Nature, Health, and Wellbeing: Insights from 2019 CIHF Roundtable
[Excerpt] Taking a walk in the woods or even viewing nature through a window can improve our health and wellbeing in countless ways. It can reduce stress in our daily lives, help us recover from surgery, lower our blood pressure, and boost our memory. As the benefits of spending time in nature have been increasingly recognized, green spaces now play a critical role in how many communities are designed, how schools are structured, and how patients are treated at healthcare facilities. The Cornell Institute for Healthy Futures (CIHF) sponsored a roundtable on April 26 that explored the impact nature can have on individuals in a variety of settings including: communities, schools, senior living, and healthcare facilities. Nearly 50 industry leaders, researchers, healthcare professionals, government representatives, and administrators of nonprofit organizations attended the conference at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y. The Nature, Health, and Wellbeing roundtable opened with a “State of the Science” overview of the research exploring the intersection of nature and health on issues ranging from the impact gardens have on people with autism to the effect green space has on crime in urban neighborhoods. The “State of the Practice” discussions then examined strategies to integrate therapeutic environments into architectural design, city planning, recreational areas, and park systems. The roundtable concluded with a series of working groups that discussed identifying areas for future study, translating research into practice, and establishing a business case for the benefits of interacting with nature.
nature; health; wellbeing; environmental psychology; mental health
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