Better access to urban greenspace

Project details

Full project title:  Better access to urban greenspace

Duration: June 2020-September 2020

Funder: Wellcome Trust

Project Leader for SPE: Dr Danielle Sinnett

Other UWE Bristol researchers:

  • Dr Issy Bray (Principal Investigator)
  • Becky Reece
  • Rob Hayward

Research partner/collaborator: Dr Faith Martin (Coventry University)

Project summary

Despite the growing problem of anxiety and depression amongst young people aged 14-24 years living in urban settings, reviews about the role of exposure to green space or nature in preventing anxiety and depression tend to focus on children, adults or sometimes adolescents. This review addressed the question: “In which ways, in which contexts and for whom does exposure to green space reduce the risk of anxiety and depression among young people aged 14-24 living in urban settings?”

Key outputs

We are in process of publishing from this research.

Read the blog which provides an overview of the research, and an infographic summarising the findings.

Watch the vlog which also summarises the findings, and includes testimonials from young people with lived experience of anxiety and/or depression.


Key findings

We identified 9,204 sources for screening and 47 were included in this systematic review.

  • Most studies were quantitative, experimental studies, which provided evidence that walking or being in a green space, including forests or parks, improves mood and state anxiety for young people immediately following the intervention.
  • Literature suggests that social interaction, physical activity, and mindfulness mediate the relationship between exposure to green space and mental health.
  • We propose that the absence of noise and traffic and the presence of promotes mindfulness and restoration.
  • Policymakers should work to bring the benefits of exposure to forests, vegetation and nature into cities and ensure that these spaces are accessible and safe for young people to use.

Project contact

For further information on the project, please contact Dr Issy Bray.

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