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    Author(s): Kathleen L. Wolf
    Date: 2017
    Source: Arborist News. 26(4): 40–43.
    Publication Series: Magazines or Trade Publications
    Station: Pacific Northwest Research Station
    PDF: Download Publication  (271.0 KB)


    This 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. The article begins with a historical overview of the evolution of infrastructure systems in cities, spanning the time from ‘filthy cities’ to implementation of grey infrastructure to contemporary green infrastructure innovations. It promotes an outlook of co-design for co-benefits, describing the notion that infrastructure systems that are designed primarily to manage stormwater quality and materials movement can also integrate evidence-based principles about how to enhance human health and wellness. In this way nature-based settings can become a social determinant of public health and wellness. The article offers suggestions for integrating nearly 40 years of research findings into evidence-based urban planning and design, and addresses health response at multiple scales: environmental fitness, wellness support across communities, supportive spaces, healing places, and aesthetics and amenity. The article content about nature and health outcomes 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), that is a research synthesis, science delivery product intended for professional and manager audiences.

    Publication Notes

    • Visit PNW's Publication Request Page to request a hard copy of this publication.
    • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.


    Wolf, Kathleen L. 2017. The sanitary to sustainable city: place, health, and trees. Arborist News. 26(4): 40–43.


    Urban forestry, human health, ecosystem services, urban natural resources stewardship, urban planning, history.

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