Special Issue "Environmental Health, Blue-Green Infrastructure Planning, and Health Equity"

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Global Health".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 15 December 2020.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Mahbubur Meenar
Guest Editor
Department of Geography, Planning, and Sustainability, Rowan University, Glassboro, NJ 08028, USA
Interests: environmental health; stormwater management; green infrastructure; urban food systems; sustainable development; geo-spatial technologies; digital civic engagement
Dr. Megan Heckert
Guest Editor
Department of Geography and Planning, West Chester University of Pennsylvania, West Chester, PA 19383, USA
Interests: environmental justice; urban greening; green stormwater infrastructure; spatial analysis; urban revitalization
Dr. Helen Cole
Guest Editor
Barcelona Laboratory for Urban Environemntal Justice and Sustainability, Institute for Environmental Science and Technology (ICTA), Autonomous University of Barcelona and the Institue for Medical Research of the Hospital del Mar (IMIM), Barcelona, Spain
Interests: health equity; urban health; social epidemiology; environmental health; environmental justice; green gentrification
Dr. Deepti Adlakha
Guest Editor
School of Natural and Built Environment, Queen’s University Belfast, University Road, Belfast, Co Antrim, Northern Ireland
Interests: urban design; city planning; built environment; walkability; public health; physical activity; healthy cities
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

As communities across the globe are facing increasing environmental challenges due to climate change, the relationship between urban planning and environmental health outcomes has become more important than ever, particularly in the context of increasingly inequitable social environments that restrict access to health-promoting environments for marginalized groups. Physical determinants of health, such as built and natural environments, play a key role in the process of planning for equitable societies. In particular, nature-based solutions, such as blue-green infrastructure and its connection to environmental health and equity, has been a topic of research inquiry in the last decade. Blue-green infrastructure has been also linked to the intellectual undertakings of biophilic city concepts, intending to re-introduce flora and fauna into urban environments. In an urban context, blue-green infrastructure means a network of natural and designed landscape elements, such as water bodies, parks, open spaces, trails, urban farms, community gardens, rain gardens, green roofs, tree trenches, and bioswales, which arguably deliver a wide range of ecosystem services and associated environmental, social, economic, and health benefits. Further research is needed to fully understand the role of blue-green infrastructure in environmental planning and management processes to achieve health equity and improved community health and well-being outcomes.

This Special Issue aims to showcase the variety and relevance of recent advances and developments in the intersection of environmental health, blue-green infrastructure planning, and health equity. We seek to understand this intersection through research performed in urban and regional contexts, as well as at neighborhood and city scales, by using qualitative, quantitative, or mixed-methods research.

Potential topics include, but are not limited to, the following: physical determinants of health equity; nature-based solutions, biophilic cities, and green infrastructure planning; climate change, flooding, and stormwater management; urban heat island effects on public health and mitigation efforts; urban agriculture and vacant land cultivation; blue-green infrastructure and environmental justice; environmental education and community stewardship; and public perception of and mental health issues around blue-green infrastructure. Papers focusing on qualitative and quantitative methodological approaches, such as community-based participatory research, participatory photography and storytelling, participatory and visual methodologies, spatial data analysis, modeling, visualization, as well as traditional epidemiological approaches are welcome. We are also interested in new transdisciplinary and transnational conversations and welcome submissions from the Global South. Review papers are also encouraged.

Dr. Mahbubur Meenar
Dr. Megan Heckert
Dr. Helen Cole
Dr. Deepti Adlakha
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2300 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • community health
  • blue green infrastructure
  • built environment
  • biophilic cities
  • urban agriculture
  • physical determinants of health
  • social equity
  • ​health equity
  • environmental health
  • climate change mitigation
  • urban heat island
  • environmental education
  • public perception

Published Papers

This special issue is now open for submission, see below for planned papers.

Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Title: “Green enough ain’t good enough”: Understanding resident perception of green infrastructure and social benefits in environmental justice communities
Authors: Mahbbur Meenar, Megan Heckart and Deepti Adlakha
Affiliation: Mahbbur Meenar (Rowan University, USA) Megan Heckart (West Chester University of Pennsylvania, USA) Deepti Adlakha (Queen’s University Belfast, UK)

Title: Mental health outcomes in Barcelona: The interplay between gentrification and green spaces
Authors: Montserrat Zayas Costa, Helen V.S. Cole, Isabelle Anguelovski, James J.T. Connolly, Xavier Bartoll and Margarita Triguero-Mas
Affiliation: Montserrat Zayas Costa, Helen V.S. Cole, Isabelle Anguelovski, James J.T. Connolly, Margarita Triguero-Mas (Institute of Environmental Science and Technology, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona) Xavier Bartoll (Agència de Salut Pública de Barcelona)

Title: Intersectionality in environmental (in)justice and health risks: The spatial distribution of green infrastructure and compounding inequalities of COVID-19
Authors: Megan Heckert, Christina D. Rosan and Mahbubur Meenar
Affiliation: Megan Heckert (West Chester University of Pennsylvania, USA) Christina D. Rosan (Temple University, USA) Mahbubur Meenar (Rowan University, USA)

Title: Greenspace exposure and adolescent mental health
Authors: Jeremy Mennis, Xiaojiang Li, Thomas McKeon and Michael Mason
Affiliation: Jeremy Mennis, Xiaojiang Li, Thomas McKeon, (Temple University, USA) Michael Mason (University of Tennessee, USA)

Title: Access to nature post COVID-19: opportunities for green infrastructure financing, distribution and equitability in urban planning
Authors: Ian Mell
Affiliation: University of Manchester, UK

Title: Blue-Green Infrastructures, public health and just planning: what are the connections?
Authors: Ashraful Alam and Faysal Kabir Shuvo
Affiliation: Ashraful Alam (University of Otago, New Zealand) Faysal Kabir Shuvo (University of Wollongong, Australia)

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