The Health Impact Assessment of greenspace guide offers an overview of the best available international scientific evidence on the health impacts (both positive and negative) of greenspace. The focus of the review was to identify and explore the links between greenspace and physical, mental and social health and wellbeing.
Key findings from the review include:
The evidence demonstrates a clear positive relationship between greenspaces and health, although the mechanisms which generate these positive effects are not always clear.
For physical exercise, the value of greenspaces as places to exercise is unquestionable. However, although people who use parks regularly appear to take more exercise, access to greenspace does not appear to be the key variable for explaining levels of physical exercise.
On mental health, there is compelling evidence for the restorative effects of greenspaces. But the evidence base is insufficient to answer more detailed questions about different spaces and populations.
In terms of social health, the review shows that greenspaces are one of the few remaining spaces that are available to all. Surveys show that greenspaces are important as places of memory, and are closely associated with neighbourhood identity.