New health risks due to biodiversity-related counterproductive ecosystem services in cities
Urban green spaces promote biodiversity in urban areas and bring many benefits for the health of the urban population: they provide spaces for exercise, enable relaxation, improve the urban climate, and contribute to the reduction of noise and air pollution. Awareness of the possible negative effects of urban green spaces on health is currently low. For example, plant pollen can cause allergic reactions in humans or worsen air quality. In addition, urban green spaces may increase the risk of certain infectious diseases, such as Lyme disease, which is transmitted by ticks. Psychological stress caused by feelings of insecurity due to overgrown green spaces is also conceivable.
The aim of the project is to investigate possible negative effects of urban green spaces on the health of the population. In a first step, the current research situation is systematically being summarized. In a second step, an ecological inventory of urban green spaces in Magdeburg will be carried out. The effects of green spaces on the health of the urban population will be recorded by means of an epidemiological observation and an experimental study.
KontraVital is one of the first projects to deal with the possible negative effects of urban green spaces in the form of counterproductive ecosystem services. The knowledge gained in the project will be integrated into a municipal planning tool. The interdisciplinary nature of the project group and Magdeburg’s location, with its above-average proportion of public green spaces in the urban area, offer particular potential.