The health benefits of urban green spaces: A review of the evidence

Section of Public Health, School of Health and Related Research, The University of Sheffield, Sheffield S1 4DA, UK.
Journal of Public Health (Impact Factor: 2.3). 06/2011; 33(2):212-22. DOI: 10.1093/pubmed/fdq068
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Urban development projects can be costly and have health impacts. An evidence-based approach to urban planning is therefore essential. However, the evidence for physical and non-physical health benefits of urban green space is unclear.
A literature search of academic and grey literature was conducted for studies and reviews of the health effects of green space. Articles found were appraised for their relevance, critically reviewed and graded accordingly. Their findings were then thematically categorized.
There is weak evidence for the links between physical, mental health and well-being, and urban green space. Environmental factors such as the quality and accessibility of green space affects its use for physical activity. User determinants, such as age, gender, ethnicity and the perception of safety, are also important. However, many studies were limited by poor study design, failure to exclude confounding, bias or reverse causality and weak statistical associations.
Most studies reported findings that generally supported the view that green space have a beneficial health effect. Establishing a causal relationship is difficult, as the relationship is complex. Simplistic urban interventions may therefore fail to address the underlying determinants of urban health that are not remediable by landscape redesign.

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Available from: Andrew CK Lee, Jul 28, 2014
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    • "For example, recognition of the relationship between urban form and frequency of walking and bicycling (Frank and Engelkel, 2001; Saelens et al., 2003) has implications for urban design, transportation systems (Lee and Vernez Moudon, 2004), recreation facilities, and public health policy (Sallis et al., 2006). The health benefits of accessible green spaces is widely acknowledged, however, prospective studies that measure the impact that specific built environment changes have on population physical activity are lacking (Lee and Maheswaran, 2011). The renovation of an urban park in a refugee community in Denver led to a statistically significant increase in the number of park users and a statistical increase in the proportion of park users engaged in moderate and vigorous activities. "
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    Urban Forestry & Urban Greening 12/2015; 14(2):293-299. DOI:10.1016/j.ufug.2015.02.011 · 2.13 Impact Factor
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    • "Looking at these actions with more detail, specific research shows evidence of the positive link between the natural environment , outdoor recreation and human health (Godbey, 2009; Kuo, 2010; Lee & Maheswaran, 2010; Ryan et al., 2010; Townsend & Weerasuriya, 2010). The most obvious include exposure to, and participation in, physical activities such as hiking, swimming, canoeing and other outdoor activities that encourage the green exercise (Pretty, Peacock, Sellens, & Griffin 2005; Pretty, 2011). "
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