World Health Organization evidence review: Urban green spaces and health

Extract from the WHO website

A new WHO report summarizing evidence on the health effects of green space in urban areas shows that green spaces offer numerous public health benefits, including psychological relaxation and stress reduction, enhanced physical activity and a potential reduction in exposure to – among other harmful urban factors – air pollution, noise and excessive heat. The report concludes that there is a need for both small, local green spaces situated very close to where people live and spend their day, and large green spaces that provide formal recreational facilities (such as playing fields) and opportunities to interact with nature.

The report also presents a toolkit for a geographic information system (GIS)-based approach to measuring urban green space. This provides cities with a way to calculate how many people have access to green spaces and to identify new areas where they can be established. WHO has already tested the tool in 3 European cities: Kaunas, Lithuania; Utrecht, Netherlands; and Malmö, Sweden. These case studies serve as examples of how to effectively use the tool to increase the benefits of green space for urban residents.

Download the report here.