The main objective of this essay is to illustrate the state-of-the-art on ‘mental health-sensitive’ open space design in the built environment. Urban Green Blue Infrastructure can contribute to urbanites’ mental health and wellbeing as well as healthy aging, while providing co-benefits balancing the negative impacts of climate change, through the provision of integrated ecosystem services. There are a number of ways that exposure to and affiliation with Nature have shown to support mental health, but we are still missing the necessary evidence of the actual benefits achieved, as well as the key performance indicators and metrics to monitor and adapt our open space to the growing urban challenges. After introducing the key concepts of degenerative mental disorders as they are growing in the urban environment, and the emerging green blue infrastructure design approach, the authors present international case studies describing how evidence-based design and Nature-based Solutions have been found to be beneficial, especially to those diagnosed with mental disorders. Subsequently, in a comparative critical analysis, the authors look closer at a number of design solutions capable, at different scales, to support healthy aging through exposure to, and affiliation with, biodiversity.
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