How much does green space matter?
A group of Dutch researchers, sifting through disease and disorder data from physicians, concluded recently that people living near parks and other islands of green are less unhealthy, anxious and depressed. They found that the effects are particularly noticeable based on the amount of green space within 1 kilometer of people -- about six-tenths of a mile.
The strongest connection was for children under 12, middle-aged adults and lower-income residents. "For a few disease clusters the relation for children was especially strong, for example for vertigo ... and severe intestinal complaints," the authors wrote, adding: "The strongest relation for children was found for depression."
This got me wondering how much you all value (or don't value) parks, gardens and other green spaces. Have you chosen your homes with these things in mind? Perhaps you didn't and are regretting it? Or maybe -- counter to these researchers' findings -- you live near a park and are being driven crazy by the noise?
I'm interested to hear your thoughts. Or just take this poll:
Do you think your community in general has too little, too much or just the right amount of green spaces?
VERY COOL UPDATE: Wonk reader Ben Hyman happens to have put together a map showing proximity to parks in the sense this study is talking about. Here it is:
He points out that tree-lined streets aren't included, and parks (which are) can sometimes be very small. "However, I think it's still interesting and ... shows how little of South Baltimore is park-accessible," he wrote me.
Have I mentioned lately how much I love you guys? It warms the cockles of my heart that I could blog about something so very specific and discover that a reader has already produced a map on the subject.