Plant Life protecting People: How Urban Naturalization Increases Neighborhood Safety

By PSU EcoMerge Capstone - 6:03 PM

Urban naturalization is primarily ecological;  providing clean oxygen by absorbing air pollutants and fostering wildlife. Maintaining natural landscapes also decreases crime within cities.   One study out of Chicago shows how urban naturalization also filters out drug use, increases ties among neighbors, and relieves urban stress in the city.



Physical environment is a major influence on human aggression. Noise levels, temperature, and plant life play a role, but mental fatigue can be remedied as well.  Professor Francis Kuo and William Sullivan studied over 150 locations of urban public housing. Each location was surveyed for its nearby nature levels on a 1-4 likert scale, with greenness ratings utilized as a basis to condition assessment. The researchers additionally conducted interviews with nearby residents measuring the range of recent aggressive behaviors over the past year. 

When comparing aggressive behavior in relation to nearby green space; they found that violent acts were dramatically decreased in areas of nearby nature. Additional findings proved that nature had a positive effect on increasing the attention spans of nearby residents.

Barren city space instigates violent behavior and increases stress levels of city residents. The city can be chaotic and needs to be examined for alternative uses of its space. Urban naturalization not only decreases crime through the positive utilization of city space by residents, but trees can also reduce noise levels and ease its residents. 


Green spaces do help maintain mental health of a city, the psychological effects of urban naturalization is a MUST-HAVE in cities nationwide. Please consider making a change in your area for a safer, stronger, and more social community. For more information visit planning.org  to make a change near you.

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