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      Advancing Sustainability through Urban Green Space: Cultural Ecosystem Services, Equity, and Social Determinants of Health

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          Abstract

          Urban green spaces provide an array of benefits, or ecosystem services, that support our physical, psychological, and social health. In many cases, however, these benefits are not equitably distributed across diverse urban populations. In this paper, we explore relationships between cultural ecosystem services provided by urban green space and the social determinants of health outlined in the United States Healthy People 2020 initiative. Specifically, we: (1) explore connections between cultural ecosystem services and social determinants of health; (2) examine cultural ecosystem services as nature-based health amenities to promote social equity; and (3) recommend areas for future research examining links between urban green space and public health within the context of environmental justice.

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          Most cited references 114

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          Promoting ecosystem and human health in urban areas using Green Infrastructure: A literature review

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            The significance of parks to physical activity and public health: a conceptual model.

            Park-based physical activity is a promising means to satisfy current physical activity requirements. However, there is little research concerning what park environmental and policy characteristics might enhance physical activity levels. This study proposes a conceptual model to guide thinking and suggest hypotheses. This framework describes the relationships between park benefits, park use, and physical activity, and the antecedents/correlates of park use. In this classification scheme, the discussion focuses on park environmental characteristics that could be related to physical activity, including park features, condition, access, aesthetics, safety, and policies. Data for these categories should be collected within specific geographic areas in or around the park, including activity areas, supporting areas, the overall park, and the surrounding neighborhood. Future research should focus on how to operationalize specific measures and methodologies for collecting data, as well as measuring associations between individual physical activity levels and specific park characteristics. Collaboration among many disciplines is needed.
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              The impacts of nature experience on human cognitive function and mental health.

              Scholars spanning a variety of disciplines have studied the ways in which contact with natural environments may impact human well-being. We review the effects of such nature experience on human cognitive function and mental health, synthesizing work from environmental psychology, urban planning, the medical literature, and landscape aesthetics. We provide an overview of the prevailing explanatory theories of these effects, the ways in which exposure to nature has been considered, and the role that individuals' preferences for nature may play in the impact of the environment on psychological functioning. Drawing from the highly productive but disparate programs of research in this area, we conclude by proposing a system of categorization for different types of nature experience. We also outline key questions for future work, including further inquiry into which elements of the natural environment may have impacts on cognitive function and mental health; what the most effective type, duration, and frequency of contact may be; and what the possible neural mechanisms are that could be responsible for the documented effects. © 2012 New York Academy of Sciences.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Role: Academic Editor
                Role: Academic Editor
                Role: Academic Editor
                Journal
                Int J Environ Res Public Health
                Int J Environ Res Public Health
                ijerph
                International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
                MDPI
                1661-7827
                1660-4601
                05 February 2016
                February 2016
                : 13
                : 2
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Southern Research Station, Integrating Human and Natural Systems, USDA Forest Service, 320 Green Street, Athens, GA 30602, USA
                [2 ]Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Management, Clemson University, Clemson, SC 29634, USA; lrl@ 123456clemson.edu
                [3 ]Department of Science, Technology and International Affairs, Georgetown University, Washington, DC 20057, USA; jjy24@ 123456georgetown.edu
                Author notes
                [* ]Correspondence: vjennings02@ 123456fs.fed.us ; Tel.: +1-706-559-4274; Fax: +1-706-559-4266
                [†]

                These authors contributed equally to this work.

                Article
                ijerph-13-00196
                10.3390/ijerph13020196
                4772216
                26861365
                © 2016 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

                This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons by Attribution (CC-BY) license ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

                Categories
                Article

                Public health

                urban health, ecosystem services, green space, nature, parks, public health

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