Latham and Clarke investigated the relationship between neighborhood design and the recovery of older people from mobility related injuries. As might be expected, they learned “Using longitudinal data from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS; 1996–2008) . . . .
Environmental psychologists established long ago that walking in green spaces is psychologically restorative. Research in the UK with portable EEG machines has quantified that benefit: “a body of restorative literature focuses on the potential benefits to emotional recovery from stress offered by green space and 'soft fascination'’ . . . .
Per capita productivity increases as cities grow. Why? A research team has shown that when the populations of cities grow, people living there have more opportunities to interact face-to-face as travel infrastructure improves and this enhances performance.
Urban trees have been shown to have mental health and economic benefits in the past (urban trees are also discussed at https://researchdesignconnections.com/pub/oasis-effect-small-parks-and-u...). New research by the United States Forest service quantifies this effect. Researchers determined that urban trees “store an estimated 708 million tons of carbon, an environmental service with an estimated value of $50 billion . . . .
Research continues to pour in indicating that green spaces in urban environments are a good idea. White, Alcock, Wheeler, and Depledge found that “People who live in urban areas with more green space tend to report greater well-being than city dwellers who don’t have parks, gardens, or other green space nearby. . . . Examining data from a national longitudinal survey of households in the United Kingdom, . . .
New research provides further support for including gardens in urban plans. Researchers from Utah found that “People who participate in community gardening have a significantly lower body mass index—as well as lower odds of being overweight or obese—than do their non-gardening neighbors . . . . ‘It has been shown previously that community gardens can provide a variety of social and nutritional benefits to neighborhoods,’ says Cathleen Zick, lead author of the study and professor of family and consumer studies at the University of Utah.
Steven Farber and others from the University of Utah investigated how city design influences socializing. Using data from the 42 largest cities in the United States they found that “Long commute times and urban areas that leapfrog over open space make it harder for people to socialize, but cities that are decentralized are even worse . . . ‘We found that decentralization has 10 times the negative impact of fragmentation, and 20 times that of longer commute times,’ says Steven Farber, assistant professor of geography at the university.
New research on crime prevention through environmental design (CPTED) dovetails with previous findings. (For related information, see https://researchdesignconnections.com/pub/how-can-design-help-prevent-crime.) Mennis and Wolfe found that in cities “vegetation, when well-maintained, can lower the rates of certain types of crime, such as aggravated assault, robbery and burglary. . . . the presence of grass, trees and shrubs is associated with lower crime rates in Philadelphia . . .
Research has shown that walking is good for our physical health and mental performance, but how can design encourage people to take a stroll? (For more information on walking see encouraging walking at work). Researchers at the University of Melbourne set our to answer that question and found “Residents of new housing developments increased their exercise and their wellbeing when they had more access to shops and parks. . . .
Researchers have learned that people living in urban environments don’t seem to concentrate as well as those living in more rural areas and it is unclear if design can help correct this situation. As Goldsmiths, University of London reports “People living in urbanised environments are less able to concentrate on the task in hand than people who live in remote areas . . . . A study led by Dr.