A recent study examined whether the shape of parks impacts on the health benefits of urban green space.
Research has demonstrated that urban green space has positive effects on health. However, a recent study has found that the shape of urban green space can influence the mortality risk of residents. The results were published in the journal The Lancet Planetary Health.
In the study, researchers analyzed high-resolution landcover data of Philadelphia and measured the greenness, fragmentation, connectedness, aggregation, and shape of green space, as well as assessed mortality due to different reasons for 369 census tracts.
Researchers noted a clear and consistent protective effect of green space spatial patterns on mortality. For example, residents who lived in areas with more complex-shaped, aggregated, and connected green spaces had a lower risk of death from heart disease, chronic lower respiratory disease, and neoplasms.
There was no association of mortality risk with any particular form of green space, but the data was strongly related to the idea of irregularly shaped parks.
“We showed that the complexity of the park shape was positively associated with a lower risk of mortality,” said Huaquing Wang, an Urban and Regional Science PhD student. “This association might be attributable to the increased number of access points provided by complex-shaped green spaces.”
It is suggested by investigators that people have to spend longer time inside green spaces to get benefits of phytoncides and microbial inputs produced by plants, and more complex-shaped parks might provide a variety of necessary facilities and desired activities, making residents more likely to walk into green spaces and stay for a longer time.
Researchers hope that the recently discovered health benefits of urban green space in relation to their shape will help in promoting health. In addition, it might be an important and fiscally accessible strategy for city designers and planners in the creation of a healthier living environment.
Written by Anna Otvodenko
Wang, H. and Tassinary, L. (2019). Effects of greenspace morphology on mortality at the neighbourhood level: a cross-sectional ecological study. The Lancet Planetary Health, 3(11), pp.e460-e468.
EurekAlert!. (2019). Scholars find that irregularly shaped parks reduce mortality risk. [online] Available at: https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2019-11/tau-sft112719.php [Accessed 28 Nov. 2019].
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