Date of Award

January 2013

Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)

Department

School of Public Health

First Advisor

Theodore R. Holford

Second Advisor

William R. Burch

Abstract

Background: In 2008, for the first time in history, urban space is the predominant dwelling place of the human race, which raises concerns about how the presence or absence of green spaces influences the health of residents. The Urban Resources Initiative (URI) in New Haven, Connecticut offers a Community Greenspace Program that provides community members with resources for designing and stewarding an area within their neighborhood. The goal of this study is to determine if these community-developed green spaces improve the self- perceived health of the adults living in that neighborhood.

Methods: Data on self-perceived health was gathered from the Community Alliance for Research and Engagement (CARE) 2009 Neighborhood Adult Survey and locations and participation history for green spaces were contributed by URI. Groups were included if they were active in 2009 and for at least one year prior. Neighborhoods were labeled high green space if they had >3 sites or >5% area covered by these sites. Logistic regression models were used to compare health to green space and neighborhoods while likelihood ratio tests were consulted to determine the amount of neighborhood difference in self-perceived health that could be attributed to differences in Community Greenspace groups.

Results: There was no significant relationship between a neighborhood having high amounts of active URI Greenspace groups and better overall self-perceived health. However, having high amounts of these spaces did account for some of the differences in health between the various neighborhoods.

Conclusions: While no association between URI Community Greenspace sites and health was realized, there is no evidence to the contrary. Future studies should seek to examine this relationship on a smaller, block group-level scale.

Comments

This is an Open Access Thesis.

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