Countries and regions with a lot of gun violence may want to note that the simple act of providing more green space in urban areas can reduce gun-related crime. In the USA (ranked ninth globally for gun deaths per capita) researchers have found that converting unused lots into parks has had a positive effect on peace!
A new study, published online this week in the American Journal of Epidemiology, offers some of the more promising evidence. Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania studied a 10-year project in Philadelphia to convert vacant lots into park space. They found that gun-related assaults significantly declined in areas around the lots that had been greened. Vandalism and criminal mischief also significantly fell off.
Residents in some areas around these newly converted green spaces also reported feeling less stress and getting more exercise – presumably some of the byproducts of a neighborhood reclaiming its streets from crime.
Read more at The Atlantic Cities.
Kids love playing in parks, in fact, I still enjoy playing in a park. Some new research points out that neighbourhoods that have parks are more likely to have healthier residents than neighbourhoods without parks. The moral of this story is that parks should be common in more places because parks are healthy for us.
Exposure to grassy areas has also been linked to less stress and a lower body mass index among adults. And an analysis of 3,000 Tokyo residents associated walkable green spaces with greater longevity among senior citizens. Glass cautions that most studies don’t necessarily prove a causal link between greenness and health, but they’re nonetheless helping spur action. In September the U.S. House of Representatives approved the delightfully named No Child Left Inside Act to encourage public initiatives aimed at exposing kids to the outdoors.
Finding green space is, of course, not always easy, and you may have to work a bit to get your family a little grass and trees. If you live in a suburb or a city with good parks, take advantage of what’s there. Your children in particular will love it â€” and their bodies and minds will thank you