More than half of the world’s population now lives in cities compared with 34 percent in the early 1960s. By mid-century, it will reach about 70 percent. This trend has profound health implications for the people living in these urban areas, from the quality of the air they breathe to their opportunities for physical activity.
Next month, the F&ES-based Hixon Center for Urban Ecology and the Yale School of Public Health will host a two-day conference, “Urban Nature as a Health Resource
,” to explore how improved access to natural areas in urban areas can enhance public health.
The conference will be held Feb. 5 to 6 at Kroon Hall, 195 Prospect Street in New Haven. Click to register
The event will provide an opportunity for researchers and practitioners to share research on the link between nature and health and to learn from innovative programs that improve human health through increased time in nature, said Colleen Murphy-Dunning
, director of the Hixon Center.
“The time is now for a multi-sector partnership to bring evidence to action, leverage natural resources and improve public health,” she said.
While the shift of populations to urban settings poses potential human health challenges, it also presents an important opportunity, said Jeannette Ickovics
, professor of epidemiology and psychology at the Yale School of Public Health.
“More than a century ago, landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted recognized that incorporating nature through parks and urban design is grounded in the conviction that nature contact is beneficial to the health of the public,” she said. “Today, this conference presents cutting edge science, practice, and policy to highlight multi-sectoral approaches that enhance access to nature, improve health and revitalize communities.”
She added: “This represents the kind of trans-disciplinary collaborations that I believe will epitomize the next 100 years of public health.”
The keynote address will be delivered by William Bird
, founder and director of Intelligent Health, a health technology company that promotes the benefits of physical activity.
The event will be broadcast via livestream