Population and Environment

, Volume 39, Issue 1, pp 69–86 | Cite as

Emerging issues in urban ecology: implications for research, social justice, human health, and well-being

  • Viniece Jennings
  • Myron F. Floyd
  • Danielle Shanahan
  • Christopher Coutts
  • Alex Sinykin


Urbanization affects landscape structure and the overall human condition in numerous ways. Green spaces include vegetated land cover (e.g., urban forests, trees, riparian zones, parks) which play a distinctive role in urban ecology. This article reviews emergent literature on the linkages between urban green spaces, social justice, and human health. We explore this subject in the context of landscape structure, ecosystem services, and distributional equity as it relates to various health outcomes. Finally, we conclude by identifying gaps in the scholarship and potential areas of future research.


Green space Urban ecology Public health Nature Well-being 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The content in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the federal government.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York (outside the USA) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Viniece Jennings
    • 1
  • Myron F. Floyd
    • 2
  • Danielle Shanahan
    • 3
    • 4
  • Christopher Coutts
    • 5
  • Alex Sinykin
    • 6
  1. 1.USDA Forest Service, Southern Research Station - Integrating Human and Natural SystemsAthensUSA
  2. 2.Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism ManagementNorth Carolina State UniversityRaleighUSA
  3. 3.ZealandiaWellingtonNew Zealand
  4. 4.School of Biological SciencesThe University of Queensland AustraliaSt. LuciaAustralia
  5. 5.Department of Urban and Regional PlanningFlorida State UniversityTallahasseeUSA
  6. 6.Department of GeographyThe University of North Carolina-GreensboroGreensboroUSA

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