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Statins and Greenspaces: Health and the Urban Environment

Statins and Greenspaces: Health and the Urban Environment

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Published by louiskoobionor
Statins and Greenspaces: Health and the Urban Environment
Statins and Greenspaces: Health and the Urban Environment

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Categories:Types, School Work
Published by: louiskoobionor on Oct 19, 2011
Copyright:Public Domain


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‘Statins and Greenspaces’:Health and the UrbanEnvironment
Proceedings of a conference held by the UK-MAB Urban Forumat University College London (UCL)
Edited by Gerald Dawe and Alison Millward
geralddawe@aol.com alison.millward@talk21.com
With the support of:
Jointly organised by:www.ukmaburbanforum.org.ukandwww.ucl.ac.uk/environment-institute
May 2008
Cyngor Cefn Gwlad CymruCountryside Council for Wales
UCL Environment Institute
‘Statins and Greenspaces’
Statins are a class of drugs usedto lower cholesterol levels inpeople at risk of heart disease.They contrast usefully with therelatively ‘non-technical’ butnonetheless complex, notion of ‘greenopen spaces.
1UK-MAB Urban Forum www.ukmaburbanforum.co.uk
This conference looked at the health-promoting potential of urban green openspaces from different perspectives, andincluded two panel sessions. It asked thequestion: ‘why is greenspace not more readilyprescribed by doctors, given the evidence thatit is good for health?’. Topic areas included:
Accessibility, privacy and security of openspace in relation to lifestyle
Psychological and mental health benefitsof urban open space
Health inequalities, environmental justiceand open space
The use of plants and animals in openspaces in relation to health
Health and forested open spaces in urbanand urban fringe areas
A case-study of one open space and itspsychological and mental health benefitsfrom the users’ point of view
Interaction between green open spaces,health and medicine: the communicationissues which needed dealing with, to makeeffective connections
Quantitative relationships betweengreenspaces and community health: doesone necessarily follow the other?
Two other factors came to the fore: (1)contrasts between Western world and‘majority world’ perspectives; and (2) therelative value of scientific evidence, inrelation to socio-political concepts such asenvironmental justice, sustainability, andinspirationFindings from the contributors were asfollows:
Individual lifestyle, personal values andthe feeling for integration within thecommunity were at the heart of accessingurban open space, explained Russell Jones.Whilst tools such as GeographicalInformation Systems (GIS) could revealthe apparent amount of open space, thiswas not accessible open space in reality.Some public open spaces were actuallyavoided by significant groups in society.
Evidence for the psychological and mentalhealth benefits of urban open space wasconsiderable, though people couldsometimes react negatively to exposure tonature, concluded Ian Douglas. The multi-functional nature of urban greenspace cansecure positive health benefits for all,though it was impossible to provide asingle plan for fostering nature for health,because of widely differing cultural andsocio-economic situations.
‘Majority world’ perspectives showed thatsevere and high mortality rates in, e.g.,Latin America, precluded green spacessimply being used for passive recreation.Here, political movements aroundenvironmental justice and practicalsustainability were needed much more, asa means of achieving a more equitabledistribution of urban greenspace, which inturn, might achieve better healthconnections. Carolyn Stephens made linksbetween health, the nature of what wasgrown on urban open spaces, and macro-economics. She concluded that the notionof green spaces as ‘peacemakers’, or asagents of social cohesion, was somethingunderappreciated from a Westernperspective.
The obvious and complete reliance of many people in the majority world on foodcrops grown on urban or peri-urban siteswas described by Monique Simmonds. Thenotion of ‘biodiversity’, again viewed fromthe Western world viewpoint, tended to befar removed from the actual biologicalnature and valuable properties of theplants themselves.The first panel discussion followed on fromthis and there was commentary onconnections and disconnections from nature,
Executive Summary

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