A range of bodies, including Government agencies, have promoted the potential physical and mental health benefits of having access to green spaces.
The evidence for physical and mental health benefits from contact with nature, such as reducing rates of non-communicable diseases is clear. So are the challenges for preserving and extending urban green spaces.
Key benefits include:
- Physical and mental illnesses associated with sedentary urban lifestyles are an increasing economic and social cost.
- Areas with more accessible green space are associated with better mental and physical health.
- The risk of mortality caused by cardiovascular disease is lower in residential areas that have higher levels of ‘greenness’.
- There is evidence that exposure to nature could be used as part of the treatment for some conditions.
- There are challenges to providing green spaces, such as how to make parks easily accessible and how to fund both their creation and maintenance.