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Review article - Peer-reviewed, 2022

Planning, Designing, and Managing Green Roofs and Green Walls for Public Health - An Ecosystem Services Approach

Ode Sang, Asa; Thorpert, Petra; Fransson, Ann-Mari


Installing green roofs and green walls in urban areas is suggested to supply multiple ecosystem services of benefit to human health and well-being. In a three-step literature review, we examined current knowledge on the link between public health and green roofs and green walls. A systematic search identified 69 scientific articles on green roofs/walls with a public health discourse. These articles were categorized according to type of health path covered (reduction of temperature, air pollution, noise or environmental appraisal) and coverage of issues of relevance for strategies on planning, design/construction, and maintenance of green roofs and green walls. Articles identified through the structured search were complemented with reviews (with no explicit public health rationale) covering reduction of noise, temperature, or air pollution and environmental appraisal. Other relevant studies were identified through snowballing. Several of the articles provided guidelines for optimizing the effect of green roofs/walls in supporting ecosystem services and maximizing well-being benefits to support health pathways identified. These included specifications about planning issues, with recommended spatial allocation (locations where people live, sun-exposed for maximum ambient temperature reduction) and with physical access needed for environmental appraisal. Recommendations regarding design parameters covered substrate depth (deeper generally being better), plant choices (more diverse roofs providing more services), and maintenance issues (moist substrate positively correlated with heat reduction).


temperature regulation; air pollution regulation; noise regulation; environmental appraisal; public health and well-being; green infrastructure; nature-based solution; living walls

Published in

Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution
2022, volume: 10, article number: 804500

Authors' information

Fransson, Ann-Mari
Linnaeus University

Associated SLU-program


Sustainable Development Goals

SDG11 Sustainable cities and communities

UKÄ Subject classification

Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
Landscape Architecture

Publication Identifiers


URI (permanent link to this page)