The significance of green spaces for protecting health of urban population

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B.A. Revich


Institute of Economic Forecasting of the Russian Academy of Sciences, 47 Nakhimovskii Ave., Moscow, 117418, Russian Federation


Green spaces (green infrastructure, green areas) are important components of urban environment. They are able to mitigate health outcomes of climatic risks, exposure to urbanization and adverse environmental factors. Bigger areas covered with plants should increase their accessibility for people living in cities. Analysis of the results reported in foreign studies that addressed influence of green spaces on public health proves that they promote physical activity by urban citizens, sports included, development of interpersonal communication and social interactions, improve mental health, and reduce prevalence of diabetes mellitus and other diseases.

In some cases massive construction of residential housing and public buildings in Russian megacities and large cities led to reduction in green areas. The existing construction standards in Russia do not consider the recommendation of the WHO/Europe that requires accessibility of green spaces within a 15–20 minute walking distance and provision of 9 m2 of green spaces per person. Utility of green spaces for public health depends on evenness of their distribution. In case their distribution is mosaic, their benefits for public health and protection capacities are reduced.

The present review shows the importance, needs and advantages of developing green infrastructure with continuous canopy that create potent green shading.

public health, mental health, obesity, health risks, diabetes, physical activity, green spaces, green infrastructure, city planning, urban studies, megacities
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