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Review

Nature-Based Citizen Science as a Mechanism to Improve Human Health in Urban Areas

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UniSA Clinical and Health Science, University of South Australia, GPO Box 2471, Adelaide, SA 5001, Australia
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School of Natural Sciences, University of Tasmania, Private Bag 55, Hobart, TAS 7001, Australia
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UniSA Allied Health and Human Performance, University of South Australia, GPO Box 2471, Adelaide, SA 5001, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Paul B. Tchounwou
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(1), 68; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19010068
Received: 19 October 2021 / Revised: 12 December 2021 / Accepted: 14 December 2021 / Published: 22 December 2021
The world is becoming increasingly urbanised, impacting human interactions with natural environments (NEs). NEs take a number of forms, ranging from pristine, modified, to built NEs, which are common in many urban areas. NEs may include nature-based solutions, such as introducing nature elements and biological processes into cities that are used to solve problems created by urbanisation. Whilst urbanisation has negative impacts on human health, impacting mental and physical wellbeing through a number of mechanisms, exposure to NEs may improve human health and wellbeing. Here, we review the mechanisms by which health can be improved by exposure to NEs, as explained by Stress Reduction Theory, Attention Restoration Theory, and the ‘Old Friends’/biodiversity hypothesis. Such exposures may have physiological and immunological benefits, mediated through endocrine pathways and altered microbiota. Citizen Science, which often causes exposure to NEs and social activity, is being increasingly used to not only collect scientific data but also to engage individuals and communities. Despite being a named component of scientific and environmental strategies of governments, to our knowledge, the intrinsic health benefits of Citizen Science in NEs do not form part of public health policy. We contend that Citizen Science programs that facilitate exposure to NEs in urban areas may represent an important public health policy advance. View Full-Text
Keywords: natural environments; urbanisation; public health; policy; Citizen Science natural environments; urbanisation; public health; policy; Citizen Science
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MDPI and ACS Style

Williams, C.R.; Burnell, S.M.; Rogers, M.; Flies, E.J.; Baldock, K.L. Nature-Based Citizen Science as a Mechanism to Improve Human Health in Urban Areas. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19, 68. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19010068

AMA Style

Williams CR, Burnell SM, Rogers M, Flies EJ, Baldock KL. Nature-Based Citizen Science as a Mechanism to Improve Human Health in Urban Areas. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2022; 19(1):68. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19010068

Chicago/Turabian Style

Williams, Craig R., Sophie M. Burnell, Michelle Rogers, Emily J. Flies, and Katherine L. Baldock. 2022. "Nature-Based Citizen Science as a Mechanism to Improve Human Health in Urban Areas" International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 19, no. 1: 68. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19010068

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