Green spaces in cities can help people live longer
Urban green space is important for staving off premature death
Posted on 13.12.2019
Some 63% of people in the United States live in cities.
Some cities are greener than others — Philadelphia, for example, has a long history of urban greening and is even looking to bump up its 20% of green space — and northern cities tend to have less green space than southern ones.
Now, the World Health Organization (WHO) are looking to highlight the importance of green space in well-being and public health.
Urban green spaces such as parks, sports fields, woods, lakesides, and gardens give people the space for physical activity, relaxation, peace, and an escape from heat. Multiple studiesTrusted Source have shown that these spaces reduce stress and boost mental and physical health.
Green spaces are also associated with better air quality, reduced traffic noise, cooler temperatures, and greater diversity.
Furthermore, recent estimates put around 3.3% of global deaths down to a lack of physical activity, mostly as a result of poor walkability and limited access to recreational areas.
However, many of these studies have only looked at a particular point in time and have varied in how they measured people’s use of green space.
Now, the most comprehensive review to date has analyzed nine longitudinal studies spanning seven countries, 8 million people, and several years of follow-up.
“The study shows that green space in cities reduces premature mortality,” explained Dr. Mark Nieuwenhuijsen, director of Urban Planning, Environment, and Health Initiative at ISGlobal.
“Cities often don’t have much green space,” he added. “Green space is also good for climate mitigation through reducing heat island effects in cities and reducing air pollution effects.”
Beyond being key to public health and preventing premature death, researchers cite the increase in biodiversity and mitigation of climate change as compelling reasons to bump up green spaces and make cities more sustainable and livable.
Medical News Today
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