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Ongoing project

Greener cities, healthier lives: measuring the wider societal benefits (GC15005)

Key research provider: University of Wollongong

What’s it all about?

This project will provide the first systemic evidence on the health benefits of green space on people, from birth to older age. It will provide industry and policy makers with evidence-based research on the minimum threshold of local green space necessary for favourable health and societal outcomes through an investigation into five key research questions:

  1. Does a greener neighbourhood buffer the harms of air pollution to promote better pregnancy health outcomes and give children in urban areas a healthier start in life?
  2. Do adults in greener areas stay mentally healthy, keep slim and physically active over time, resulting in a lower risk of developing certain cancers and cardio-metabolic diseases such as type 2 diabetes?
  3. Do adults living in greener neighbourhoods visit general practitioners less, take fewer medications, stay out of hospital for longer and use fewer health sector dollars as a consequence?
  4. Does more green space translate into better educational outcomes because children are healthier and have spaces to grow socially, interact and be physically active?
  5. What types or features of green spaces are preferred by older adults, how do these preferences vary between social and cultural groups, and how do they manifest in terms of outdoor recreation?

This project is being delivered in line with the 202020 Vision – a collaborative initiative driven through the Hort Innovation Nursery Fund that is working to make Australia’s urban areas 20 per cent greener by 2020.