustainability book cover
1st Edition

Small-Scale Urban Greening
Creating Places of Health, Creativity, and Ecological Sustainability

ISBN 9781315642857
Published March 2, 2020 by Routledge
262 Pages 8 Color & 16 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Small-scale urban greening projects are changing the urban landscape, shifting our experience and understanding of greenspaces in our cities. This book argues that including power dynamics, symbolism, and aesthetics in our understanding of the human relationship to urban nature can help us create places that nurture ecological and human health and promote successful and equitable urban communities. Using an interdisciplinary approach to current research debates and new comparative case studies on community perceptions of these urban greening projects and policies, this book explores how small-scale urban greening projects can impact our sense of place, health, creativity, and concentration while also being part of a successful urban greening program. Arguing that wildness, emotion, and sense of place are key components of our human–nature relationship, this book will be of interest to designers, academics, and policy makers.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Re-imagining the city: urban greening as creative solution to social and ecological challenges

Chapter 1: Nature, Health, Well-being and Sense of Place: what do we know? What don’t we agree on?

Biological paradigm: adaptive and utility

The Social Construction Paradigm: constructed, political, and relational

New directions in nature, health, and well-being research

Moving forward: research, policy, and practice on nature and health in cities


Chapter 2: Ecology in the margins: Green Infrastructure and stormwater management


Ecosystem services, green infrastructure, and stormwater: a short history of re-thinking water in cities

City-wide approaches to urban greening and stormwater: the case of Philadelphia

Piece-by-piece layering and conversion: urban greening and stormwater in Toronto

Small-scale urban greening and green infrastructure: reflections

Links to research and moving forward


Chapter 3: Meadows in the sky: a green roof case study


What do we know about green roofs, health, and well-being?


Results: what did they think and feel about green roofs?

Implications for policy, research, and the human relationship to nature

Asking the same questions in a different way: a survey

Lessons learned from quantitative versus qualitative methods



Chapter 4: Reclaiming the city: vacant lots and post-industrial corridors


Marginal spaces: regreening neglected areas

Case studies: Chicago and Philadelphia

Chicago and vacant lots

Vacant lots: Philadelphia

Post-industrial urban greening: elevated parks

Case study: Philadelphia’s Rail Park

Case study: Chicago’s The 606

Small-scale urban greening, interstitial, and post-industrial space: reflections and moving forward

Research and the real-world: opportunities for collaboration and change


Conclusion: Policy lessons and Research Implications: Connecting urbanites to nature and re-thinking urban greenspace



Review of case study conclusions

Lessons learned, looking ahead

Frame the issue

Governance, funding, and legislation

Tactical urbanism, community outreach, and research

A way forward: learning by doing, adaptive planning

Research context

How do we value urban nature as experienced with SSUG projects?

How we experience SSUG: implications for research

Education and design implications for health, well-being, and ecological sustainability

Looking ahead

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Angela Loder is Vice President, Research, for the International WELL Building Institute. In this role she is responsible for identifying, directing, and managing evidenced-based research that supports the WELL Building Standard. She has been a core member of the Health in Buildings Roundtable (HiBR) with the National Institutes of Health since 2009. She is a Canada-U.S. Fulbright Scholar, a board member of the Institute for the Built Environment at Colorado State University, Adjunct Faculty at the University of Denver, and part of the first cohort of WELL Faculty and a WELL AP. She holds a collaborative PhD in Health and Urban Geography and Environmental Studies from the University of Toronto.


"Small-Scale Urban Greening provides an excellent summary of the literature regarding human interaction with nature, ranging from a thorough explication of research to a detailed discussion of public policy.  The examples involving green infrastructure, roofs, vacant lots and industrial corridors enhance our understanding of the impact of urban nature interventions."
Mardelle McCuskey Shepley, D.Arch., FAIA, Chair and Janet and Gordon Lankton Professor Design + Environmental Analysis, CORNELL UNIVERSITY


"Angela Loder masterfully shines a light on the opportunity for the leftover, marginal and abandoned spaces in our urban environments to become green spaces that connect us to nature. Small-Scale Urban Greening is a comprehensive review of the research, case studies, and policy that can make these opportunities come to life and provide the critical links between health, equity and community that are so badly needed in our cities."
Amanda Sturgeon, FAIA, Head if Regenerative Design, Mott MacDonald