Ming Kuo

Ming Kuo
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign | UIUC · Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences

Professor

About

49
Publications
59,071
Reads
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10,281
Citations
Introduction
Research interests: Benefits of contact with "everyday nature," especially in disadvantaged populations. Outcomes of interest include health, learning/child development, ADHD, crime... Methods: Mostly field experiments, research with archival data, surveys. I rarely check ResearchGate; for a timely response to questions/reprint requests email me at

Publications

Publications (49)
Article
Full-text available
Background and objective Prior studies have shown higher green cover levels are associated with beneficial health outcomes. We sought to determine if residential green cover was also associated with direct healthcare costs. Methods We linked residential Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) satellite data for 5,189,303 members of Kaiser Pe...
Chapter
Teachers wishing to offer lessons in nature may hold back for fear of leaving students keyed up and unable to concentrate in subsequent, indoor lessons. This study tested the hypothesis that lessons in nature have positive—not negative—aftereffects on subsequent classroom engagement. Using carefully matched pairs of lessons (one in a relatively nat...
Article
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Converging evidence from hundreds of studies suggests that contact with nature enhances learning in elementary and high school students-could greening in and around schoolyards improve academic achievement in sixth grade students, many of whom are negotiating the transition from elementary to middle school? This study examines the greenness-academi...
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A growing body of empirical evidence is revealing the value of nature experience for mental health. With rapid urbanization and declines in human contact with nature globally, crucial decisions must be made about how to preserve and enhance opportunities for nature experience. Here, we first provide points of consensus across the natural, social, a...
Article
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Do experiences with nature – from wilderness backpacking to plants in a preschool, to a wetland lesson on frogs—promote learning? Until recently, claims outstripped evidence on this question. But the field has matured, not only substantiating previously unwarranted claims but deepening our understanding of the cause-and-effect relationship between...
Article
Green land covers (e.g., forests and parks) are associated with better human health. Better health, in turn, may lead to lower spending on healthcare, an increasingly large portion of the budget of both American citizens and the government. There is a significant gap in our knowledge on the direct association between green covers and health care co...
Article
Recent studies find vegetation around schools correlates positively with student test scores. To test this relationship in schools with less green cover and more disadvantaged students, we replicated a leading study, using six years of NDVI-derived greenness data to predict school-level math and reading achievement in 404 Chicago public schools. A...
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In the United States, schools serving urban, low-income students are among the lowest-performing academically. Previous research in relatively well-off populations has linked vegetation in schoolyards and surrounding neighborhoods to better school performance even after controlling for important confounding factors, raising the tantalizing possibil...
Article
Full-text available
Teachers wishing to offer lessons in nature may hold back for fear of leaving students keyed up and unable to concentrate in subsequent, indoor lessons. This study tested the hypothesis that lessons in nature have positive—not negative—aftereffects on subsequent classroom engagement. Using carefully matched pairs of lessons (one in a relatively nat...
Article
Full-text available
How might contact with nature promote human health? Myriad studies have linked the two; at this time the task of identifying the mechanisms underlying this link is paramount. This article offers: (1) a compilation of plausible pathways between nature and health; (2) criteria for identifying a possible central pathway; and (3) one promising candidat...
Article
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Claims have long been made of the health-promoting effects of contact with 'nature', but these claims have only recently been subjected to rigorous scientific testing. A strong body of evidence is now in hand. An array of studies ranging from rigorous experiments to large-scale epidemiological work has tied nature to health for outcomes ranging fro...
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In the general population, attention is reliably enhanced after exposure to certain physical environments, particularly natural environments. This study examined the impacts of environments on attention in children with ADHD. In this within subjects design, each participant experienced each of three treatments (environments) in single blind control...
Article
We know that children need nature … or do we? There are certainly many reasons to think that nature plays an important role in child development. For many of us, intuition emphatically asserts that nature is good for children. We hold intuitions such as, ‘every kid needs a dog’, ‘children need a nice yard to play in’, and ‘children need “fresh air”...
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We examined the impact of relatively "green" or natural settings on attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms across diverse subpopulations of children. Parents nationwide rated the aftereffects of 49 common after-school and weekend activities on children's symptoms. Aftereffects were compared for activities conducted in green outdoo...
Article
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What makes a neighborhood space vital? This article explores the possibility that the presence of trees and grass may be one of the key components of vital neighborhood spaces. We report on 758 observations of individuals in 59 outdoor common spaces in a residential development. Twenty-seven of the neighborhood common spaces were relatively green,...
Article
In urban communities, arboriculture clearly contributes to the health of the biological ecosystem; does it contribute to the health of the social ecosystem as well? Evidence from studies in inner-city Chicago suggests so. In a series of studies involving over 1,300 person-space obser- vations, 400 interviews, housing authority records, and 2 years...
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Children growing up in the inner city are at risk of academic underachievement, juvenile delinquency, teenage pregnancy, and other important negative outcomes. Avoiding these outcomes requires self-discipline. Self-discipline, in turn, may draw on directed attention, a limited resource that can be renewed through contact with nature. This study exa...
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Defensible space (DS) theory proposes that the built environment can promote neighborhood safety and community by encouraging residents’ appropriation of near-home space. This article examined the relationship between three different forms of resident appropriation and residents’ experiences of neighborhood safety and community. Results from a surv...
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S. Kaplan suggested that one outcome of mental fatigue may be an increased propensity for outbursts of anger and even violence. If so, contact with nature, which appears to mitigate mental fatigue, may reduce aggression and violence. This study investigated that possibility in a setting and population with relatively high rates of aggression: inner...
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Although vegetation has been positively linked to fear of crime and crime in a number of settings, recent findings in urban residential areas have hinted at a possible negative relationship: Residents living in “greener” surroundings report lower levels of fear, fewer incivilities, and less aggressive and violent behavior. This study used police cr...
Article
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Although vegetation has been positively linked to fear of crime and crime in a number of settings, recent findings in urban residential areas have hinted at a possible negative relationship: Residents living in "greener" surroundings report lower levels of fear, fewer incivilities, and less aggressive and violent behavior. This study used police cr...
Article
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Examined whether the presence of nearby nature might lend urban public housing residents the psychological resources to grapple with the challenges facing them. More specifically, it examines whether natural elements in the public housing outdoor environment—trees and grass—can assist in restoring the very psychological resources likely to be deple...
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Attention Restoration Theory suggests that contact with nature supports attentional functioning, and a number of studies have found contact with everyday nature to be related to attention in adults. Is contact with everyday nature also related to the attentional functioning of children? This question was addressed through a study focusing on childr...
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A study in the Chicago area profiles the experience and satisfactions of restoration work.
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Research suggests that the formation of neighborhood social ties (NSTs) may substantially depend on the informal social contact which occurs in neighborhood common spaces, and that in inner-city neighborhoods where common spaces are often barren no-man's lands, the presence of trees and grass supports common space use and informal social contact am...
Article
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Research suggests that the formation of neighborhood social ties (NSTs) may substantially depend on the informal social contact which occurs in neighborhood common spaces, and that in inner‐city neighborhoods where common spaces are often barren no‐man's lands, the presence of trees and grass supports common space use and informal social contact am...
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There is an international volunteer movement to protect and restore sensitive natural landscapes. In Illinois alone, almost 40,000 acres of rare prairie, oak savanna, wetlands and woodland ecosystems in urban and suburban communities are monitored and managed by volunteers. As natural habitats disappear or become degraded worldwide, it is increasin...
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How would inner-city residents respond to the incorporation of trees and grass in their neighborhoods? Law enforcement officials have argued that, in these settings, trees and other forms of vegetation increase fear. Tree density, tree placement, and levels of grass maintenance were manipulated in photo simulations of neighborhood outdoor space. On...
Article
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Children growing up in the inner city are at risk for a range of negative developmental outcomes. Do barren, inner-city neighborhood spaces compromise the everyday activities and experiences necessary for healthy development? Sixty-four urban public housing outdoor spaces (27 low vegetation, 37 high vegetation) were observed on four separate occasi...
Article
... children were attracted to outdoor spaces with higher levels of trees and grass (Coley, Kuo, & Sullivan , 1997 ... Wells, a public housing development in Chicago, Illinois . ... of the families in Ida B. Wells receive Aid to Families with Dependent Children (Chicago Housing Authority, 1992 ...
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There is considerable evidence that Environmental Impact Statements (EIS) may be failing in one of their chief aims—communicating information about proposed environmental changes to citizens. This paper proposes and tests two relatively simple techniques for making EISs accessible to members of the general public. We presented three versions of the...
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This study examines how the availability of nature influences the use of outdoor public spaces in two Chicago public housing developments. Ninety-six observations were collected of the presence and location of trees and the presence and location of youth and adults in semiprivate spaces at one high-rise and one low-rise public housing development....
Article
While it is no secret that environmental impact statements (EISs) are often difficult for citizens to read and comprehend, on research has examined the actual understanding citizens gain from reading an EIS. We presented the project description portion of an EIS for flood control measures on the Hickory Creek in Joliet, Illinois to 113 Joliet citiz...
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The focus of the series of studies reported here is on the effectiveness of handout maps as wayfinding aids for museum visitors, and on the importance of wayfinding to the quality of museum visitors' experiences. The design of the handout maps that were used in the studies was guided by a series of cognitively based principles that focus on the con...
Article
Three studies examined the nature and limiting conditions of effects of peer interaction on children's problem solving. 150 children (4 to 11 years old) worked alone or with a same-age peer at a computer. Age, task complexity, and task familiarity were found to qualify effects of peer interaction on both motivation and learning. At all ages, except...

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Projects

Projects (3)
Project
Determine whether green schoolyards boost standardized tests scores.
Project
Evaluate to what extent investments in local parks, urban forests, and other natural areas provide economic sustainability to communities.