Keijzer and colleagues set out to confirm the health benefits of living near greenspaces. They determined that “More residential surrounding greenspace was associated with lower risk of metabolic syndrome. . . . Metabolic syndrome is an important risk factor for non-communicable diseases, particularly type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, and stroke. . . . The present longitudinal study was based on data from four clinical examinations between 1997 and 2013 in 6076 participants of the Whitehall II study, UK (aged 45–69 years at baseline).
Glasgow and teammates evaluated mood during travel by contacting people periodically during their journeys via their phones. The researchers found that “Mood differed as a function of exposure to various built and natural environments. . . . Positive mood was higher for pedestrians and for bicyclists [than for people engaged in motorized travel]. . . . Interpersonal conversation during trips was associated with more positive mood. . . . Errand trips were associated with more negative mood compared to other trips. . .
Crucial resource for designing in walkability
Zuniga-Teran lead a team which determined that parks are used more when the routes potential users would take to them are more walkable. The investigators found that “Walkable neighborhoods may predict a higher frequency of greenspace use. Walking as a mode to reach greenspace may predict higher frequency of greenspace visitation. Driving as a mode to reach greenspace may predict lower frequency of use of greenspace. Proximity to greenspace may not predict the frequency of greenspace visitation for residents. . .
Benita, Bansal, and Tuncer set out to learn more about the emotions people feel in public spaces. They specifically probed momentary subjective wellbeing (M-SWB). During the data collection process, students (age 7 to 18) “wore a sensor for one week, and happy moments were captured as well as geospatial and environmental data throughout the country. This is a large-scale in-the-wild user study. The findings provide weak empirical evidence that visiting parks and community centers increase the probability of experiencing M-SWB compared with commercial areas. . . .
How are crime and the amount of walking done in that area related? Foster and teammates found that “Interrelationships between neighborhood walkability, area disadvantage, and crime may contribute to the inconsistent associations between crime and walking. . . . Participants . . . from 200 neighborhoods spanning the most and least disadvantaged in Brisbane, Australia, completed a questionnaire and objective measures were generated for the individual-level 1,000-m neighborhood. . . .
Bellet studied the implications of building large new homes in neighborhoods. He reports that “Despite a major upscaling of single-family houses since 1980, house satisfaction has remained steady in American suburbs. . . . Combining data from the American Housing Surveys with a geolocalised dataset of three million suburban houses, I find that new constructions at the top of the house size distribution lower the satisfaction that neighbors derive from their own house size.
Douglas, Russell, and Scott add to the body of research on resident responses to neighborhoods. They report that “Data [used in their analyses] are drawn from a household survey questionnaire completed by 483 residents living in three neighbourhoods in Dublin, Ireland – an inner city neighbourhood, a suburb and a peri-urban settlement. Positive perceptions of green and open space were identified as important predictors of high levels of neighbourhood satisfaction, surpassed only by dwelling characteristics.
Van Assche and colleagues investigated why people move from one neighborhood to another, and their findings have broad implications for planning. The researchers report that “Previous research has shown that neighborhood (dis)satisfaction is an important determinant for individuals' moving intentions. Attempts by policy makers to boost neighborhood satisfaction, and hence reduce the exodus of people out of particular neighborhoods, have often involved physical interventions and development projects, such as new parks or infrastructure. . . . we consider this issue . . .
Park probed factors linked to park use.