Why is Landscape Architecture so Important to Public Health?

The impact landscape design can have on public health is not always appreciated, rather it is something we take for granted, but there is a need for research on how specific interventions are able to influence people to take a walk, spend some time in contact with nature and reconnect to their inner selves, all valuable aspects of health, not just the vigorous exercise that is so fashionable now, but other, less obvious intervention such as a comfortable bench with a back rest overlooking a distant view, can get one to take a walk to get there.

Planning4Health Solutions

Landscape architecture can play a vital role in improving public health but before we address the question in the title let’s look at a few basics of health.

What is Health? “Health is the state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”.[1] In other words we’re not just talking about not having a cold, but the social environment and ability to maintain a state of mental and/or spiritual health that supports a good quality of life.

“Houston, we have a problem”. Our health care cost are spiraling out of control, the US spends more per capita on health care than any other country in the world.[2] Obesity rates among children more than tripled from 1980 to 2008. More than 1/3 of children aged 6-19 were overweight or obese.[3]  Obesity related illness or disease such as heart disease, stroke and diabetes account…

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