Bringing Cities to Life: The Relationship Between Urban Greenspace and Mental Wellbeing
PHE ePoster Library. Houlden V. 09/12/19; 274350; 157
Dr. Victoria Houlden
Dr. Victoria Houlden
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Abstract Introduction
With half the world's population living in cities, residents may be cut off from the natural landscapes in which humans evolved and are best adapted to. Exposure to nature may benefit mental health by restoring attention, reducing stress, and promoting happiness, and in urban environments is generally facilitated through provision of parks, gardens, and other greenspace. Planning guidelines recommend that all urban residents should have access to a natural greenspace within 300m of their home. This research was designed to test the soundness of this guideline, by investigating the association between greenspace types, accessibility, and mental wellbeing. Methods: Using Annual Population Survey data on 25,000 London residents, mental wellbeing was measured across three domains: life satisfaction, sense of worth, and happiness. Greenspace shape files from Greenspace Information for Greater London were used to calculate the amount of greenspace around individuals' homes. Spatial regression models predicted mental wellbeing from greenspace characteristics.
Positive and statistically significant associations were observed between 300m greenspace mental wellbeing in fully-adjusted models, which depreciated in strength as the buffer size increased. Stratifying by type, natural greenspaces showed the strongest associations with life satisfaction and happiness.
Natural greenspace may be important for mental wellbeing, and proximity to greenspace may promote this association. Greenspace should continue to be maintained in urban environments to allow residents to connect with and benefit from nature, and potentially improve mental wellbeing. External funding details This research was supported by EPSRC funding, grant: EP/LO16400/1
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