MSc Environmental Governance / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Green Infrastructure: Performance, Evaluation and Monitoring

Course unit fact file
Unit code GEOG64011
Credit rating 15
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Available as a free choice unit? No


This course unit will provide students with an understanding of the various approaches and methodologies used to assess the benefits of green infrastructure. These will focus on environmental aspects, although social and economic themes will be considered in this unit. This course will allow students to get hands-on experience with datasets acquired from a range of green infrastructure case studies - covering different scales and from a variety of geographic localities. A key component to this module is local fieldwork where students will have the opportunity to visit and critique existing green infrastructure schemes in Manchester and the surrounding region. Signposting potential dissertation projects will also feature in this module


This unit aims to:

• Describe the methodological approaches to evaluate and monitor the performance of green infrastructure in terms of environmental, social and economic challenge areas;

• Engage with a selection of real world examples of evidence gathering for the effectiveness of green infrastructure;

• Gain practical experience in monitoring and evaluating green infrastructure.


Green infrastructure (GI) can be used to tackle a range of urban challenges such as flooding, heatwaves, poor health and wellbeing, and low levels of biodiversity. Evidence for the effectiveness of GI in tackling these challenges is crucial for informing policy, planning and delivery of GI schemes. This modules takes students through the various approaches to assess the effectiveness of GI. The module will showcase techniques and methods used in a range of environmental, social and economic challenge areas. A key part of this module is local fieldwork where students will get first hand experience of monitoring and evaluation approaches. The module also incorporates two practical classes – one a laboratory-based practical exercise, and the second a computer-based workshop. This module has been designed to complement the more theoretical programme material and to provide students with skills for fieldwork and dissertation work.

Teaching and learning methods

• Lectures

• Field classes

• Lab classes

• Computer classes

• Seminars and workshops

• Group activities and exercises

• Assignment completion

Knowledge and understanding

• Develop knowledge and understanding of the application of GI to address social, economic and environmental challenges at different scales

• Develop knowledge and understanding of the methodological approaches to evaluate and monitor the performance of green infrastructure

Intellectual skills

• Integrate and synthesise evidence/information of different types and/or from different sources

• Illustrate arguments with relevant examples and case studies

Practical skills

• Use field and laboratory techniques to examine and evaluate green infrastructure

• Apply statistical techniques to interrogate data from green infrastructure interventions

Transferable skills and personal qualities

• Understand, assimilate and retrieve information from a range of sources

• Written and oral communication and presentation skills

• Produce a practice-/professional-orientated report

• Have an appreciation and awareness of the challenges and solutions to urban problems

• Prepare effectively for seminars, group work, discussions and fieldwork

Assessment methods

Assessment task


Weighting within unit (if relevant)


10 min


Monitoring and Evaluation Plan

3000 words


Feedback methods

Written feedback via Turn-it-in, and oral feedback via one-to-one drop in sessions

Recommended reading

Aerts, R., Honnay, O., & Van Nieuwenhuyse, A. (2018). Biodiversity and human health: Mechanisms and evidence of the positive health effects of diversity in nature and green spaces. British Medical Bulletin, 127(1), 5–22.

Armson, D., Stringer, P., Ennos, A.R. (2013). The effect of street trees and amenity grass on urban surface water runoff in Manchester, UK. Urban Forestry and Urban Greening. 12, 282–286

Benton, J., Cotterill, S., Anderson, J., Macintyre, V., Gittins, M., Dennis, M., Lindley, S., French, D., (2021). Impact of a low-cost urban green space intervention on wellbeing behaviours in older adults: a natural experimental study. Wellbeing, Space, Society.

Bowler, D. E., Buyung-Ali, L., Knight, T. M., & Pullin, A. S. (2010). Urban greening to cool towns and cities: A systematic review of the empirical evidence. Landscape and Urban Planning, 97(3), 147–155..

Chen, D., Wang, X., Thatcher, M., Barnett, G., Kachenko, A., Prince, R. (2014). Urban vegetation for reducing heat related mortality. Environmental Pollution, 192, 275–284

Dennis, M., Cook, P., Wheater, C. P., James, P., Lindley, S., (2020). Relationships between health outcomes in older populations and urban green infrastructure size, quality and proximity. BMC Public Health. 20, 1, 626.

Ellis, J.B. (2013). Sustainable surface water management and green infrastructure in UK urban catchment planning. Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, 56(1), 24-41.

Gascon, M., Triguero-Mas, M., Martínez, D., Dadvand, P., Rojas-Rueda, D., Plasència, A. (2016). Residential green spaces and mortality: A systematic review. Environment International, 86, 60–67

Labib, SM., Lindley, S. & Huck, J. (2019). Spatial Dimensions of the Influence of Urban Green-Blue Spaces on Human Health: A Systematic Review. Environmental Research, 180, 22, 108869.

Lashford, C., Rubinato, M., Cai, Y., Hou, J., Jingmong, A., Coupe, S., Charlesworth, S., Tait, S. (2019) SuDS & sponge cities : a comparative analysis of the implementation of pluvial flood management in the UK and China. Sustainability, 11 (1), 213.

Niemelä, J. (2014). Ecology of urban green spaces: The way forward in answering major research questions. Landscape and Urban Planning, 125, 298–303.

Saraev, V. (2012). Economic benefits of greenspace: a critical assessment of evidence of net economic benefits. Forestry Commission Research Report. Forestry Commission, Edinburgh.

Skelhorn, C., Lindley, S., Levermore, G. (2014). The impact of vegetation types on air and surface temperatures in a temperate city: A fine scale assessment in Manchester, UK. Landscape and Urban Planning. 121, 129-140.

Speak, A.F., Rothwell, J.J., Lindley, S.J., Smith, C.L. (2013). Rainwater runoff retention on an aged intensive green roof. Science of the Total Environment, 461/462, 28-38.

Tyrväinen, L., Miettinen, A., (2000). Property prices and urban forest amenities. Journal of Environmental Economic and Management, 39 (2), 205–223.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Fieldwork 6
Lectures 14
Practical classes & workshops 10
Independent study hours
Independent study 120

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
James Rothwell Unit coordinator

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