Monday, November 12, 2012

How Do Trees in Cities Affect Mortality?

Urban nature: Human psychological and community health(22 page pdf, Matsuoka, R. & Sullivan, W.C., In Douglas, I. & Goode, D., Houck, M., & Wang, R. (Eds), The Routledge handbook of urban ecology, 2011)

Also discussed here: Trees Are a Matter of Life and Death(The Dirt, American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), Nov. 1, 2012)

Some people link the presence of trees in cities with improved health because they assume a positive link with reducing high air pollution levels- which others find questionable, citing research that coniferous trees near traffic emit hazardous pollutants. Today we review an article that points to more substantive evidence that urban forests and parks reduce mortality especially among lower income groups because of beneficial
 social impacts lowering stress and reducing crime.


Key Quotes:

 “Everyday exposure to trees enhances your health now and promotes health across your entire lifespan,”

 “Social ties are what glues us together. And people with stronger social ties have better health outcomes.”

 “ social support buffers stress hormones, reduces blood pressure, increases chances of adopting healthy patterns, all of which lead to reduced mortality and morbidity rates and healthier lives”

 “Smaller spaces with trees were a big predictor of people hanging out.”

“[in Chicago] there was 52 percent less crime in high-tree density areas”

“For medium income group, the presence of trees means they “are less likely to die.” For low-income residents, green spaces means they are “much less likely to die.”

 “While big central parks matter, they are not enough. Too many people live in barren landscapes. A 30-40 percent tree cover adds a lot to health. We need trees at every doorstep.”
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