Freshwater blue space design and human health: A comprehensive research mapping based on scientometric analysis

Haoxiang Zhang*, Steffen Nijhuis, Caroline Newton

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
94 Downloads (Pure)


Water is a critical element of human existence and has shaped cities for centuries. In urban environments, water provides multiple ecosystem services and is an important element in the design of urban environments. Next to the many qualities and services provided by water, recent research indicates that exposure to freshwater blue space also enhances human health and wellbeing. However, health benefits are often not or implicitly taken into account in the design perspective. This research aims to provide a systematic overview of the available body of knowledge regarding the relationship between freshwater blue space, health, and design. This study first proposes a bi-directional conceptual framework connecting health evidence with design practice. And then, scientometric analysis is employed to review 1338 research articles on freshwater blue-health research. The results show that the number of articles in this area is increasing yearly, attracting more and more disciplines and stimulating interdisciplinary collaboration. Freshwater blue-health research is broadening to emphasize usage and experience, psychological advantages, and particular demographics, which provides a solid basis for future design research. At the same time, it becomes clear that there is a strong demand to develop adaptive design knowledge that integrates the available health evidence and operationalizes it in healthy freshwater blue space design. This paper could help researchers understand the current research progress and future research directions, as well as facilitate multiple applications of health evidence by practitioners.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106859
Number of pages15
JournalEnvironmental Impact Assessment Review
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Evidence translation
  • Freshwater blue space
  • Knowledge structure
  • Public health
  • Scientometric analysis
  • Spatial design


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