Women living in greener spaces have lower mortality rates. James and his colleagues report that “Green, natural environments may ameliorate adverse environmental exposures (e.g., air pollution, noise, and extreme heat), increase physical activity and social engagement, and lower stress. . . . Using data from the U.S.-based Nurses’ Health Study prospective cohort, we defined cumulative average time-varying seasonal greenness surrounding each participant’s address using satellite imagery. . . .We followed 108,630 women and observed 8,604 deaths between 2000 and 2008. . . .
Kotabe, Kardan, and Berman studied how the appeal of viewed nature is influenced by the disorder present in it. They share that “Natural environments have powerful aesthetic appeal linked to their capacity for psychological restoration. In contrast, disorderly environments are aesthetically aversive, and have various detrimental psychological effects.
Vegetation cover and mental health are related
A press release from the University of Iowa indicates it is important to provide street crossing aids, such as lights that signal pedestrians when it is safe to cross, at locations where children under 14 are likely to need to move from one side of a street to the other. Researchers determined that “children under certain ages lack the perceptual judgment and motor skills to cross a busy road consistently without putting themselves in danger.” In a realistic simulated environment “Children up to their early teenage years had difficulty consistently crossing the street safely, with acciden
A study published in Applied Geography links well-kept vacant lots and lower crime levels. Researchers found that “Maintaining the yards of vacant properties helps reduce crime rates in urban neighborhoods.” Data were collected over 9 years in Flint, Michigan: “’We’ve always had a sense that maintaining these properties helps reduce crime and the perception of crime,’ said Christina Kelly, the land bank’s [Genesee County Land Bank Authority] planning and neighborhood revitalization director.
Won, Lee, and Li studied links between walkability and foreclosure spillover effects (such as property prices declining near foreclosures). They determined that “property values in walkable neighborhoods were less subject to foreclosure spillover, but this was only significant for middle/high-income neighborhoods. Walkable neighborhoods were shown to offer more advantages in maintaining neighborhood stability during the recovery of 2013 than in the market crash of 2010.
Researchers studied ties between neighborhood noise levels and body mass index. Their study “links the sounds of all-night car horn blasts and shouting by bar revelers in New York City’s noisiest neighborhoods to unexplained improvements in body weight and blood pressure for the urban poor living there. ‘To be clear, we’re not saying that neighborhood noise causes better health, and a lot of further research is needed to explain the relationship we found between this kind of disturbance and health,’ says senior study investigator and NYU Langone epidemiologist Dustin Duncan, ScD.
Living near a major road may harm our mental wellbeing
Zuniga-Teran and her team have extensively investigated how neighborhood design influences physical activity and wellbeing. They studied “four types of neighborhood designs: traditional development [these include homes and accessible commercial spaces], suburban development, enclosed [gated] community, and cluster housing development [which generally preserve natural/green spaces and include townhouse-type homes], and assess their level of walkability and their effects on physical activity and wellbeing. . . . traditional development showed . . .
Brookfield probed how resident preferences align with neighborhood design elements that have been tied to walkability. She found, after conducting focus groups with eleven residents’ groups with diverse sets of participants, that “Residents’ groups favoured providing a selection of services and facilities addressing a local need, such as a corner shop, within a walkable distance, but not the immediate vicinity, of housing. . . .