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Individual Highlight

Advancing Sustainability through Urban Green Space: Cultural Ecosystem Services, Equity, and Social Determinants of Health

Photo of As urban natural resource stewardship is a priority at the Forest Service, it is critical to understand how the distribution of urban green spaces can influence public health amongst diverse communities. U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service.As urban natural resource stewardship is a priority at the Forest Service, it is critical to understand how the distribution of urban green spaces can influence public health amongst diverse communities. U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service.Snapshot : Although the benefits of urban forests, gardens, parks, and other green spaces have been documented, the nuances of this relationship continue to be explored. For example, the role of green spaces in the social aspects of public health are often overlooked. Forest Service scientists and their research partners are exploring the relationships between green spaces and the social factors that influence health.

Principal Investigators(s) :
Jennings, Viniece 
Research Station : Southern Research Station (SRS)
Year : 2016
Highlight ID : 1139

Summary

There is a pressing need to understand the role of urban green spaces on human health and well-being. Urban green spaces provide an array of benefits, or ecosystem services, that support physical, psychological, and social health. In many cases, however, these benefits are not equitably distributed across diverse urban populations. Forest Service scientists at the agency’s Southern Research Station have strategically connected this topic to frameworks in ecosystem services, social determinants of health, and environmental justice. The scientists explored relationships between urban green space and the social determinants of health; examined cultural ecosystem services as nature-based health amenities to promote social equity; and recommended that future research examines links between urban green space and public health within the context of environmental justice. Such insights can support the agency's mission to conserve open space and communicate the benefits of green spaces to researchers and the general public. It can also align Forest Service efforts with mutual public health interests outlined in Healthy People 2020, which is led by the U.S Department of Health and Human Services.

Forest Service Partners

External Partners

 
  • Clemson University