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Urban Green Space: Creating a Triple Win for Environmental Sustainability, Health, and Health Equity through Behavior Change

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Centre for Sustainability, Environment and Health, RIVM, 3720 BA Bilthoven, The Netherlands
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Institute of Health Equity, UCL, London WC1E 7HB, UK
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Basque Centre for Climate Change (BC3), 48940 Leioa, Spain
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Instituto Universitário de Lisboa (ISCTE-IUL), CIS-IUL, 1649-026 Lisboa, Portugal
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European Centre for Environment and Human Health, University of Exeter Medical School, Truro TR1 3HD, UK
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Department of Economics, Universidad de Alcalá, Plaza de la Victoria, 2, E-28802 Alcalá de Henares, Spain
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Health Economics Group, University of Exeter Medical School, Exeter EX1 2LU, UK
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Department of Public Health Sciences, Stockholm University, Institutionen för folkhälsovetenskap, 106 91 Stockholm, Sweden
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Institute of Preventive Medicine Environmental & Occupational Health, Prolepsis, 7, Fragoklisias street, 151 25 Marousi, Greece
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EuroHealthNet, 1000 Brussels, Belgium
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(22), 4403; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16224403
Received: 30 September 2019 / Revised: 31 October 2019 / Accepted: 7 November 2019 / Published: 11 November 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue A More Sustainable and Healthier Future for All: What Works?)
Urbanization, costs of green space maintenance, and diminishing connection between people and nature all exert pressures on urban green space. This is regrettable as green space has the potential to create wins for environmental sustainability, health, and health equity. This paper explores this potential triple win and investigates how to increase the use of urban green space through behavior change. A narrative literature review was conducted and was supplemented with literature suggested by experts. Results show that creating well-designed green spaces and stimulating people to use them can indeed deliver this triple win. Providing accessible, attractive, well-maintained green space with room for socialization, and where people feel safe, may increase the opportunity and motivation of people to use it more often. Informing and educating people and organizing activities may increase capability (and motivation) to use green space. Since the use of green space depends on life stage, lifestyle factors and individual values, it is important to involve potential users in its design. We recommend a specific focus on those groups who may benefit most from the use of green space. More evaluation is needed to inform effective green space interventions and to assess related economic, social, and environmental benefits. View Full-Text
Keywords: green space; health; environmental sustainability; health equity; behavior change green space; health; environmental sustainability; health equity; behavior change
MDPI and ACS Style

Kruize, H.; van der Vliet, N.; Staatsen, B.; Bell, R.; Chiabai, A.; Muiños, G.; Higgins, S.; Quiroga, S.; Martinez-Juarez, P.; Aberg Yngwe, M.; Tsichlas, F.; Karnaki, P.; Lima, M.L.; García de Jalón, S.; Khan, M.; Morris, G.; Stegeman, I. Urban Green Space: Creating a Triple Win for Environmental Sustainability, Health, and Health Equity through Behavior Change. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16, 4403.

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