Urban Planning, the Natural Environment, and Public Health

N. M. Wells, G. A. Donofrio

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

7 Scopus citations


This article describes linkages between urban planning, the natural environment, and human health. Historical context is provided by a presentation of how the field of urban planning has affected the form and character of residential environments as well as the ways and extent to which occupants have had access to natural environments over the past century and a half in the United States. Next, a summary of the state of the evidence connecting the natural environment to human health, on both an individual and a community level, is provided. Research evidence linking nature with both health and health behavior outcomes such as physical health, physical activity, community social well-being, and cognitive functioning is presented. Lastly, emerging trends are described, uniting planning, the natural environment, and public health in an effort to ensure a healthier future.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of Environmental Health
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages11
ISBN (Print)9780444522726
StatePublished - Jan 1 2011


  • Cognitive functioning
  • Health
  • Mental health
  • Natural environment
  • Nature
  • Obesity
  • Parks
  • Physical activity
  • Public health
  • Sense of community
  • Suburbs
  • Urban planning


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