UCL Division of Biosciences


Mikaël J. A. Maes

Mika Maes

On the nature of green infrastructure in relation to human health

Current Research

Cities contain interconnected networks of functioning urban green spaces that conserve natural ecosystems and provide services to urban residents. Scientific understanding that green infrastructure has both positive and negative relationships in relation to human health is well established with improvements in air quality, physical, mental and social health. Only little is known about the underlying mechanisms providing these better health outcomes. How is urban nature perceived by citizens? Are there important non-visual pathways through which citizens receive better health outcomes? To answer these questions, I study the associations between mental health and green infrastructure in London.

Building on these findings, I assess the barriers and opportunities for accounting for health benefits of green infrastructure into policy instruments to better understand how nature is valued and improve the integration of scientific evidence into the policy cycle. This project is highly interdisciplinary, combining elements from several fields of interest such as ecology, epidemiology and environmental policy- and decision-making.


Selected publications

Maes, M. (2016). An exploration of the relationships between landscape metrics and tree diversity in urban forests. Urban Landscape Ecology: Science, Policy and Practice, 75.



Brief CV

YearsPositionInstitution name and location (country)
2016-PresentPhD ResearcherUniversity College London
2015-2016Trainee (4-month secondmentEuropean Commission, Brussels, Belgium
2014-2016Consultant ERM (Environmental Resources Management), Brussels (Belgium) and Frankfurt am Main (Germany)
2013-2014MSc (dist.) in Environmental Monitoring, Modelling and ManagementKing’s College London, UK
2011-2013MSc (dist.) in Biology (Ecology and Functional Biology)Ghent University, Belgium
2008-2011BSc (First Class Honours) in BiologyGhent University, Belgium