Toward improved public health outcomes from urban nature

Danielle F. Shanahan, Brenda B. Lin, Robert Bush, Kevin J. Gaston, Julie H. Dean, Elizabeth Barber, Richard A. Fuller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

105 Citations (Scopus)


There is mounting concern for the health of urban populations as cities expand at an unprecedented rate. Urban green spaces provide settings for a remarkable range of physical and mental health benefits, and pioneering health policy is recognizing nature as a costeffective tool for planning healthy cities.

Despite this, limited information on how specific elements of nature deliver health outcomes restricts its use for enhancing population health. We articulate a framework for identifying direct and indirect causal pathways through which nature delivers health benefits, and highlight current evidence.

We see a need for a bold newresearchagenda founded on testing causality that transcends disciplinary boundaries between ecologyandhealth. Thiswill lead to cost-effective and tailored solutions thatcouldenhance population health and reduce health inequalities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)470-477
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Public Health
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2015
Externally publishedYes

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