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Rehabilitating Vacant Lots Improves Urban Health and Safety

(Science Daily) Greening of vacant urban land may affect the health and safety of nearby residents, according to a study published online in the American Journal of Epidemiology this week. The team, led by senior author Charles C. Branas, PhD…, found in a decade-long comparison of vacant lots and improved vacant lots, that greening was linked to significant reductions in gun assaults across most of Philadelphia and significant reductions in vandalism in one section of the city. Vacant lot greening was also associated with residents in certain sections of the city reporting significantly less stress and more exercise.
"Improving the places where people live, work and play, holds great promise for changing health and safety," says Branas. "Greening vacant lots is a low-cost, high-value approach, which may prevent certain crimes and encourage healthy activity for more people and for longer periods of time than many other approaches."
"Dr. Branas's study adds to the growing body of evidence that cleaned and greened lots are important elements in a revitalized community," said Mayor Michael A. Nutter.
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