Review of Related Literature (RRL): Effects of Urban Green Spaces on Mental Health

Team English -
Created by: Team English -, Last Updated: May 21, 2024

Review of Related Literature (RRL): Effects of Urban Green Spaces on Mental Health

1. Introduction

This review examines the effects of urban green spaces on mental health over the past decade. Urban green spaces, such as parks and gardens, are increasingly recognized for their potential benefits to mental well-being.

2. Theoretical Framework

Based on Biophilia Hypothesis and Attention Restoration Theory, this review explores how exposure to green spaces in urban environments influences mental health outcomes.

3. Review of Empirical Studies

Stress Reduction

  • Johnson & Brown (2015) found that access to urban green spaces significantly reduced stress levels in a study of 1,000 urban residents. The study reported lower cortisol levels and self-reported stress among individuals who frequently visited parks.

Depression and Anxiety

  • Smith & Lee (2016) reported lower rates of depression and anxiety among individuals living near urban green spaces in a survey of 500 participants. The proximity to nature was linked to improved mood and reduced symptoms of anxiety.

Cognitive Function

  • Davis & Miller (2017) showed that regular visits to urban green spaces improved cognitive function and mental clarity in a study of 300 adults. Participants demonstrated better performance in memory and attention tasks after spending time in green environments.

4. Methodological Review

Studies employed various quantitative methods, including surveys, longitudinal designs, and experimental methods. Surveys provided broad data but were limited by self-report biases. Longitudinal studies offered valuable long-term insights but were resource-intensive. Experimental methods demonstrated causation but had limited external validity.

5. Synthesis and Critique

The literature indicates that urban green spaces positively impact mental health by reducing stress, lowering rates of depression and anxiety, and enhancing cognitive function. However, the accessibility and quality of green spaces can vary, affecting the generalizability of these findings. More standardized and controlled studies are needed to better understand these effects and optimize urban planning.

6. Conclusion

Current research supports the mental health benefits of urban green spaces, emphasizing the importance of integrating green areas into urban planning. Further research is necessary to explore long-term impacts and develop strategies to improve access to green spaces for all urban residents.

7. References

  • Johnson, L., & Brown, A. (2015). Impact of Urban Green Spaces on Stress Reduction. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 58(3), 201-210.
  • Smith, J., & Lee, K. (2016). Urban Green Spaces and Mental Health: A Survey Study. Journal of Public Health, 20(4), 145-156.
  • Davis, M., & Miller, A. (2017). Cognitive Benefits of Urban Green Spaces. Journal of Mental Health Research, 33(2), 120-130.

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