2003 volume 35(10) pages 1717 – 1731
doi:10.1068/a35111

Cite as:
de Vries S, Verheij R A, Groenewegen P P, Spreeuwenberg P, 2003, "Natural environments -- healthy environments? An exploratory analysis of the relationship between greenspace and health" Environment and Planning A 35(10) 1717 – 1731

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Natural environments -- healthy environments? An exploratory analysis of the relationship between greenspace and health

Sjerp de Vries, Robert A Verheij, Peter P Groenewegen, Peter Spreeuwenberg

Received 23 April 2002; in revised form 10 February 2003

Abstract. Are people living in greener areas healthier than people living in less green areas? This hypothesis was empirically tested by combining Dutch data on the self-reported health of over 10 000 people with land-use data on the amount of greenspace in their living environment. In the multilevel analysis we controlled for socioeconomic and demographic characteristics, as well as urbanity. Living in a green environment was positively related to all three available health indicators, even stronger than urbanity at the municipal level. Analyses on subgroups showed that the relationship between greenspace and one of the health indicators was somewhat stronger for housewives and the elderly, two groups that are assumed to be more dependent on, and therefore exposed to, the local environment. Furthermore, for all three health indicators the relationship with greenspace was somewhat stronger for lower educated people. Implications for policymaking and spatial planning are discussed briefly.

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