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Journal article

Exploring the co-benefits of urban green infrastructure improvements for businesses and workers’ well being

This article presents findings from a two-year study looking at co-benefits derived from urban green infrastructure investment.

Steve Cinderby / Published on 7 August 2017

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Cinderby, S. and S. Bagwell (2017). Exploring the co-benefits of urban green infrastructure improvements for businesses and workers' wellbeing. Area.

Explorations of the benefits for businesses in terms of customer experience or improvements in staff well being from installing and retro-fitting green infrastructure (GI) in a European city context have been lacking.

This paper reports on a two-year longitudinal mixed methods study in a district of central London evaluating the changes resulting from the installation of a mixture of greening schemes for different types of business sectors and their staff members. Business managers, particularly from retail and leisure sectors, perceived increases in customer footfall and sales in relation to the improvements. Providing accessible green space in office settings led to improvements in morale, team interaction and workplace satisfaction among staff members able to access the improvements.

Increased GI was seen as improving uptake of company environmental policies such as energy saving or recycling among staff by their managers. Impacts of neighbourhood GI schemes on staff well being were mixed, with increased greening leading to improved self-reported workplace happiness and greater interaction with nature spaces but not changes in overall measurements of staff well being.

Overall, the findings indicate that GI could represent a worthwhile investment for UK and European businesses through these combinations of direct and indirect returns adding to the known environmental benefits improving urban green spaces can provide.

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SEI author

Steve Cinderby

Senior Research Fellow

SEI York

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10.1111/area.12361 Closed access
Topics and subtopics
Health : Well-being, Cities / Economy : Business, Finance
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