Ergonomics of the City: Green Infrastructure and Social Benefits

By Kathleen L. Wolf
College of Forest Resources, University of Washington
Seattle (2003)- The majority of U.S. citizens now live in urban areas. City residents have come to expect clean air, effective waste removal, and reliable energy supplies, transportation, and communication. The infrastructure that provides these goods and services is a diverse assemblage of roads, sewers, pipes, power plants and wires. Recently, trees and greenspace have come to be regarded as green infrastructure, a living system in contrast to the engineered structures of gray infrastructure.


Urban forest research has revealed a diversity of environmental, economic and social benefits. These benefits can be thought of as the goods and services that green infrastructure delivers. While studies of social benefits once trailed our understanding of environmental benefits, research in recent decades has revealed many psychosocial dynamics. It appears that the experience of nature in cities is integral to human health, well-being and quality of life. Ergonomics, or human dimensions, of green infrastructure is a necessary component of systems planning.
Related Resources:
College of Forest Resources, University of Washington
EPA Green Infrastructure