Green space quality and health: a systematic review

Phi-Yen Nguyen, Thomas Astell-Burt, Hania Rahimi-Ardabili, Xiaoqi Feng

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

55 Citations (Scopus)
14 Downloads (Pure)


(1) Background: As cities densify, researcher and policy focus is intensifying on which green space types and qualities are important for health. We conducted a systematic review to examine whether particular green space types and qualities have been shown to provide health benefits and if so, which specific types and qualities, and which health outcomes. (2) Methods: We searched five databases from inception up to June 30, 2021. We included all studies examining a wide range of green space characteristics on various health outcomes. (3) Results: 68 articles from 59 studies were found, with a high degree of heterogeneity in study designs, definitions of quality and outcomes. Most studies were cross-sectional, ecological or cohort studies. Environment types, vegetation types, and the size and connectivity of green spaces were associated with improved health outcomes, though with contingencies by age and gender. Health benefits were more consistently observed in areas with greater tree canopy, but not grassland. The main outcomes with evidence of health benefits included allergic respiratory conditions, cardiovascular conditions and psychological wellbeing. Both objectively and subjectively measured qualities demonstrated associations with health outcomes. (4) Conclusion: Experimental studies and longitudinal cohort studies will strengthen current evidence. Evidence was lacking for needs-specific or culturally-appropriate amenities and soundscape characteristics. Qualities that need more in-depth investigation include indices that account for forms, patterns, and networks of objectively and subjectively measured green space qualities.
Original languageEnglish
Article number11028
Pages (from-to)1-38
Number of pages38
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - 20 Oct 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2021. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • green space qualities
  • parks
  • streetscape greenery
  • environmental types
  • built environment
  • physical health
  • mental health
  • cardiovascular diseases
  • respiratory diseases
  • quality of life


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