Spatial dimensions of the influence of urban green-blue spaces on human health: A systematic review.

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Labib, SM 
Lindley, Sarah 
Huck, Jonny J 

BACKGROUND: There is an increasing volume of literature investigating the links between urban environments and human health, much of which involves spatial conceptualisations and research designs involving various aspects of geographical information science. Despite intensifying research interest, there has been little systematic investigation of pragmatic methodological concerns, such as how studies are realised in terms of the types of data that are gathered and the analytical techniques that are applied, both of which have the potential to impact results. The aim of this systematic review is, therefore, to understand how spatial scale, datasets, methods, and analytics are currently applied in studies investigating the relationship between green and blue spaces and human health in urban areas. METHOD: We systematically reviewed 93 articles following PRISMA protocol, extracted information regarding different spatial dimensions, and synthesised them in relation to various health indicators. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION: We found a preponderance of the use of neighbourhood-scale in these studies, and a majority of the studies utilised land-use and vegetation indices gleaned from moderate resolution satellite imagery. We also observed the frequent adoption of fixed spatial units for measuring exposure to green and blue spaces based on physical proximity, typically ranging between 30 and 5000 m. The conceptual frameworks of the studies (e.g., the focus on physical vs. mental health or the definition of exposure to green space) were found to have an influence on the strength of association between exposure and health outcomes. Additionally, the strength and significance of associations also varied by study design, something which has not been considered systematically. CONCLUSION: On the basis of our findings, we propose a set of recommendations for standardised protocols and methods for the evaluation of the impact of green-blue spaces on health. Our analysis suggests that future studies should consider conducting analyses at finer spatial scales and employing multiple exposure assessment methods to achieve a comprehensive and comparable evaluation of the association between greenspace and health along multiple pathways.

Blue space, Epidemiology, Exposure, GIS, Greenspace, Health, Cities, Environment, Humans, Mental Health, Residence Characteristics, Urban Health
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Environ Res
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Elsevier BV