Parks and Health
We’ve always known parks are good for us, but up until the past few decades, we haven’t known why. This week on Podparks, Alice is joined by public health researchers from around the world to discuss the effects of parks on our health.
Dr. David Rojas, Epidemiologist and Assistant Professor at Colorado State University, discusses the fundamental benefits of parks for our wellbeing, such as creating better environmental conditions and promoting physical activity.
However, as clinical studies have shown, access to nature and green spaces in people’s everyday lives can also influence mental and emotional health in the long term.
Dr. Catharine Ward Thompson, Professor of Landscape Architecture at the University of Edinburgh, shares some of the research she has led into the relationship between access to parks and cognitive aging. It turns out where we spend childhood, and most importantly the amount of green space exposure we receive during our early years can heavily influence how fast we age.
Dr. Kathleen Wolf, Environmental Psychologist and Researcher at the University of Washington, reiterates the importance of constant access to parks, which is why public health professionals are advocating for park equity in growing numbers.
Alice chats with Dr. Jamie Hart, Environmental Epidemiologist and Associate Professor at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, who explains many of the roadblocks cities might face when wanting to invest in parks in a more equitable manner. When cities are presented with health data that can be directly linked back to parks, they are more likely to invest in quality parks that are accessible for all.
The guests discuss how the aftermath of COVID has accelerated many developments in the world of parks and health, and what lessons can be learned from the pandemic to create healthier cities for all.