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Value of urban green spaces in promoting healthy living and wellbeing: prospects for planning

Authors Lee ACK, Jordan HC, Horsley J

Received 15 May 2015

Accepted for publication 18 June 2015

Published 27 August 2015 Volume 2015:8 Pages 131—137

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/RMHP.S61654

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Professor Frank Papatheofanis

Andrew Chee Keng Lee,1 Hannah C Jordan,1 Jason Horsley2

1Section of Public Health, School of Health and Related Research, University of Sheffield, 2Sheffield City Council, Sheffield, UK

Abstract: There has been considerable work done in recent years exploring the value of urban green space for health and wellbeing. Urban green spaces provide environmental benefits through their effects on negating urban heat, offsetting greenhouse gas emissions, and attenuating storm water. They also have direct health benefits by providing urban residents spaces for physical activity and social interaction, and allowing psychological restoration to take place. Consequently, there is a real need to understand the mechanisms by which these benefits accrue. Previously, much of the focus has been on the characteristics of the urban green space that are likely to influence its use, such as its accessibility, quality, facilities, attractiveness, and security. This assumes a causal relationship, when in reality the relationship is more complex and multifactorial. It is more likely that it is the functionality of the green space, be it for exercise or sociocultural activities, rather than its character, which translates to the reported benefits. Challenges exist, such as competing urban planning priorities, economic considerations, and market forces. There is thus a need for urban planning to match the health benefits sought with the needs of the community and the functionality that the urban green space will serve.

Keywords: urban green space, public open space, urban planning, public health
 

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