Urban planning, the natural environment, and public health

Nancy M. Wells, Greg A. Donofrio

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 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 last century and a half in the United States. Next, a summary of the evidence connecting the natural environment to human health, on both an individual and community level, is provided. Research linking nature with both health and health behavior outcomes such as physical health, physical activity, community social well-being, and cognitive functioning is described. 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
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9780444639523
ISBN (Print)9780444639516
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019


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


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