Research: Measuring the revitalizing effect of greening vacant land on the mental health of urban adults

Recent research helps validate a claim that’s often made purely on common sense or anecdotal evidence.

Question: Does the greening of vacant urban land reduce self-reported poor mental health in community-dwelling adults?

Findings: In this cluster randomized trial of urban greening and mental health, 110 randomly sampled vacant lot clusters were randomly assigned to 3 study groups. Among 342 participants included in the analysis, feeling depressed significantly decreased by 41.5% and self-reported poor mental health showed a reduction of 62.8% for those living near greened vacant lots compared with control participants.

Meaning: The remediation of vacant and dilapidated physical environments, particularly in resource-limited urban settings, can be an important tool for communities to address mental health problems, alongside other patient-level treatments.

Photo of Bangkok, Thailand by Igor Ovsyannykov from Pixabay.

See full research paper In the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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