The health benefits of nature: Progress and gaps in knowledge

Authors: Amber Pearson*, Michigan State University
Topics: Medical and Health Geography, Environment, Urban Geography
Keywords: green space; blue space; visual; parks; mental health; post-industrial
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/13/2018
Start / End Time: 5:20 PM / 7:00 PM
Room: Jackson, Marriott, 5th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

The last decade has seen mounting evidence to suggest that the presence of natural environments in urban neighborhoods is associated with health benefits. Most of these studies assume that living near a green (eg park) or blue (eg ocean) space renders benefits - including increased physical activity, lower blood pressure and improved mental health. However, there are still many gaps in our knowledge in terms of pathways from exposure to health benefit. Often neglected are the potential negative aspects of green/blue spaces. Geography has an important role to play in quantifying individual-level variation in visual and auditory exposures to natural environments in order to understand relationships with health. Here, I review some recent methodological advances to begin to understand visual exposures to nature, highlight findings so far, and conclude with future directions.

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