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Irregularly shaped parks reduce mortality risk

Irregularly shaped parks reduce mortality risk

Some community parks are square, reflecting the city block where they are located — but irregularly shaped parks reduce the mortality risk of residents who live nearby, according to a study conducted by Huaquing Wang, a Ph.D. student in Urban and Regional Sciences, and Lou Tassinary, professor of visualization.

“Nearly all studies investigating the effects of natural environments on human health are focused on the amount of a community’s green space,” said the scholars in a paper describing their project. “We found that the shape or form of green space has an important role in this association.”

Wang and Tassinary conducted statistical studies on Philadelphia land cover data in order to examine the relationships between landscape spatial indicators and health outcomes. Residents in census tracts with more linked, aggregated, and complex-shaped greenspaces had a reduced mortality risk, according to the researchers.

This is a drawing of different shaped parks
They found that residents in census tracts with more connected, aggregated, and complex-shaped greenspaces had a lower mortality risk. The image is credited to Texas A&M.

Residents who live in urban areas with a higher total percentage of green space and a larger mean area of greenspace appear to have a lower risk of all-cause mortality, and lower fragmentation of greenspace, better connectivity and aggregation of greenspace distribution, and increased complexity of greenspace shape also appear to lower the risk of deaths from heart disease, chronic lower respiratory disease, and stroke. These substantial relationships were discovered through the examination of high-resolution landcover data, recognized (but largely unknown) landscape measures, and genuine health outcomes from credible data sources.

“Our results suggest that linking existing parks with greenways or adding new, connected parks might be fiscally accessible strategies for promoting health.”

The link between park form and mortality is significant for city planners and designers who want to promote better living environments. Nonetheless, the majority of specialists who have studied the links between greenspace and health have found that the relationships are complicated. At least two possible processes need further investigation. For starters, the shape of greenspace may influence the chance of inhabitants coming into contact with natural components in their everyday lives. Greenspace exposure has previously been related to enhanced cognition, less stress, shorter hospital admissions, greater physical activity, less obesity, and better sleep quality, and improved cardiovascular health.

See Also

Effects of greenspace morphology on mortality at the neighborhood level: a cross-sectional ecological study, Huaqing Wang, Prof Louis G Tassinary

Published: November 2019
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/S2542-5196(19)30217-7

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