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The health benefits of small parks and green spacesAuthor(s): Kathleen Wolf
Source: Parks & Recreation. 52(4): 28-29.
Publication Series: Magazines or Trade Publications
Station: Pacific Northwest Research Station
PDF: Download Publication (262.0 KB)
DescriptionThis magazine article is an informal review of a wide range of research, spanning multiple decades, concerning human health benefits derived from experiences of nearby nature in urbanized places. The actionable information is aimed at professional and manager audiences who may have an interest in urban design and planning, as well as urban forestry. Urban parks range in scale from large regional parks that are destinations for recreation, to local parks that contain natural areas and sports facilities, to small parks that serve a specific community or neighborhood, including pocket parks. Acquiring large parcels for new parks is difficult or expensive in many cities. Innovative strategies can be used in a sites-to-systems approach that optimizes the use of small parcels, green infrastructure, and green streets to provide nature-based human health benefits. A framework of mental health benefits is presented, including Improved Mood and Attitude, Stress Reduction, Better Mental Functioning, Improved Mindfulness and Creativity, and Building Social Capital. In addition, the article offers suggestions for integrating the research findings into evidence-based urban planning and design. The article content was derived from the Green Cities: Good Health web site, a cooperative project of the USDA Forest Service (Research and S&P deputy areas) and University of Washington (Seattle), and is a research synthesis, science delivery product intended for professional and manager audiences.
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CitationWolf, Kathleen L. 2017. The health benefits of small parks and green spaces. Parks & Recreation. 52(4): 28-29.
KeywordsHealth, urban design, planning.
- Trees, jobs, health and equity in the urban forest
- Nature for human health and wellness
- The sanitary to sustainable city: place, health, and trees
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