Life course, green space and health: incorporating place into life course epidemiology

Pearce, J., Shortt, N., Rind, E. and Mitchell, R. (2016) Life course, green space and health: incorporating place into life course epidemiology. International Journal of Enviromental Health Research, 13(3), 331. (doi: 10.3390/ijerph13030331) (PMID:26999179) (PMCID:PMC4808994)

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Researchers interested in the relationships between place and health have been slow to incorporate a life course perspective, probably due to the lack of readily available historical environmental data. This hinders the identification of causal relationships. It also restricts our understanding as to whether there are accumulative effects over the life course and if there are critical periods in people’s lives when places are particularly pertinent. This study considers the feasibility of constructing longitudinal data on the availability of urban green space. The suitability of various historical and contemporary data sources is considered, including paper maps, aerial photographs and tabular land use data. Measures of urban green space are created for all neighbourhoods across the Edinburgh region of Scotland at various points during the past 100 years. We demonstrate that it is feasible to develop such measures, but there are complex issues involved in doing so. We also test the utility of the measures via an analysis of how accessibility to green space might alter over the life course of both people, and their residential neighbourhoods. The findings emphasise the potential for utilising historical data to significantly enhance understanding of the relationships between nature and health, and between health and place more generally. We encourage researchers to use data from other locations to consider including a longitudinal perspective to examine relationships between people’s health and their environment.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Mitchell, Professor Rich
Authors: Pearce, J., Shortt, N., Rind, E., and Mitchell, R.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Health & Wellbeing > Public Health
Journal Name:International Journal of Enviromental Health Research
Publisher:Molecular Diversity Preservation International
ISSN (Online):1660-4601
Published Online:17 March 2016
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2016 The Authors
First Published:First published in International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 13(3):331
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
590681PhyBEHI: Physical built environments and health inequalitiesRichard MitchellEuropean Commission (EC)263501PhyBEHIFPIHW - PUBLIC HEALTH