Bundesamt für Naturschutz


Literatur NatGesIs

Vitamin G: effects of green space on health, well-being, and social safety




Groenewegen, P.P., van den Berg, A.E., de Vries, S., Verheij, R.A.




BioMed Central (BMC) Public Health


6 (149)


1 - 9


Background: Looking out on and being in the green elements of the landscape around us seem
to affect health, well-being and feelings of social safety. This article discusses the design of a research
program on the effects of green space in the living environment on health, well-being and social
Methods/design: The program consists of three projects at three different scales: at a macro
scale using data on the Netherlands as a whole, at an intermediate scale looking into the specific
effect of green space in the urban environment, and at micro scale investigating the effects of
allotment gardens. The projects are observational studies, combining existing data on land use and
health interview survey data, and collecting new data through questionnaires and interviews.
Multilevel analysis and GIS techniques will be used to analyze the data.
Discussion: Previous (experimental) research in environmental psychology has shown that a
natural environment has a positive effect on well-being through restoration of stress and
attentional fatigue. Descriptive epidemiological research has shown a positive relationship between
the amount of green space in the living environment and physical and mental health and longevity.
The program has three aims. First, to document the relationship between the amount and type of
green space in people's living environment and their health, well-being, and feelings of safety.
Second, to investigate the mechanisms behind this relationship. Mechanisms relate to exposure
(leading to stress reduction and attention restoration), healthy behavior and social integration, and
selection. Third, to translate the results into policy on the crossroads of spatial planning, public
health, and safety. Strong points of our program are: we study several interrelated dependent
variables, in different ordinary settings (as opposed to experimental or extreme settings), focusing
on different target groups, using appropriate multilevel methods.

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