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Eva Silveirinha de Oliveira and Catharine Ward Thompson

There has been a growing recognition that green infrastructure can have benefits for public health. This chapter traces evidence of the influence of green infrastructure on people’s health, from the mid-nineteenth century to the most recent studies. By examining two iconic green infrastructures – Boston’s Emerald Necklace and Buffalo Park system – it reviews Frederick Olmsted’s strategic vision which acknowledged the importance of green infrastructures in contributing to an improvement in public health. Through the review of the evidence available on the importance of green infrastructure in health, the chapter summarises the types of benefits (physical activity, restorative effect, social cohesion, air quality enhancement) and reflects on how the evidence relating to the importance of green spaces and contact with nature can be translated into the planning and design of green infrastructures. Finally, the Greenlink project is presented as a case study of best practice, illustrating how green infrastructure can promote health and wellbeing in local communities.