Green and Gender-just Cities: exploring the relationship between gender inequalities and urban natural environments


Women have stronger physical and mental health associations with exposure to nature than men and are more negatively impacted by climate change and loss of biodiversity. The Levelling Up White Paper says that improving provision of, and access to, greenspaces is pivotal to instilling pride of place, improving well-being, and reducing spatial and social inequalities. The UN Sustainable Development Goals aim for: improved health and well-being for society; universal access to good quality, accessible green spaces in cities by 2030; achieving gender equality and empowerment of all women and girls; and creating peaceful and just societies, and inclusive cities. Connecting people to nature is also one of four strategic programmes highlighted in a recent policy paper (Natural England 2020).

By engaging with key decision-makers and civil society, the project team will identify the most impactful levers available to policymakers and practitioners to improve well-being, reduce inequalities and design inclusive, healthy cities. This work has the potential to make meaningful societal impact by influencing evidence-based policymaking and urban design.

Aims and Objectives

The project aims to bring together academic and non-academic urban planners, ecologists, policymakers, and the public, to build knowledge and shape policy on the impacts of gender inequalities in access to nature. Using expertise in geography, city planning, social inequalities, well-being and stakeholder engagement, the project will co-create a series of impactful activities, providing evidence for the design and decision-making in healthy, green and just places.
Objective 1: To organise a cross-sector stakeholder meeting to discuss knowledge, ideas and priorities, and conduct a scoping review to provide a knowledge base to frame the discussion.
Objective 2: To co-design a public engagement event and social media campaign to explore public experiences of natural spaces and climate change through a gender lens.
Objective 3: To establish a stakeholder network of new partnerships and collaborations interested in increasing the gender inclusivity of urban design.

Dr Sarah Knight (Department of Environment and Geography)

Dr Sarah Knight (Department of Environment and Geography, University of York)

Dr Claire Goodfellow (MRC / CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit, University of Glasgow)

Dr Sien van der Plank (Department of Sociology, Social Policy and Criminology, University of Southampton)

Victoria Newlove (Arup Ltd, Leeds)

UK Research and Innovation, Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), administered by Sealey Associates for the ESRC Postdoctoral Fellows Development Scheme.

Arup Ltd University of Glasgow University of Southampton