Urban Environment

Green Space and Cognitive Function (05-12-22)

Jimenez and colleagues found a link between exposure to green space and higher levels of cognitive functioning. They report that, using data from 13,594 women (mean age 61), they determined that “increasing green space was associated with higher scores of overall cognition and psychomotor speed/attention. In contrast, there was no association between green space and learning/working memory. . . . Green space can decelerate cognitive decline by supporting physical activity, psychological restoration, or reducing exposure to air pollution. . . .

Walkability and Health (04-15-22)

Research by Wali and teammates confirms that walkability boosts health.  They share that they examined “high resolution data for 476 participants in the Rails and Health study on health care costs, mode specific MVPA[ moderate-to-vigorous physical activity], parcel-level built environment, and neighborhood perception surveys. . . .  A 1% increase in bike, walk, and transit-related MVPA was associated with lower health care costs by −0.28%, −0.09%, and −0.27% respectively. A one-unit increase in neighborhood walkability index correlates with a 6.48% reduction in health care costs. . . .

Green Space and Healthcare Costs (03-29-22)

Work by a research team lead by Van Den Eeden provides additional evidence that living near green spaces is good for our health.  The team reports that they “sought to determine if residential green cover was also associated with direct healthcare costs. We linked residential Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) satellite data for 5,189,303 [people] . . . to direct individual healthcare costs for 2003–2015. . . . we examined the association between direct healthcare costs and green cover within 250, 500, and 1000 meters (m) of an individual’s residence. . . .

Changing Neighborhood Temperatures (03-28-22)

Research indicates that urban design is affecting neighborhood temperatures.  A study conducted in Australia by Rouhollahi, Boland, and others determined that “New housing subdivisions, smaller yards and a dependence on air conditioning have resulted in a 30 per cent decline in Australian residential trees in the past decade, leading to hotter neighbourhoods and increased energy costs.”

Green Areas and Strokes (03-22-22)

Living near a green area has been linked to less likelihood of having a stroke.  Researchers report that “The risk of suffering an ischaemic stroke, the most common type of cerebrovascular event, is 16% less in people who have green spaces less than 300 metres from their homes. . . . The study took into account information on exposure to three atmospheric pollutants linked to vehicle traffic. . . . The results indicate a direct relationship between increased levels of NO2 in the atmosphere and the risk of ischaemic stroke.


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