Nature-based strategies for improving urban health and safety
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Journal of Urban Health. 92(5): 800-814.
Place-based programs are being noticed as key opportunities to prevent disease and promote public health and safety for populations at-large. As one key type of place-based intervention, nature-based and green space strategies can play an especially large role in improving health and safety for dwellers in urban environments such as US legacy cities that lack nature and greenery. In this paper, we describe the current understanding of place-based influences on public health and safety. We focus on nonchemical environmental factors, many of which are related to urban abandonment and blight. We then review findings from studies of nature-based interventions regarding impacts on health, perceptions of safety, and crime. Based on our findings, we suggest that further research in this area will require (1) refined measures of green space, nature, and health and safety for cities, (2) interdisciplinary science and cross-sector policy collaboration, (3) observational studies as well as randomized controlled experiments and natural experiments using appropriate spatial counterfactuals and mixed methods, and (4) return-on-investment calculations of potential economic, social, and health costs and benefits of urban greening initiatives.
KeywordsUrban nature, Green space, Place-based interventions, Public health, Crime
Kondo, Michelle C.; South, Eugenia C.; Branas, Charles C. 2015. Nature-based strategies for improving urban health and safety. Journal of Urban Health. 92(5): 800-814. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11524-015-9983-y.