Green Space and Mortality in European Cities: A Health Impact Assessment Study

Green spaces have been known to preserve and improve population health in urban areas, warranting further investigation into whether such areas could reduce mortality. In this study featuring PISC Senior Scholar Michelle Kondo, PhD, the impact of implementing the World Health Organization (WHO) recommendation for universal access to green space on the number of natural-cause deaths among adults in 31 European countries was investigated. Using green space proxies of normalised difference vegetation index (NDVI) and percentage of green area (%GA), the study found that following the WHO recommendation could prevent 42,968 (NDVI) and 17,947 deaths (%GA). The study also found that Athens, Brussels, Budapest, Copenhagen, and Riga showed some of the highest mortality burdens due to a lack of green space, indicating that increasing green area exposure could significantly impact such burdens.

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