Global disparities in wellbeing from green infrastructure cooling services: a systematic review

Rui Han*, Robert Marchant, Jessica Thorn

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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The escalation of urbanisation contributes significantly to climate change and exacerbates environmental, health and social disparities, especially affecting impoverished and vulnerable communities in the urban periphery. However, few studies contrast the global disparities in multiple wellbeing from inequitable green infrastructure (GI) and cooling perspectives. Through a combination of systematic literature review and hierarchical archetypal analysis, this study examines 95 out of 3864 initial articles focusing on the interplay between inequitable GI and disparate cooling services, and their emphasis on both subjective and objective wellbeing. Our findings highlight an increasing interest on this topic since 2009, with a notable surge post-2015 focused on the application of nature-based solutions for urban cooling and associated inequity. The literature review reveals 43 wellbeing thematic categories based on four dimensions, of which we identify characteristics: (1) the most affected vulnerable individuals often based on financial status, population density, and access to public facilities; (2) geographic areas where wellbeing effects are most pronounced, linked to building attributes and high-density impervious surfaces; (3) health implications highlighting physical ailments; and (4) perceptions of GI emphasising residents’ GI demand. Afterwards, hierarchical analysis generated clustered archetypes that Archetype I and III mostly filled in North American, Archetypes II in Asia, and IV across Europe, Asia, and North America, to underscore substantial variances and similarities in wellbeing categories across continents. These archetypes characterise global pathways to enhancing cooling for wellbeing, including Archetype I of integrating GI in urban planning, Archetype II of retrofitting infrastructure to improve GI interaction, Archetype III of connecting disadvantaged groups with heat management, and Archetype IV of fostering public involvement in decision-making processes. The study's findings provide insights to narrow ecological injustices arising from GI and research direction for further in theoretical, technological, and practical investigations to optimize cooling and wellbeing.
Original languageEnglish
Article number128372
JournalUrban Forestry & Urban Greening
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2024


  • Nature-based solutions
  • Environmental inequity
  • Hierarchical archetypal analysis
  • Sustainable Development Goals
  • Urbanisation


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