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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(3), 331; doi:10.3390/ijerph13030331

Life Course, Green Space and Health: Incorporating Place into Life Course Epidemiology

1
Centre for Research on Environment, Society and Health, School of GeoSciences, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, Scotland EH8 9XP, UK
2
Centre for Research on Environment, Society and Health, Institute of Health and Wellbeing, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, Scotland G12 8RZ, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Agnes van den Berg and Jenny Roe
Received: 30 November 2015 / Revised: 1 March 2016 / Accepted: 14 March 2016 / Published: 17 March 2016
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Abstract

Researchers interested in the relationships between place and health have been slow to incorporate a life course perspective, probably due to the lack of readily available historical environmental data. This hinders the identification of causal relationships. It also restricts our understanding as to whether there are accumulative effects over the life course and if there are critical periods in people’s lives when places are particularly pertinent. This study considers the feasibility of constructing longitudinal data on the availability of urban green space. The suitability of various historical and contemporary data sources is considered, including paper maps, aerial photographs and tabular land use data. Measures of urban green space are created for all neighbourhoods across the Edinburgh region of Scotland at various points during the past 100 years. We demonstrate that it is feasible to develop such measures, but there are complex issues involved in doing so. We also test the utility of the measures via an analysis of how accessibility to green space might alter over the life course of both people, and their residential neighbourhoods. The findings emphasise the potential for utilising historical data to significantly enhance understanding of the relationships between nature and health, and between health and place more generally. We encourage researchers to use data from other locations to consider including a longitudinal perspective to examine relationships between people’s health and their environment. View Full-Text
Keywords: health; place; green space; environment; life course; health inequalities health; place; green space; environment; life course; health inequalities
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Pearce, J.; Shortt, N.; Rind, E.; Mitchell, R. Life Course, Green Space and Health: Incorporating Place into Life Course Epidemiology. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13, 331.

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