Special Issue "Landscapes and Human Health"
A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Environmental Health".
Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 May 2017).
As urbanization increases around the world and fewer and fewer people have easy access to completely natural places, there is a growing need to understand how the landscapes we design and inhabit impact our health and wellbeing. Over the past 30 years, we have come to understand that exposure to nature, even urban nature, impacts human’s capacity to pay attention, recover from stressful events, and form stronger social ties among neighbors. Still, a number of pressing questions remain.
Some of these questions concern exposure to nature in built settings. What type of nature most effectively promotes health? What concentration or density of nearby nature is necessary to promote health? What exposure pathways (visual versus tactile? direct versus through a window versus on a screen?) effectively promote health?
Some of these questions concern the health outcomes of such exposure. We have empirical associations between exposure to nature and birth weight, heart disease, and depression. But these findings are tentative, hard to explain, and in need of further research. Moreover, for each of these outcomes, we do not know the dose–repose relationship that quantify the benefits of nearby nature. We also need a deeper understanding of the mechanisms through which the health benefits are produced.
Some questions center around who benefits from various forms of exposure to nearby nature. Are the health benefits of exposure to nearby nature consistent across a life span? Or are there various ages when nature exposure is more or less important? How do ethnic and cultural groups respond to varying exposures to nearby nature?
Finally, we know that people prefer and benefit from greener urban landscapes, but we understand little about the impact of ecologically healthy landscapes on human health and well-being. Biologically diverse, native landscapes contribute a great deal to the overall ecological integrity and resilience of a setting, but to what extent do these aspects of healthy landscapes also promote human health?
This Special Issue is open to these and similar questions related to the impacts of exposure to urban nature on public health. The listed keywords below suggest just a few of the many possibilities.
William C. Sullivan
Manuscript Submission Information
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- built environment
- green infrastructure
- urban forests
- green space
- mental health
- physical activity