Green Spaces Good For Our Collective Health

A new study suggests having a daily dose of trees and other greenery can extend your life. Dan Crouse of the University of New Brunswick, along with other researchers studied 1.3 million Canadians in 30 cities over an 11-year period. The study used data from the 2001 long-form census and compared it to Canadian mortality rates over the next 11 years.

They found that those who have more trees and vegetation around where they lived, had an 8 to 12 per cent reduced risk of dying compared to those who didn’t. Researchers took into account the amount of trees, plants, shrubs and other vegetation within 250 metres of an individual’s home and created estimates of daily greenness exposure. According to the research, having green space around your home has greater benefit than weekly trips to the park.

Illustration of proposed development by the Windmill Development Group for the Domtar Lands at the industrial brownfield site on Chaudière and Albert Islands and adjacent riverfront in downtown Gatineau.

The take away for city planners seems to be that parks are important, but it’s just as important to have trees on medians and along streets and sidewalks where people are going to have contact on a regular basis. The studies author said he’d like to do a similar study on the benefit of living close to oceans, rivers and lakes.

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