Casualiteit relatie groen-gezondheid (KB-14-011-040)

Project: LNV project

Project Details


In the Netherlands, as well as in several other European countries, a positive association has been observed repeatedly between green space in the residential environment and human health and well-being. However, due to the cross-sectional nature of most studies, the causality of the observed relationships remains unclear, as do the process(es) or mechanism(s) by which (contact with) nature affects health and well-being positively. Consequently, it is not know which intervention in the green infrastructure of a city will be how effective in improving the health and well-being of which segment of the local population. To advance the knowledge on these topics, the latest scientific studies will be critically reviewed to see which answers, if any, they provide to the above questions.

The main results are:

- the total amount of green space in the residential environment seems to be more relevant than the distance to the nearest green area with a certain minimum size; this might have to do with the importance of variation in the supplied green space.

- besides the amount of green space also the amount of blue space (water surfaces) seems relevant, at least for one's mental health (more blue space is associated with better health)

- inhabitants of neighbourhoods with a low socioeconomic status have considerably less green space in their residential environment than those of neighbourhoods with a high socioeconomic status; at the same time other studies suggest that especially the the health and wellbeing of the first are likely to benefit from having green space nearby.

- in the Netherlands, the association between green space and health is weaker (or even absent) in very strongly urban municipalities than in e.g. (greener) moderately urban municipalities; it is unclear why this is the case.

- for the moment the question stands whether greening very strongly urban municipalities will result in an improved health of its inhabitants; moreover, even in situations where a positive association is observed, it is still unclear to what extent this association is causal in nature.

Effective start/end date1/01/1531/12/15


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